Friday, November 19, 2010

Turn to love...

After work today I stopped over my parents house to help my Dad bring firewood down into the basement. He had triple bypass back in July, but he's really doing well. He's lost 32 pounds, does whatever the doctors say, eats right (finally!), etc. He loads the barrels from the woodpile, wheels them over to the hatchway and I lug them down the cellar stairs and stack the wood. We don't say too much when we work. I used to do most of the talking, but as I've gotten older I've realized I don't need to keep up a running conversation with him. I used to do it just out of nervousness, but recently something has changed between us. We've always had a somewhat rocky relationship, well, not rocky really, maybe edgy is a better word. He's very opinionated, and I didn't agree with a lot of his views. But like I said, something has changed. As I reflect on it perhaps its partly my attitude toward him and not him toward me at all. I can't put my finger on it, though. As we worked in silence my thoughts were as they usually were, filled with either prayer or a song, and this time it was a song, though I can't remember what it was. Probably John Michael Talbot, from his 'Chants' cd. That's all I've really listened to, lately. But whatever it was blended beautifully with our rhythm, him hauling and me caring, evening darkness falling around us, the moon high overhead. At one point my Dad said, "This is what you call moonlighting," and that small statement cracked me up. I know I'm very lucky to have both of my parents not only here with us but still so active. I haven't been the best son in the world over these 55 years. I've ignored them for long lengths of time, fought with them and spoken about them in not great ways, in which I'll never forgive myself. Looking back, how can anyone act that way to their parents? Recently I began my preparation for my re-consecration to Our Blessed Virgin Mother by re-reading My Ideal Jesus Son Of Mary, by Fr. Emil Neubert, S.M. In that book Fr. Emil shows the tremendous love Our Lord had for his Mother. I had forgotten the beauty of those passages, and as I read them during Adoration late Thursday I could feel a small sense of excitement and perhaps realization dawn again in me. So much of our lives are ruled by the secular world without us even knowing, when in many cases the choice really is ours to make. We live in the secular world but we need not be ruled by it. Unfortunately I let this world rule me most of my day, giving only lip service to our God. Working with my Dad was such a simple thing, but it was enough to act as a small catalyst, a small act resulting in the turning of a heart once again, a turning of a heart towards love.

Monday, November 08, 2010

A thought on charity...

In my readings lately the word 'charity' has been jumping out at me. I've come to see that Jesus put a lot of emphasis on that particular virtue. I've heard (or read, whatever) that without charity we are almost nothing. To tell you the truth, I never questioned that statement, just took it for granted I guess, but never really knew what it meant, or, what He meant by it. I see now, in my own understanding of it that charity and love go hand in hand. We cannot be christians, we cannot be Catholics without letting the virtue of charity rule our lives. "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?" I see the similarity between this passage from James Chapter 2 and myself today; I can spend all day in prayer, sit before the Blessed Sacrament and say three Rosaries a day but if I don't practice charity, what good is it all? Don't get me wrong, I'm sure some good comes from such spiritual time. Souls in purgatory can always use our prayers. But I myself feel something missing, have felt something missing for some time now, and I believe this feeling has stemmed from my incomplete spiritual life. Have I become complacent? Probably. But He will not let me sit idle for long. He knows I'm capable of more. I know I am. In my mind I can tick off many people, mostly older men and women who could use my help in some way. My sister-in-law is very sickly, disabled really, but a very hard person to get along with. She is exactly the type of person I, we, are called to help. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. (Luke 6:33) To me, true charity is just that, helping a stranger or your enemy, not to make your self feel good but because this person or that person needs you help. And to do it for the love of your neighbor, for the love of God. To me, this is what Jesus was alluding to in His Sermon on the Mount. ...blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy... What have I been thinking lately? I know what I've been thinking, I've been letting myself get in the way of myself. I somehow thought that what I was hearing was God's voice, when in all actuality it was only me, dictating my own life to myself. I have to keep the noise of the world turned down just a little bit lower in order to listen to the voice of our God. Not just hear, but listen and do. I need look no further than my Seraphic Father, Francis, for an example of following the gospel, which is exactly what I should be doing. Gospel to life, life to Gospel. In the darkness of night, in prayer, charity is before me in so many ways, in so many musings. I can do this, and I will do that. K, forget the musings and take up that cross, the one you probably think is too heavy. Jesus calls me to walk with Him, not just a little way but the whole way, the whole journey, helping each other as we go. Only with the cross will I begin to learn Your way.

Oh Jesus,
You gave us so many examples
in your life,
from your birth
until your death
on how to stay upon the path
stay upon the road to heaven.
Help me to walk that path
to carry your Cross courageously,
and to show Your Face
to my brothers and sisters
in need.

Saturday, November 06, 2010


"You cannot serve both God and mammon."
At morning Mass today Fr. D expanded on this statement from Jesus. I'll have to admit at times I become calloused to some Gospel readings when I'm not really sure on their 'true' meaning. I know, some people will say that the Word of God is different for everyone, and I also thought that way, thinking that that type of Gospel interpretation was the way to go.
Personally, I believe I was wrong.
We were given a Homily today that left no doubt in my mind to what Our Lord was trying to explain to his disciples and the Pharisees. And in that Homily I received two lessons; one, the message from scripture, and the second for me, in mine, and Helen's search for the truth, which is part of what this journey is all about. And that search for the truth can lead one to unexpected places. Like away from your parish of 20+ years to somewhere that the interpretation of the Word of God is not sugar coated to keep everyone feeling good. Where the Holy Mass is still offered with supreme reverence to God. These and many other things, once realized by the inner voice cannot be pushed aside, they must be embraced or one is fooling oneself. It was as if today, during Mass, Jesus Himself was there for me, not in physical form but His real Divine Presence, just pointing, leading, saying 'See? This is what I really meant.' It is a real uneasy feeling to have knowing that out there the Word is being explained in ways that are just not to their full importance. We cannot serve both God and Mammon. If we serve God, if we believe and follow Him completely, we can't water down His word to fit our own good feelings. His words are our path to Heaven. We can't have this world and His , too. This world pulls us away from Him, it doesn't lead us closer to Him. Serve two masters? No, that can't happen. Helen has followed her inner voice, the voice of God. I see the issues that have taken over good parishes and how at times priests think they are handcuffed to do much about the way things are. Maybe they were just taught wrong at the seminary,I don't know. I do know that we all must search for the truth, the truth that is at times obscured and hidden behind the mammon of the world. "I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings." We cannot abandon this world, God gave it to us. but we can't rely on it either, for it is fleeting, and only The Word is eternal. Trust in the truth , the real truth that lies within the Gospels. Search and pray that His spirit will fill the hearts of so many who have fallen away, religious and laity alike.
Help me, Lord,
remove the scales from my eyes
so that I may see the Truth
and not Your Word
obscured by smoke
and false light.