Thursday, January 29, 2015

Do we spend quiet time with God?

    God speaks to us in the depths of our hearts, but can we hear Him?  If we are constantly surrounded by noise, we are unable to hear God.  Elijah was on Mount Horeb when “[t]here was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound.” – [1 Kings 19:11-12]
    If we want to hear from God, the One who loves us, we need to spend quiet time with Him.  He loves us and maintains our very existence.  What He tells us is out of love.  A good parent does not tell their child something that is bad for them.  How much more so will our Heavenly Father, who is all-good and all-loving, tell us great things?
    Indeed, we need to be instructed in what we are to do, but even more we need to hear that we are loved.  We do not earn this love by what we do.  He loves us before we ever start to listen to Him, as a parent does with a child.  This love that He freely gives us and that we cannot earn drives us to do that which God instructs us to do.  If He loves us so freely, surely, what He asks us to do is out of love for us.  We may not see its purpose at the time, but indeed we will one day see it.
    So, find a quiet place that you can spend some time with the One who loves you.  Giving the time that we received from Him back to Him is a start that we all need to make.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The pride of Satan

    Satan is prideful on his attacks against God and God’s people.  Consider Job.  Job was a righteous man, “blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.” – [Job 1:8]   Satan challenged God claiming that Job would curse God if Job was stripped of what he had.  God allowed Job to suffer at the hands of Satan, but Job never cursed God.  God eventually restored Job with twice as much as he previously had.
    Satan’s pride is undeniable.  He thinks himself to be able to defeat the very One who created everything.  Pope Leo XIII heard a similar prideful challenge from Satan.  At the end of Mass, he heard Satan claiming that he could destroy the Church if given enough time and power.  It was given, but the Church was also given the grace it would need to withstand this challenge.  This caused Pope Leo XIII to write the Prayer to Saint Michael.
    Both examples show the pride Satan has.  Not only does he claim to desecrate something holy, but he aims for the very best.  His pride takes him to the point of even telling God that he can do it.
    So, what do you think is next?  If God is a family and our families mirror God, I would claim that Satan is attacking the family.  The attacks are numerous: divorce, contraceptives, infidelity, abortion, homosexuality, and others.  Today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the U.S.  It is also the eve of the Feast of the Espousal of Mary and Joseph.  Satan reveals his pride once again.  However, we have the grace of God to overcome all attacks from Satan.  We just need to cooperate with it.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle,
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Would you have marched with Martin Luther King, Jr?

    When I learned about Martin Luther King, Jr, I remember thinking that I would have marched with him.  But I am not so sure now.  It is obvious to us that all men and women should be treated equally, but it was not so obvious at that time.  Having grown up with segregation, it seemed so common that it was hard to reject.
    At that time, marching could potentially send you to jail.  You could lose your job.  There was a lot to lose for the marchers.  There was a lot to gain, as well.  There was a lot at stake and yet, one did not know if any positive would come of it.  This was a truly hard time in our country.  One that divided people, friends and family.
    Today, we are living in a time where some people are denied their right to life.  Martin Luther King, Jr marched for equality.  If he marched for equal treatment, how much more would he have marched an equal right to life?  As Martin Luther King, Jr said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
    On Thursday, hundreds of thousands of Americans will march in Washington D.C. for the right to life of those yet to be born.  Yes, hundreds of thousands!  They are being a voice for the voiceless.  Our town of Marshfield is organizing a local march for those who want to be a voice for the voiceless, but cannot make the trip to Washington D.C.
    How will we be able to tell our children or grandchildren that we did nothing?  They will think like us, that they would have marched.

Marshfield March Details:
   Where – Beginning at Sacred Heart and ending at St. John’s
   When – Thursday, January 22nd @ 6:00pm
                Before walk, bus will take people from St. John’s to Sacred Heart.  Leave your vehicle at St. John’s.
   Other – Dress warm and bring a flashlight for the 30 minute walk.
                Rosary will be said during the walk.

If not you, then who?

Friday, January 16, 2015

God is a Family

    We believe in the Trinity, one God in three Persons.  The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit make up God.  God reveals Himself to us as a family.  The Father, the Son, and the Spirit of Love.  How great and honored are all families because they are to mirror God!  “Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness.” – [Genesis 1:26]
    Our families have parents, which mirror God the Father.  Our families have children, which mirror God the Son.  The love within our families mirrors the Holy Spirit, the Spirit that is Love.  Sure, not all are called to be parents.  But, all were children.  In fact, we are still called to be children in the family of God.  If we are to call God “Our Father,” then we must be His children, obedient and receiving of His love.
    God reveals Himself to us as a family.  Being made in God image and likeness, we find our self and God within family.  Children find God by the love of their parents, both the love the parents have for their children and the love the parents have for each other.  Being surrounded by love, they are able to find the God that is Love.
    God loves us so much that He put His very imprint in us.  Our families are a mirroring of God, so let us shine for all to see the God of Love!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Welcome to Ordinary Time.

    We live most of our life in ordinary time.  Jesus lived most of His life in ordinary time.  For 30 years, He lived in obscurity.  Then, for 3 years, He performed His public ministry.  Ordinary may sound like less important, but if Jesus’ life was of utmost importance, we see that He spent most of it in ordinary time.
    What are we supposed to do in ordinary time?  What did Jesus do?  After Jesus was found in the temple, “He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced wisdom and age and favor before God and man.” – [Luke 2:51]
    Obedience.  It is the only action that we are told that Jesus took that seems to explain how He advanced in wisdom, age, and favor.  So, how are we supposed to be obedient?  Jesus told us many things to do.  I refrain from saying any because we are all called to be obedient in a different way.  But we need to know what  Jesus told us to do.  We need to read the Gospels.  The Bible is a large book (actually collection of books), but reading through one of the Gospels is much simpler.  Simple seems to fit ordinary time.
    Simply by reading the Gospel, God will touch our hearts with what He wants us to do.  You will not have to wonder if it is God’s will.  You just have to listen as Jesus did to Joseph and Mary during His ordinary time.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Science and religion – the mythical divide

    Somehow, there is a myth that science and religion cannot work together.  If anything, the divide that appears to exist is that science cannot explain what religion has an explanation for.  For a long time, science was unable to explain how existence came to be.  Christian religions explained that God created something from nothing, and so, creating existence as we know it.  Then, science came along with the Big Bang Theory, which was actually developed by a Catholic priest!  Hence, science caught up to religion.
    Our Catholic faith also believes in miracles that are not scientifically explainable.  In fact, two miracles are needed for a person to be canonized a saint.  These miracles are looked at from every possible explanation and only accepted if there is no possible explanation than a miracle.  There has been consecrated hosts that have bleed and become human tissue.  Science has no explanation.  Our Catholic faith does.
    The divide that does exist between science and religion is an ethical one.  Science can tell us what we can do.  Ethics, mostly driven from religion, tell us what we should do.  From science, we get weapons of mass destruction (chemical weapons, atomic bombs, etc.).  Religion tells us that using such weapons are wrong.
    Science and religion can and do work together.  With science, we learn what we can do.  We just need to realize that it is ethics’ and religion’s purpose to tell us what we should do.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Carrying of the Cross Prefigured

    Jesus carried the cross to Calvary, but this was prefigured in the Old Testament.  Abraham was old, but God had promised him descendants as innumerable as the stars.  Abraham put his faith in God and God’s promise to him.  Then, his son Isaac was born.
    Then, God tested Abraham.  “Then God said: Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There, offer him up as a burnt offering on one of the heights that I will point out to you.” – [Genesis 22:2]  Of course, this seems incomprehensible to us, but at that time child sacrifice to gods was commonplace.  Abraham still had a choice to make:  keep God’s command or keep his beloved son.
    The Bible tells us that Abraham complied with God’s command.  Abraham took with him Isaac, wood, fire, and a knife.  But who carried the wood?  “So Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, while he himself carried the fire and the knife.” – [Genesis 22:6]
    Isaac, the son who was going to be sacrificed, carried the wood that he would be sacrificed on.  Jesus, the Divine Son sacrificed for us, carried the wood that he was sacrificed on.  Jesus carried our sins with Him and by His death we are forgiven them.  Also, Jesus was sacrificed on that same mountain that Isaac was going to be sacrificed on.