Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What is God preparing you for?

   Many times, we wondering why God allows the hardships we have.  Perhaps, God allows these hardships in order to prepare us for His future plans.  We would not know to store up food unless we have dealt with not enough food ourselves.  Other times, we learn from what others have experienced.
   So, what is God preparing you for?  The answer may not be realized until the future.  Sometimes, we may never realize it.  God is constantly preparing us for greater things.  Think of Job.  He lost everything, yet he bore the hardships and refused to curse God.  He then was given twice what he had lost for his faith.  He endured and now his story comforts others when they have hardships.
   God wants to give us more.  He may allow us to be deprived of it for a little while, but He yearns to give us more than we ever had.  That is why Jesus came here.  He wanted to give us more than we ever had.  Instead of just being God’s blest creation, we become sons and daughters of God.  That is what He is preparing us for.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The day that changed everything.

   Yesterday was the Feast of the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel came to Mary.  Everything changed when the infinite God of the universe took on flesh and became human in the womb of the Virgin Mary.  God became part of His own creation.
   The Incarnation of the Word only happened with the consent of Mary, though.  Amazing as it is to comprehend, but God hinged His entire design of human salvation upon Mary’s consent.  Of course, she said yes, which gives us great reason to celebrate today.
   Both the Incarnation and Mary’s consent are amazing to comprehend in their own right.  And they happened at the same time!  Thank you, Jesus, for taking on flesh in order to save us.  Thank you, Mary, for consenting to bring forth the world’s Redeemer in your immaculate womb.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Failure is not an option.

   “[A]ll have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.” – [Romans 3:23]  So, we already have failed.  Sin after all is failure.  It is a failure to love, to love our neighbor and our God.  Surely, we feel like we are constantly failing.  But Jesus did not come for those already perfect, He came for sinners.
   We are not to give into our sins, though.  Yes, we are inclined to sin, something that comes from the original sin of Adam and Eve, but we are to love God.  Since sinning is a failure to love, we must do all that we can to avoid sin.
   It takes a lot for us to admit our failures to others, especially those close to us that were hurt by our failure.  But this is a great act of love, often a greater act than avoiding the sin would have been.  Our sinful nature yearns to keep our sins in the dark, yet bringing them into the light allows God to burn it away with His love.
   So, while failure is not an option, getting back up always is.  It takes great love and humility to reach for the hand of Jesus after we have slapped Him in the face.  He loves us too much to leave us, regardless of what we have done.  Thank you, Jesus!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

What can amaze more than God’s love for us?

    Often times, I forget how loving God the Father truly is.  Sure, He loves His only begotten Son, Jesus, but His love for us is incomprehensible.  He sent His Son, Jesus, to us.  Jesus tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” – [John 3:16]
    Regularly, I act and pray as if Jesus is the all loving God and God the Father is somehow the stern Father more set on vengeance than love.  I have to catch myself, because I do this unconsciously.  Jesus is the Word, the very expression of God the Father.  Jesus showed us that “God is love” [1 John 4:8] in what He did for us.
    Yes, looking at the Old Testament may seem like that was a different God, but God was being a Father to humanity.  When humanity was young, they had to have lines that are never crossed, so they would obey for their well-being, similar to our children.  As humanity grew up, some lines were changed or even eliminated and the reason for these lines were explained, just as our children grow up.  They now gain permissions that they never had before and are able to understand the reasons for our rules.
    God’s love for us leads Jesus to the cross.  We, as finite beings, had created an infinite debt to God, the infinite being, with our sins.  It took an infinite being to pay this infinite debt no matter the cost.  You are indeed loved.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St Patrick’s Day

   Today is the Feast Day of St Patrick, Catholic Bishop from Ireland in the 5th century.  There are many great stories involving St Patrick.  Some legend, while others true.  I am reminded of how he taught the people of Ireland about the Trinity.
   Now, the Trinity is very hard to understand.  1 God in 3 persons.  How can 3 equal 1?  Well, St Patrick used a clover to illustrate the Trinity.  Each clover leaf is a separate leaf, yet they all make one clover.  They are separate and distinct, yet they have one purpose, one being.
   We can spend our entire lifetime and never quite fully understand the revealed mystery that is the Trinity.  We are mortal beings trying to understand an eternal truth well beyond our capabilities, but we can use tools like a clover to illustrate to ourselves and others a piece of this mystery.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Do you take the time to smell the roses?

   Sure, we are all busy.  There are so many things for us to get done.  But, we control what we determine should be done first.  We get to prioritize our lives.  After all, God gave us free will.  So, the busy-ness of our lives is actually what we have done to ourselves.
   Don’t worry, though.  The best way to solve this is to prioritize your life.  What is most important to you?  The answer might be easy, but then there is this quote from Jesus, “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”. [Matthew 6:21]  This is equally true for time as well as treasure.
   We all have different situations, but we should take this time during Lent to make sure we spend our time (treasure and talents, too) in a way that lines up with our priorities.  If we do not spend our time in a way that lines up with our priorities, then perhaps our priorities are not what we think or want them to be.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Even seemingly small things have large consequences

   Here is a story from the life of St. Padre Pio that illustrates it best.

   There was a girl who was possessed and shouted for hours. Everybody was frightened of her. The child’s mother brought her to church hoping that Padre Pio would free the child from the evil spirit. The child also shouted a lot in the church. One day, when Padre Pio had finished hearing confessions, he met the girl that howled fearfully in front of him. The child was being held back with difficulty by two or three men. The Saint was annoyed by the whole uproar and finally said: "Stop! Enough!"
   The child fell to the ground as if she was sleeping. Padre Pio told a doctor who was standing there, to bring the child to St. Michael, in the sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo. When the group reached the destination, they entered the cave where Saint Michael had appeared. The girl revived but nobody succeeded in bringing her near to the altar of the Angel. In the midst of the confusion, a monk took the hand of the child and touched the altar. She fell down as if she had been struck by lightning. A few minutes later she woke up and as if nothing had happened she asked her mother: "Could you buy me an ice-cream?"
   At that point the group returned to St. Giovanni Rotondo in order to inform and to thank Padre Pio. But Padre Pio told her mother: "Say to your husband not to curse anymore, otherwise the demon will return."

   Some would say, what does cursing hurt?  It can’t be that bad.  Yet, it has repercussions that caused a demon to possess this child.  Even little things that we do, affect those around us, especially those entrusted to our care.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Do you adore Jesus?

   We adore many things.  Our spouses, our children, along with others.  Some even adore things like money, houses, cars.  In any case, do we adore Jesus?  Jesus, being God, deserves our adoration more than any creature or created thing.
   If we want to adore Jesus, we must know what it means to adore.  In looking at definitions or synonyms for the word adore, love continually comes to the forefront.  Respect, honor, worship, and admiration come up as well.  It comes from the Latin word adorare which means to speak to, pray, worship.
   But, how do we do all of these things to Jesus?  Keeping Jesus in the forefront of our thoughts helps, but it is difficult to worship when you are doing something that may seem unrelated to Jesus, like working.  But, we can offer everything to Jesus.  We can try to do our job as if we were doing it for Jesus.  We can do everything, even the small stuff, as if we are doing it for Jesus.
   This is great.  St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as the Little Flower, called this the little way.  It was her pathway to Heaven and was such a transforming concept that she was declared a Doctor of the Church.  She died at 24 and is the youngest Doctor of the Church.
   I have heard it said that ‘small things done with great love are great things.’  Sure St. Therese lived that way.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How is Lent going?

   Not everything starts out great.  Look at humanity, we started with the fall of Adam and Eve.  Some things start out great, but then start to deteriorate.  Anyways, Lent can be the same for us.  It can either start well or not so well.  In both cases, we get to choose where we go from here.  God, after all, gave us free will.
    Our free will is an awesome gift.  We are not confined by instincts like the animals.  No, we can go against our instincts as only rational beings can.  Our instinct is to do what makes us comfortable.  It is uncomfortable to go outside in winter to work, yet we do it.  It is uncomfortable to give someone else control of our lives, yet we must do it.  “[W]hoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” – [Matthew 16:25]
   Lent is about giving away some of ourselves in order to be more like Christ.  As St. John the Baptist said, “He must increase; I must decrease.” – [John 3:30]  May Jesus Christ increase in us.  In doing so, we will become who we were created to be.  For, we were created in the image and likeness of God.