Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fact and Worse Fact

Fact:  A recent study shows that we have over $44 Billion in unused gift cards since 2008.

Worse Fact:  We have many, many more gifts from God that have been unused during that same time.

God Bless you.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Jesus + Water in the Gospels

Water, then, is the most beautiful element and rich in usefulness, and purifies from all filth, and not only from the filth of the body but from that of the soul if it should have received the grace of the spirit.
                                                  - St John of Damascus

As I listened to this weekend's Gospel, it dawned on me how many times Jesus and water come together during important events in the Bible.  Aside from His baptism, here were others that came to mind:
  1. His first miracle - changing water to wine
  2. The water that flowed from His pierced side
  3. Christ tells a Samaritan woman that whoever drinks His water will have eternal life
  4. Jesus walks on water to the Apostles' boat
  5. He then calms the water of the Sea of Galilee
  6. Jesus washes the Apostles' feet at the Last Supper
I'm sure I missed others ... care to add any?

God Bless you.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015: You are Here for a Reason

Happy New Year to all of you! 

I heard the song For a Reason by Ashes Remain for the first time yesterday, and I thought the lyrics were inspiring as we start this new year.   Here is an excerpt:

If you spend your days just getting by
When you feel useless, He can use you
And show you what it means to be alive:

Every time that you wake up breathing
Every night when you close your eyes
Everyday that your heart keeps beating
There's purpose for your life
So don't give up
Don't lay down
Just hold on
Don't quit now
Every breath that you take has meaning
You are here for a reason

Everyday is a gift from above
Don't throw it away
When it feels like too much
He'll be there...

A Blessed 2015 to you and your families!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Day After Christmas, Then vs Now

In this day and age, December 26th is a bit of a letdown for most people.  

The presents, the feasts, the music ... all of it has been replaced with a dose of reality.  Some call it a Christmas Hangover, others the Christmas Slump.  

But I wonder what the day after Christ's birth was like for those in Bethlehem.  Sure, Mary and Joseph had to deal with a newborn - which was life-changing in its own right. 

(We interrupt this blog post for a tangent.  Did you ever think about life for the Holy Family those first few days?  How long was it until they found a better living situation?  How many visitors did they have the day after?  What were people in Bethlehem saying?  How many residents of the city even knew what happened?  What did Mary and Joseph talk about?  Did Joseph find any relatives?  How often did the baby Jesus cry?

In any case, I'm guessing there was no hangover for them at all.  Or the shepherds.  Or any of those that witnessed the Miracle in their midst.  

I bet they felt hope.  Yes, it might have been coupled with some wonder and questions.  But I bet it was quite different than what society feels today.

The reason is obvious, of course.

Their Christmas was truly focused on Our Savior.  

Today's Christmas seems to be focused on anything but.

I hope you and your families are having a blessed Christmas season.  God Bless you.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

Why We Don't Applaud at Mass

This weekend, our Pastor took a few moments to teach the confirmation candidates a few things about the Mass.

I enjoy these lectures, mainly because I can learn all the stuff I should already know under the guise of it being "for the children."

In any case, one of the kids asked him why we don't applaud at Mass.  Like after the choir sings, or a reader is finished.  (Or, as our Pastor added, "when the homily is over".)

His answer was quite simple.  Those "performances" are not for us.  We tend to forget that everything we do at Mass is to worship God.  He is the audience.  

And as our Pastor remarked ... "If God wants to applaud, He is more than welcome to!"

I'm really glad he reminds us the children of things like that because we they tend to forget.

God Bless you (and praying that God applauds our performances this week!).

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Week of Mary

It's funny how God works.  

Mary was everywhere I turned this week leading up to the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception.

Last week there was a 30 page booklet at our church about Fatima.  I picked it up, read it cover to cover, and was enlightened and inspired by the words of Our Lady of Fatima.  

I had one of those TV music channels on while I read the booklet - set to classic Christmas music - and Ave Maria came on.  Ave Maria is one of my favorite songs, and I have never heard it come on during that, or any other, Christmas playlist. 

Then, during the week, I was at a study group where we watched Fr. Robert Barron's video on ... who else?  Mary.  

During that video, he touched on many things related to our Blessed Mother.  One of the more difficult topics he covered was around the many apparitions associated with her.  He explained the reasons some are accepted by the Church, and others are not.  Our class spent a good deal of time focused on one of the criteria - whether people's lives were changed with increased devotion or spiritual benefit.  

During that discussion I developed a new appreciation for Our Lady of Guadalupe.  (For those that are not familiar with this event, you can read more here.)  I never realized the impact that she had on the world.  Millions of Aztecs converted to Catholicism in a very short period of time - so much so that Mexico very quickly became a Catholic nation.  Today, 82% of the country is still Catholic, and its 92+ million Catholics rank only behind Brazil.  

Finally, I watched a movie on EWTN called Mary of Nazareth.  While many scenes in the movie were not directly from the Gospels, they certainly made me think about all the interactions between Mary and Jesus that were never recorded - and the love and pain that went along with that.  

In any case, I hope you are as inspired on this Feast Day as I am.  And I pray that Our Mother continues to intercede for us.

God Bless you.