Friday, November 30, 2012

Download

Download

“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11


   We are all good for “uploading” our prayers to God but, what about “Downloading” what God wants for or from us? It is very easy to just ask God for help but we also have to listen to His replies. It is a two way relationship and the flow of prayers, answers, God’s dreams for us, and His will is a continuous flow. 

    It is in the “downloading” of God’s intentions, will and dreams that will help us keep on the right path in our lives. Within that we will find the answers to our prayers as well. God wants to share this information but we have to access Him and then we can start downloading the information. He will not hack into our will and try and take over and take whatever He wants. He will not do this because of free will. 

     The better the connection we have with God, the better and faster the information can be shared. How many times have you waited for a website to download or a message to open? It is very frustrating when we lose that connection or that the connection is running slow. Just like on computers we have to empty our cache so we can receive the information quicker. We have to keep those distractions that take up and fill our caches to a minimum. Recognize the things that fill the memory and take up needed space. If we are filled up, we can not download information and find it easily in ourselves. 

      That high speed connection is maintained by praying, going to mass, spending time with God, increasing your knowledge and finding those God outlets that you can plug into. This also helps keep us from filling our cache with things that are not good for us and keeps sin from becoming a virus where it slows down that connection we have going. Sin will be a blocker for that connection. It will slow down our connection and can even cause us to crash. Asking for forgiveness of the sins will open up areas for us to fill with the information we are downloading from God. The sins are taken from us and put in the trash that will be emptied. Once that is done that connection can again grow stronger and faster and the flow of Grace starts that flow again.

     The connection we have with God does need to be free of things that slows that connection down. We need to have a connection that allows both “uploading” and “downloading”. If we do not have that then we will crash because we get those things that will help us updated with God. Those updates will help us on the new trials and blessings that are around us and before us. We will have an easier time walking by faith if it is continuously up to date on what is going on in our lives. 

    The great part is that God does not charge us for this connection. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are that connection can be made. He will not charge extra for those downloads or have a cap on how much data you send or receive. It is the best plan out there, so take advantage of it and connect. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and keep that flow of downloading going. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wake Up

Wake Up


“And do this because you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” 
~Romans 13:11

 For many of us we need that external stimulus to wake us every morning. It starts with that alarm clock, then maybe the shower to wake us but for a lot of people it is that cup of coffee that really starts to wake us up. It is the taking in of that caffeine that stimulates us and we become more and more awake with each sip. 

   To have a spiritual wake up we need to do that same thing. We need to take daily sips of prayer and the bible. With each verse we read we become more awake and aware of the messages of salvation. Each prayer awakens our soul to keep that connection flowing with God. When we do not do this our spiritual life starts to become tired and starts to fade and finally sleeps. It will become dormant if we do not revive it. 

   There is no time better then the present to have that spiritual wake up call. We all are in need of this in our lives. The more we take in of the spiritual life the more awake we become. We become more aware of God in our lives and how He is moving in us and through us. Things start to become clearer and we are able to stay focused on our goals . 

    The goal of this spiritual life is to get to Heaven and be with God. To serve and worship Him here on earth. To do this we need to be awake. The journey does not stop. It is an on going daily trek. If we keep falling asleep we are not moving. We become stagnant and start to lose that momentum. Those external stimuli will help us stay awake and each time we take them into our bodies and soul we are energized to move and continue on. You have to find those external stimuli that work for you. 

    Some external stimuli can be christian music, bible, rosary, church, prayer groups, bible study, christian service and religious talks. There are others way also but it is something that each one of us need to find for ourselves. Those were just some that I have found that keeps me spiritually awake. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and let the spiritual caffeine flow through you. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gifts

Gifts

“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord” ~1Corinthians 12:4-5

When we think of gifts from God, one of the first things that pop in our heads are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, both the seven gifts and the charism gifts.The gifts are for us and to build up the church and each other. It gives us that extra spiritual push here on earth. This will not be a blog explaining the gifts or the differences between them but about how we interact with these gifts from God. 

      I guess I have to first state that I am a firm believer in the gifts of the Holy Spirit both the seven gifts ( Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord and Wisdom) and the charism gifts ( Prophecy, Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues, Faith, Healing, Miracles, Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge and Discernment of Spirits). I do feel that there is the need for these in the church and in our own personal lives. Within these gifts lies the most basic of things from God, and that is His love for us and for His church. God wants us to grow both in faith and in knowledge. The gifts are one way we can do that. 

     I want to focus on the beginning steps of the gifts and not the spiritual elements of these gifts in this blog. It is how we deal and accept the gifts that state how and if those spiritual elements will come into our lives and with that the church. 

      When we receive a gift for our birthdays, christmas, etc.. we first read the card and see who it is from. The words are important in a card. It states why the gift is being given. Yes, for the most part you know why because it is about you. You are the reason for the gift. It is a special occasion, a time to rejoice, or a time to honor. When we receive gifts from God, He does the same. It is for you and He does want you to feel you are special to Him and His love for you is in that gift. Whatever that may be. Scripture is His card to express how He feels about you. He will say what it is for and how you are to use it. God does not just wait till the holidays to give us gifts. 

       The second part of the gift after the card is the gift itself. We unwrap it and we see what we received. Think if you gave someone a gift and each time you were at their home you saw that gift just sitting on the table not opened. How would you feel? You gave that gift to that person for a reason and they just do not seem to care about what is under that wrapping. We do the same when we do not unwrap or open that gift that God gave us. 

     We have to “open the gift”. Opening the gift, comes in two ways. First we have to be open to receive a gift from the start. If we are not open the gift will not be there. Someone can hand you a gift and you can reject it and that is the same here. You can close yourself off from God and the gifts but even if you just have that door to God open a crack, He can use it to give that gift. The second part is to open the gift and see what it is. We do this by prayer and action. Ask and try to feel out what the gift is. It may not be so quick for us to know what we have inside. Again, we can be open to receive the gifts but we decide if and when we open them. God is not going to force you to open them. They can just sit there and gather dust if that is what you want to do or you can open them. 
    Ok, so you decided to open your gifts, now what? Use them. It is that simple. Start using them in your life and see them take shape and see where it takes you. Share that gift you have for yourself, the church, and for those around you. That is the reason why you got the gift, to USE THEM..... Do not be one of the people who receive this great gift and it just sits there collecting dust. You have to decide to use them. God will not make you. It is like people who have these great mixers they do not use and they just sit on the kitchen counter taking up space. What is the point of having that gift then? I guess one can argue, that someday you will need to use it but why wait? 

     I can understand that sometimes these gifts from God can be hard to understand, hard to put into practice and even maybe not something you wanted. There is not this great direct written owners manual that is given for us to read and understand. We can read about the gifts in the bible and get some sense of them but the best way when we do not understand how it works is to call on God. Just like when we can not figure something out about our computers or tv we call that 1 800 number and ask for help. God is willing to help us use the gifts He gives us. We are not left to fend for ourselves. 

      The gifts we receive are to be a blessing and not a curse. They are meant to build us up and not tear us or others down. The gifts are not better then anyone else's. They are not for bragging rights either. God does not give gifts so we can put a spot light on ourselves. Remember these gifts are from God and it is God using us with those gifts for the glory of Him. It is through Him that these gifts are given. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and remember you do not have to wait till Christmas to open your gifts from God. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Awe

Awe

"Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles" ~ Acts 2:43


    Tonight was the Pontifical Solemn High Mass at St. Hedwig Parish in Trenton. I really can not express how amazing the whole night was. The only word that come close is “Awe”. Sometimes words can not express what you have experienced. I wanted to come home and write this blog and express everything that went on but I honestly can not find the words to do so. If you ever get the chance to attend the mass, I would say, it is a must. Your sense of reverence and awe will forever be changed. 

      I do hope that I will be able to put tonight into better words tomorrow. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and keep an open mind and experience God in a new way. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Advent

Advent


     Advent is just a few days away and with that we start ushering in the new year in the church. We start to prepare the way for Jesus to be born and also for Him to be born in us again at the start of the new year. Each Sunday during Advent, I will be posting reflections on the reading and prayers for advent. This way we, together, are setting the way for Jesus to come into the Church, our Homes, and most importantly into our hearts and souls.

      The word Advent comes from the Latin word Adventus meaning “coming”. It lasts for four weeks. Each week we gather around the advent wreath and say prayers and light a candle. There are four candles for the four weeks. Three purple and one rose color. I will  go into more detail as the weeks go on through advent. 

       Tonights blog is a reminder of the New Year starting in the church and with the new year, we are able to renew ourselves in the church. I pray that this advents brings us all closer to Jesus, God, Saints, Church, Faith and each other. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and prepare the way of Jesus. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Traditions

Traditions

“Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.”
 ~2 Thessalonians 2:15


   Last night I heard about a mass that was going to be all in Latin and the old style before Vatican II changed the mass and I must say that I was fascinated by this idea. The mass I looked at was for this Tuesday night but as I searched I realized there was a mass for Sunday (today) as well. I never saw the old mass and part of me could not understand why would someone want to go back to the old ways. With that being said I wanted to see what it was all about. 

   I must say that as I watched the mass go one before me and the old traditions happen I fell in love with the mass in a new way. It was absolutely beautiful. There was just something about it that grabbed ahold of my soul and was not about to let go. There was such a sense of reverence that filled the church. A sense of tradition and order came over me and I was in awe of it. It had my full attention and I wanted to take in every detail to the smallest one and hold onto it. It was like looking into the past. 

    I left the mass today different then when I walked in. That is what mass is to do for us.  Mass is to change our course back to God and Jesus. To set that focus back onto the important things in our life. Now, do not get me wrong, mass does do that for me each week but there was just something different today. There was an awakening to the past of my faith. Not just my faith but faith through the generations of catholics before me. The faith is not just of now but of the past and will be for the future as well. I felt connected to a deeper part of the faith. A faith that lasted before the changes and that continued through the changes. 

     The sense of tradition is something that I have always loved in my own life. I believe in every family that traditions should be held and made. It makes us who we are, who we were and who we will be in the future. I am not saying that we need to go back to this way at mass but I wonder if sometimes progress takes too much away from traditions and we lose things along the way. I just felt that I never felt such reverence at mass before today. Again, not saying that the mass each week lacks reverence but to me, it came across stronger somehow. 

     I think I would consider myself someone who wants to see the church as a whole in a forward thinking light and see that we need to improve in areas. To move forward and take every avenue we can to get people back into the church and keep the ones we have already. There has to be a way of modernizing the church with out losing those traditions that keep us rooted in the past. We , as the Church, can show the secession of Popes back to Peter and that includes the mass as well. We are a Church of traditions and I think we need to explore those traditions again. 

     With it being the Year of Faith in the Catholic Church, it is our duty to explore these traditions that we came from. A faith that is rooted in these traditions that has kept the faith going and expanding into the modern world. I also feel very strongly that you find a Latin mass and experience it for yourself. Especially if you have never been a part of it before. I was born after the changes and just always thought it had to change because it was out dated. There is no way reverence could ever be outdated and that I learned today.  We are always called to go deeper, to expand our thoughts and seek the way to God and Jesus. My thoughts did expand today and my faith went a bit deeper as well. If that can happen, then why not explore more traditions of the Church as well. I know I will be. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and expand your thoughts and seek old and new traditions in your faith. 
      

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saint Clare of Assisi

Saint Clare of Assisi

Feast day: August 11
Patron of sore eyes

Clare was a beautiful Italian noblewoman who became the Foundress of an order of nuns now called "Poor Clares." When she heard St. Francis of Assisi preach, her heart burned with a great desire to imitate Francis and to live a poor humble life for Jesus. So one evening, she ran away from home, and in a little chapel outside Assisi, gave herself to God. St. Francis cut off her hair and gave her a rough brown habit to wear, tied with a plain cord around her waist. Her parents tried in every way to make her return home, but Clare would not.
Soon her sister, St. Agnes joined her, as well as other young women who wanted to be brides of Jesus, and live without any money. St. Clare and her sisters wore no shoes, ate no meat, lived in a poor house, and kept silent most of the time. Yet they were very happy, because Our Lord was close to them all the time. Once, He saved them from a great danger in answer to St. Clare's prayer. An army of rough soldiers came to attack Assisi and they planned to raid the convent first. Although very sick, St. Clare had herself carried to the wall and right there, where the enemies could see it, she had the Blessed Sacrament placed. Then on her knees, she begged God to save the Sisters.
"O Lord, protect these Sisters whom I cannot protect now," she prayed. A voice seemed to answer: "I will keep them always in My care." At the same time a sudden fright struck the attackers and they fled as fast as they could. St. Clare was sick and suffered great pains for many years, but she said that no pain could trouble her. So great was her joy in serving the Lord that she once exclaimed: "They say that we are too poor, but can a heart which possesses the infinite God be truly called poor?" We should remember this miracle of the Blessed Sacrament when in Church. Then we will pray with great Faith to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist: "Save me, O Lord, from every evil - of soul and body." Her feast day is August 11.
Until tomorrow, God Bless, and ask for humility as St. Clare did.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Left Overs

Left Overs

“ Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied. He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also. They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets. There were about four thousand people. He dismissed them and got into the boat with his disciples and came to the region of Dalmanutha.” ~ Mark 8: 5-10

       With it being the day after Thanksgiving, two things come to mind. First, shopping and Second, Left Overs. Some feel that the left overs are even better then the meal itself.  To have left overs means that the host had an abundant amount of food and that even though they filled their guests appetite, they still had more to offer them. I always are concerned if I will have enough and always go over the top to make sure people will be able to take some home with them. God and Jesus does the same for us. They have so much to offer us and They can fill us so much that it overflows and we have left overs to last us. 

      In Mark’s Gospel we read that Jesus fed thousands with just a few loaves of bread and some fish. It was not just enough or that they only had little to eat, they were filled and there was still enough left overs to fill seven baskets. People were fed both physically and spiritually by Jesus that day. They left with His words. Jesus and God’s word can feed us daily. We just need to listen or read it. 

      God calls us to the table each week as Christians and He will always have more then enough for us at the table. There will be none of us that will leave the table not being filled. We first are fed by the word of God, then by the breaking of bread, Jesus body. We are always welcomed at the table and always fed in some way there. Even when we distance ourselves with sin and we are not fed physically, we are still fed spiritually by the word. 

        God and Jesus always has more to give us as long as we are willing to come back each and everyday and even many times a day if we choose it. When we leave mass we take the word with us and it stays with us. It is like the “left overs” from Thanksgiving. We take the word of God out with us and if we put it into action we again are fed by it. 

       There is also somethings else that can come of “left overs”. We can put them in the fridge and forget about them until we start cleaning out the fridge. Then we start the guessing game of what could it have been. The same can happen to the spiritual “left overs” we take from mass. We can place it in the back of our minds and not even think about it again. Then when we try we can not even remember what we took from the mass. It gone and forgotten. What we learned is wasted in that case.  Yet God will again invite us to His table the following week and again gives us spiritual food to take away again. 

        We can continually be fed by the left overs we got from mass on Sunday all week long if we allow it to be. It is both the physical word and spiritual word that we can set in the forefront of our mind, soul and heart each day. It is when we put it in the back of our minds, that what we got and took home from mass, that will spoil and we will not be fed again from it. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and take the word with you after mass this weekend, so you may be fed all week.

              

      

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

“Give thanks to the LORD for he is good,his mercy endures forever!”Let that be the prayer of the LORD’s redeemed,those redeemed from the hand of the foe, Those gathered from foreign lands, from east and west, from north and south.” ~ Psalm 107:1-3

Thanksgiving does not have to be just one day that we give thanks but everyday of our lives. Each day is a blessing from God. Each day is a new start. We tend to just ask for things in prayer but if we start with what we are thankful for, we may see that we might have prayed for, we do not really need. That what we have fills us and out wants are less. 

    Many people lost so much these past few weeks along the shore due to Sandy and yet many of those people are thankful for many things. They were thankful they made it out alive and that people came to their aid. People took a stand and helped each other. Neighbors helped Neighbors. People opened their homes to family and friends. Many people donated money, food, clothing and their time to help. This is the kind of things that those who lost are thankful for on this day. 

     Sometimes it takes such an event for us to see what we do have in our lives. During harder times we do see what we do have better then when things are going well. We tend to take things for granted. Same thing happens with God. We are asking and asking and rarely ever Thanking Him for the good things in life. 

       Take some time during the day to say Thank You for what you do have around you and for the people that are around you also. Friends and Family is something that we can Thank for everyday. God uses them to help us and they become His hands and feet here on earth. They comfort us when things are not going so well. It is a blessing to have people in your life. We complain more about those who wronged us but we really need t focus on the ones who are there for us. We need to be thankful for them. Be thankful for the food, the clothes, the roof over your head, your job etc... They may not be fully everything that you wanted but at the least you have something. Really take notice of what you do have then not.

         This is the season of giving. Giving gifts and giving thanks. Remember what God has given you in your life and the gift of Jesus to the world.  I know this blog is like yesterdays but i really feel that we need to be reminded of what we have and thank God for it all. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and remember to take notice of what you do have and be thankful for them. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Give Thanks

Give Thanks

“In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:18


   On the eve of Thanksgiving I tried to figure out what the topic would be tonight, and there is just a simple message for tonight. Think about the blessings you have in your life today. Thank God for them and pray that others are able to see what they have and not what they do not have this year. The east coast took a great hit and many people lost so much including close people in their lives. 

    When we lose so much, it is hard to see what we do have. Today pray for those who lost so much and that they are able to have a holiday free of stress and pain. Also pray for those who do have much and are not as thankful, so they may see the many blessings in their lives. 

      Take the time today to look around and Thank God for who and what is there for you. I hope that you may have a blessed and thankful holiday. 


Until tomorrow, God Bless, and remember each blessing you have and be thankful.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Community

Community

“We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. We should not stay away from our assembly,* as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.” ~Hebrews 10: 24-25

    As Christians we are to build each other up and encourage one another in this life. We can do this by finding a community of believers to belong to. We may first find a church to belong to and that becomes the center of your community. Sometimes it may be a prayer group, bible study, choir, etc, that also becomes part of the community you belong to. 

    It is important for us to find a place of welcoming and faith filled. When we feel we belong somewhere the more you will be willing to join other events or groups in the church. I would not say it is a necessity to belong to other groups or out reaches of the faith beside church but I do feel that it will aid in your faith journey. 

    The community of believers can aid in the growth of your personal faith. We are able to express how we are feeling and what brings us together in an open forum. We can learn from each other by sharing our struggles and successes. Jesus had the apostles with Him and that was part of His community. That community continued on the teachings of Jesus and that is what the community of believers are to do today in the world. 

     Jesus knew that the faith would need a community of believers to continue the messages of His life. He chose the men that would aid Him in the mission of redemption. Then those men went forth and shared that news in other communities and it spread. It had to first start in a community. Without each other the mission could have failed. The faith community gathered together, worshiped, supported and broke bread. That tradition continued on and is still continuing on through out the world. 

     If there is no community then the faith could die out. We would lack that piece of brotherhood and sisterhood of faith. The message would not be shared. The breaking of the bread of life would be out of reach to many.  The church is that spot where we are able to join and continue on the faith. 

     The church itself is the larger community and the groups and ministries are the smaller communities within the church. The smaller communities help the larger community and we can share in both to gain strength in our faith. Take the opportunities from both of the communities, it will only help you with your faith.

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and be part of the community of faith. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Masks

Masks

“Be eager to present yourself as acceptable to God, a workman who causes no disgrace, imparting the word of truth without deviation” ~ 2Timothy 2:15


  When we stand before God and Jesus, we stand as we truly are. There is no sin, pain, grace, joy, ect.. They do not know of. There is no hiding from God or Jesus or putting on a mask to cover who we are. They know what is in our hearts and there is no hiding from that truth. 

    We wear many masks in the world. Some are to hide our pain, some are to hide who we are, some are to paint us in a better light, some are to make us be stronger then we really are, and some are just to protect us from pain. It doesn’t always mean it is a bad thing but a reality of this world. It may be the only way you can get through a day. If you are in pain or having a bad day , you may just put on that happy face (mask) so you can get through. That is fine as long as you still deal with it. 

    When it comes to our faith and beliefs we really can not hide behind a mask. There was a time and still in some areas of the world where your faith could have been your death sentence. You would have to worship in secret. We are lucky in the world where we do not have to do it but yet we still hide behind the “secular mask” so we can fit in and do not seem different. What I mean by the “secular mask” is that you do not share your beliefs or faith to people, that you do not speak up when the faith is mocked, that you deny how important God is to you and is in your life, you down play your beliefs, and you let others beliefs be more important then yours. There are many other ways we  can do this as well.  Do you hide behind a “secular mask”? 

    I do fall short, I must say with this. I do share my faith and will speak up for it but I do not fully show how deep it is in me. It guides so much in my life and the direction it is taking again in my life. I present a very hard exterior and with that it hinders my faith at times. There is more of a chance of me putting on a mask so I will not get hurt then be so forth coming in the words I feel in my heart. I am able to do it here in the blog and I think it has also shown to me how deep it really is in me by doing the blog. It has helped me to remove part of a mask and also shown my true self to others and to me. 

    The saying of “ God knows what is truly in your heart” goes both ways for this. First, it says that just because your outward actions speak one of love, in your heart it maybe really for yourself, God knows that. Second, You down play your faith, and yet in your heart you praise Him, God knows that as well. In both cases there are masks being worn and both are not being worn for good. In both we are denying what the truth is and  in so denying God. We can not proclaim the word and not live it nor live it and not proclaim it in our hearts. 

     I know there are areas or masks that I have to work on and rid in my life. It is easier to hide behind a mask then face the world at times, but we have to stand true in our faith and our beliefs or we will suffer the same consequences as the rest of the world. I must say also we may face a harder test because we do know the truth. It is one thing to never know the truth, then know the truth and ignore it. 

      Think about the masks you wear and then ask if they hinder your faith in any way. If they do, then think about praying and asking for the strength to remove them from your life. It is not hiding anything from God but from ourselves and those in the world. If we are not careful we may start to believe what the mask means and only see what is on the surface and not what lies beneath the mask. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and remove the masks so God’s light and grace may shine upon your true face. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Universal

Universal

And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” ~Matthew 16:18

One of the great things about the Catholic Church is that no matter where you are in the world, the same mass is unfolding before you. You will not feel left out or unsure about what is going on. Even in another language you can still be a part of the mass. It is a great feeling to know that we are that Universal Church. 

      We gather each sunday and even daily where the same reading are read, the same prayers are said, the same responses are said and the same miracle of the Eucharist happens in each church. We are connected to each other not only in mass but as fellow Christians. 

      When Jesus set Peter on the rock, He set the church here on earth. Jesus proclaimed that Peter would be head of the earthly church and from him, the church will survive the test of time. Part of that reason is that we are universal. It shows unity in thoughts and action through out the church and the people. When we are like minded, we are able to survive the world. It is easier to defeat one person verses two, let alone millions of catholics in the world. 

       I think it is amazing that this still goes on today. The church has stayed strong and continues to move forward in the world. It is not perfect and how can we expect it to be when we are not perfect. I have explored many different religions and it is the Catholic Faith that I keep coming back to. It is home for me and will always be, even with its imperfections. 

       It is time for Us as Catholics to stand strong for our faith, beliefs, and the Church. We are the face of the Church in the world as well as the religious. Learn about the faith and from those who came before us, the saints. The only way for the church to grow is if the faithful grow as well with it. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and become in the universal church. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saint Matthew

Saint Matthew


Feast day: September 21
Patron Bankers

St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the first Gospel. This has been the constant tradition of the Church and is confirmed by the Gospel itself. He was the son of Alpheus and was called to be an Apostle while sitting in the tax collectors place at Capernaum. Before his conversion he was a publican, i.e., a tax collector by profession. He is to be identified with the "Levi" of Mark and Luke.
His apostolic activity was at first restricted to the communities of Palestine. Nothing definite is known about his later life. There is a tradition that points to Ethiopia as his field of labor; other traditions mention of Parthia and Persia. It is uncertain whether he died a natural death or received the crown of martyrdom.
St. Matthew's Gospel was written to fill a sorely-felt want for his fellow countrymen, both believers and unbelievers. For the former, it served as a token of his regard and as an encouragement in the trial to come, especially the danger of falling back to Judaism; for the latter, it was designed to convince them that the Messiah had come in the person of Jesus, our Lord, in Whom all the promises of the Messianic Kingdom embracing all people had been fulfilled in a spiritual rather than in a carnal way: "My Kingdom is not of this world." His Gospel, then, answered the question put by the disciples of St. John the Baptist, "Are You He Who is to come, or shall we look for another?"
Writing for his countrymen of Palestine, St. Matthew composed his Gospel in his native Aramaic, the "Hebrew tongue" mentioned in the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Soon afterward, about the time of the persecution of Herod Agrippa I in 42 AD, he took his departure for other lands. Another tradition places the composition of his Gospel either between the time of this departure and the Council of Jerusalem, i.e., between 42 AD and 50 AD or even later. Definitely, however, the Gospel, depicting the Holy City with its altar and temple as still existing, and without any reference to the fulfillment of our Lord's prophecy, shows that it was written before the destruction of the city by the Romans in 70 AD, and this internal evidence confirms the early traditions.
Until tomorrow, God Bless, and take some time to read St. Matthew’s Gospel. 

Testing

Testing

“Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” ~ 1John  4:1


  There are times when we may feel that we are being tested. That God is giving us a test to see what we will do. Will we turn from Him or stay with Him? Will we give up our faith? Will we hold on or let go? During this time we may feel that He is against us and as calvin says “Somebody’s out to get me”. God does not tempt us, but someone else does. I have avoid speaking of the devil or Satan because he does not need “more press”, but he is also a reality of this world.  He is the “biggest” false prophet there is out there today. 

      We do face trials as we follow God and it is not a pass or fail as a test but a gaining of strength, faith, grace, and understanding. Each trial we face may test us but it us who puts that feeling of passing or failing into action. During the trials we face we will hear those false prophets and the true prophets. We have to test and listen very closely to what each is saying. Then we need to discern what we are hearing. God will not lead us astray but satan will. Satan will give those quick and easy answers. It is like that saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. Satan uses those times of weakness to “attack” and try to lead us away. 

     We need to be on our “A” game when it comes to false prophets. They speak a good game and speak with a golden tongue. They will promise you everything and give nothing but take all from you. You will feel like someone really is out to get you and it is not from God. You can tell if it is from God. “ Every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God” 1John 4: 2 In the same respect you can tell if it is from Satan, “ and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God” 1John 4:3 

      It is easy to not believe or want to believe that there is a force in the world that seeks the ruins of souls. It would make it easier if it was not the case. Satan will tempt us with our weaknesses. He will use money, power, sex, and prestige to turn our focus from God to them. It is in the sin where satan tries to grab a foothold into our lives. The more we sin the more we have turned from God and the happier satan becomes. When we ignore satan in the world he wins. I am not saying that when we ignore his traps and snares that he wins but we say he does not exist is when he wins. It would be great if it was like the old westerns where the good guys wore white and the bad guys wore black. We would be able to make clearer choices if that was the case with false prophets. 

       The false prophets and false spirits will use every trick there is and will use any person to get us to follow. There is no rules they follow. God does have a set of rules He follows for us. He will never tempt us to do wrong, nor take our free will from us to make the choice. God will always face us, His back is never turned from us. 

        We are going to be tempted and tested in this life. This life will be this way not because of God but because of satan. Satan will use whatever he can to pull us and turn us from God. We make that choice to turn or not. We choose to be tempted or not. Now I must say not every temptation is from satan but can be our own desires and wants. We ultimately are the ones who chooses who to listen to. We do need to take responsibility and not blame satan for our own sins. Yes, he may have tempted us at times but it is us who let it happen. 

      To be a follower of Jesus opens us up to temptation of satan. We still need to forge ahead and hold our heads high in this life. When we are tempted be strong in the Lord, pray without ceasing, ask for strength and take it head on. Remember all the times when you got past the trials, the tests and the temptations. The three “T’s” of the life, trials, tests and temptations. Do not get caught up in these that you do not enjoy the good times. We do not have to live a life of constantly looking over our shoulder for satan but just beware he is out there. Keep looking forward and fix your sights on God. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and remember God is stronger then any temptation. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Darkness

Darkness


“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth” ~Ephesians 5: 8-9


 I never realized how dark it really can be in the world until all the power around me was out and the moon was covered by clouds. During hurricane Sandy the power went out and when I was outside I could not believe how dark it really was. Without any light source it takes some time to focus on what is around you. It is hard to find your way.  You are not sure of your surroundings.  

    This made me think of how dark our lives and souls are without God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in us. As christians we have that light placed in our souls when we are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then again that light is increased when we receive holy communion and then again when we make confirmation. It is after this we make that choice to foster that light in us or not. 

     When we decide not to foster that light and ignore it, it gets dimmer and dimmer but does not ever fully go out of us. It almost becomes that first star we see at night. We kind of see it and when we turn away and look back it takes a bit to find it again. But when we do find it, we can again decide to start to focus on that light and have it grow brighter and brighter.

      The problem with the dim light is that we can get used to it and our eyes gets accustomed to it. We start to become one with the darkness and are able to function in it. We forget what it is to see things as they are. What they truly are? The good, the bad the indifferent. Things get blurred in the darkness. It is like that saying if you put a frog in boiling water it will jump out but if you slowly warm it up, the frog does not realize it and stays in the pot of water and dies. It is the same, I feel, for us. We can get so used to it that our Faith can end up slowly dying in the darkness. 

      Our faith can start to die when we are in that darkness but because of the sacraments we go through and mostly from that initial sacrament of baptism we have that small light. It is almost being on “God Support ”. God support is like life support for our souls. He does not give up hope for our souls. He keeps our souls alive so we can Live. He continues giving us the breath of life in our souls so that we may find that light again and be in the light. 

       We are all called to be and live as children of light. To be beacons for those who are  lost and in need. As we use that light in us to shine God’s goodness in the world we grow in faith and light. As the light grows so does our faith. It goes hand and hand. When we also are around those who walk in the light it makes it easier for us to see in the world. The light grows brighter and brighter with each soul as we gather. It is like when you light candles in your home, each gives more and more light. 

        Our souls are marked when we are baptized and we become children of the light as it says in Ephesians. The light may dim at times but never goes out. We must foster the light and keep it burning as we travel in this life, so we may stand before God. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and keep the light on so you can find your way home. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Accountable

Accountable

"Iron is sharpened by iron; one person sharpens another."  ~Proverbs 27:17

 When we speak of our faith or ask others about theirs we need to remember not everyone is open about their beliefs and how they practice those beliefs. This does not mean we just keep it to ourselves and not put ourselves out there. We are to be a community and to go out and share the Good News with the world. It is in these actions that we find others out there who will help us in our own walk of faith. We need to remember that Jesus did not come down to force the message but be the message and show the love and concern for each other. 

   It is in our sharing and spreading the news that we sharpen our tools of faith and use them to carve out Jesus in the world. We may be the only christian that person may come into contact with that day or even a reminder of what they already know. We are not called to battle or condemn those around us in this life.  There is a thin line between holding someone accountable and judging them. 

     We are all accountable to the messages of Jesus but remember not everyone has heard these messages. When we speak to others remember first to share the message and if need be hold them to that message in a loving way. Never preach damnation but that of forgiveness of sins. Preach the love of the Trinity and what the trinity offers us. We can still hold people accountable but do it in a loving and caring way. Also remember your relationship to that person. How you deliver that message can make that person turn further away or bring them closer. For me I know, two people can say the same thing to me and one will have  an impact because of who they are in my life vs the other who is not the same as the other in my life. 

     Religion / Faith is a touchy subject because it can be seen as you are judging them and are acting “holier then thou”. That will turn people off to the message you are giving.  For some the tuff love approach will work and others may be just a soft tone.  We gather as a community because we can express ourselves with fellow believers and honor our God.  It is not time to cast the stones and watch people fall from grace. 

      Here in the cartoon Linus was trying to start a conversation, open that door, about prayer and Lucy goes right into debate mode. On both ends we need to watch how we act. When a person approaches us, we should give the benefit of doubt that it is not coming from a bad place or to start something but to start a dialogue of faith. 

       As it says in Proverbs, we are to sharpen each other, not tear them down. We need to build up the Kingdom of God and not set others outside of the kingdom. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and be strength for others and build them up. 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Foundation

Foundation

“The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.” ~ Matthew 7:25


   I thought the idea of foundations and what we build our faith on is fitting in wake of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.  When the storm hit, homes were destroyed, lives were destroyed and the landscape of many areas have been changed. It is the same with our faith. It can be washed away if we do not have it set on solid ground with a solid foundation. 

     In the cartoon Lucy is worried but when Linus offers God’s promise, she is comforted in God’s word. Linus says that it is because it is “ Sound Theology”.  That is what we all need in our lives, “sound theology”. It is not just to believe to just believe, You have to know why you believe. I am not saying that you have unyielding proof but know in your heart and mind why you believe it.  Our beliefs  can not be a “just cause I do” answer. 

      If we can not answer the simple question of “ Why do I believe?” to ourselves how are we to answer other questions from other people. Also when problems or “the storms” come, we need to remember why we believe so we do not waver or bend our beliefs to just get by.  It can be “ I believe because in Luke’s Gospel Jesus says......” or “ When God led Moses, He said......”.  The Bible has those promises we can rely on to help foster our beliefs and strengthen our faith. 

      When we build our beliefs and faith on scripture we will be stronger. Our foundation is built with the Word of God. What is stronger then that? It is the same with the teachings of the church. When we allow those teachings into our hearts and minds, we reinforce that structure of Faith and our Beliefs. 

       Sometimes all we need is a verse of God’s Word to calm the seas and we are able to be calm and allow ourselves to trust in God. It is time for everyone to stand strong in and for our faith. We are able to stand when we are on solid ground. It is a lot easier to stand on solid ground then that of sand. Even to walk by faith, it is easier on solid ground, solid teachings, then that of sand and misguided teachings. 

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and remember to build your faith on the word of God. 

      

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Vocation

Vocation

“I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,” ~ Ephesians 4:1


 The word “Vocation” has always meant Priesthood to me, and I guess to any man growing up in the Catholic Church that is the first thought. It is more then being a priest. Yes, it is part of it but there are other areas of vocation in the church.  You can have a vocation to be single, married, consecrated, religious or a priest.  We are all called by God to know, love and serve Him.  It is in our vocations that we do this. 
     I first must say that yes, there was a time that I thought or discerned being a priest. It was years ago and of course I decided at the time that was not what my vocation was to be. As of late I wonder about that decision. I am not saying that I now think my vocation is heading in that direction but just wonder why did I feel it then and who’s voice I listened to, mine or God’s at the time. 
    There is a calling for all of us. God is asking us to do things all the time. It doesn’t mean a vocation but a call to “Action”.  Hearing the call and vocation does go hand and hand at times. Then other times it is just a call to follow Him.  I did feel that “call to action” when it came to starting this blog and not being able to do it these past two weeks made me realize that it strengthens that connection to God in my life. 
    When I get that call, it starts as a spark in my heart and soul and it grows more and more as I answer that call. It is great when I know what He is asking but I must say that I have so many sparks going and I am not sure what they are for yet. Sometimes I think some are for ideas for the blog and then I quickly write the idea down or usually text it to myself to look at later. Then other times I have that feeling, that spark, and I am not sure where it is going or if it will ever turn into that flame. 
    There is this fire in my heart and soul that I want to serve God and bring the word of Jesus to the world but I question if it is what I am to do or is it that I still need to be sitting in the pew for a while longer.  Before I left the church my passion was to bring people into the church. Get those catholics back who left and make it a welcoming experience for them. I still feel that but my seat in the pew is barely warm. 
      I think it is that time in the Church where we really have to be on fire for not only God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit but for the Church as a whole. WE are the church and WE need to be that warmth that people need in a cold world. People will gather around a fire when they are cold. So, why not be on fire for our God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, and our Faith.  When people see and feel that fire, they may just come over and try and get warm and want to keep that fire burning in themselves as well. 
     There is nothing wrong with coming to church each week and sitting in the pew, you are still being a witness to your faith. You are giving that chance of a spark in someone else. I guess I think back to the blog of Hit Hard, Hit Fast or Slow and Steady and still see that I am not that Slow and Steady person. I do not think I ever will be that. 
      It is that call to each of us to know, love, and serve God, but the actions after is what is different for each of us. I look back to the different ministries I have been involved in before the return and I wouldn’t change any of them. I grew from each one of them and learned so much from them. I do feel that pull or spark for ministry life again. 
       I talked about a program I went to that was about God’s dreams for us vs God’s will, I am at the point where I am trying to see if God’s dreams for me is the same dream I have for myself. I know no matter what He will be there for me and with me and whatever I do is not from my own doing but Him guiding me and working in me.  I want to be sure that it is not my own pride or  ego that is driving my dream and that I am doing it to glorify Him. 
        Think about what you are being called to do and work towards that call. It is not just a one time event but an on going part of being a follower of the Trinity. I hope that sparks start to fire up and we all are able to be on fire for our Faith.

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and answer the call, God is waiting to talk to you. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saint Anthony of Padua

Saint Anthony of Padua


  Stating with this blog and every Saturday, I will post a new  Saint and some information about them. Some will be known and others I hope will become known. I feel that we need to learn from others and about where our faith has come from to be better Christians in this life. If you have any suggestions on Saints please comment so I can blog about them.

Until tomorrow, God Bless, and allow the knowledge of the Saints help us on our journey. 

Feastday: June 13
1195 - 1231

Saint Anthony was canonized (declared a saint) less than one year after his death.

There is perhaps no more loved and admired saint in the Catholic Church than Saint Anthony of Padua, a Doctor of the Church. Though his work was in Italy, he was born in Portugal. He first joined the Augustinian Order and then left it and joined the Franciscan Order in 1221, when he was 26 years old. The reason he became a Franciscan was because of the death of the five Franciscan protomartyrs -- St. Bernard, St. Peter, St. Otho, St. Accursius, and St. Adjutus -- who shed their blood for the Catholic Faith in the year 1220, in Morocco, in North Africa, and whose headless and mutilated bodies had been brought to St. Anthony’s monastery on their way back for burial. St. Anthony became a Franciscan in the hope of shedding his own blood and becoming a martyr. He lived only ten years after joining the Franciscan Order.

So simple and resounding was his teaching of the Catholic Faith, so that the most unlettered and innocent might understand it, that he was made a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII in 1946. Saint Anthony was only 36 years old when he died. He is called the “hammer of the Heretics” His great protection against their lies and deceits in the matter of Christian doctrine was to utter, simply and innocently, the Holy Name of Mary. When St. Anthony of Padua found he was preaching the true Gospel of the Catholic Church to heretics who would not listen to him, he then went out and preached it to the fishes. This was not, as liberals and naturalists are trying to say, for the instruction of the fishes, but rather for the glory of God, the delight of the angels, and the easing of his own heart. St. Anthony wanted to profess the Catholic Faith with his mind and his heart, at every moment.

He is typically depicted with a book and the Infant Child Jesus, to whom He miraculously appeared, and is commonly referred to today as the "finder of lost articles." Upon exhumation, some 336 years after his death, his body was found to be corrupted, yet his tongue was totally incorrupt, so perfect were the teachings that had been formed upon it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Patron Saint of Rediscovering the Journey

Saint Maximilian Kolbe


  With the passing two storms that hit NJ, I have decided that it was time to start Rediscovering the Journey Blog again with naming the Patron Saint of the blog. Also each week there will be either a Saint or Bible figure of the week instead of that nights blog. Below is a brief bio of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. 

  Until tomorrow, God Bless, and keep those devastated by Hurricane Sandy in your prayers. 

St. Maximilian was born Raymond Kolbe in Poland, January 8, 1894. In 1910, he entered the Conventual Franciscan Order. He was sent to study in Rome where he was ordained a priest in 1918.
Father Maximilian returned to Poland in 1919 and began spreading his Militia of the Immaculata movement of Marian consecration (whose members are also called MIs), which he founded on October 16, 1917. In 1927, he established an evangelization center near Warsaw called Niepokalanów, the "City of the Immaculate." By 1939, the City had expanded from eighteen friars to nearly 900, making it the largest Catholic religious house in the world.
To better "win the world for the Immaculata," the friars utilized the most modern printing and administrative techniques. This enabled them to publish countless catechetical and devotional tracts, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 230,000 and a monthly magazine with a circulation of over one million. Maximilian started a radio station and planned to build a motion picture studio--he was a true "apostle of the mass media." He established a City of the Immaculata in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1930, and envisioned missionary centers worldwide.
Maximilian was a ground-breaking theologian. His insights into the Immaculate Conception anticipated the Marian theology of the Second Vatican Council and further developed the Church's understanding of Mary as "Mediatrix" of all the graces of the Trinity, and as "Advocate" for God's people.
In 1941, the Nazis imprisoned Father Maximilian in the Auschwitz death camp. There he offered his life for another prisoner and was condemned to slow death in a starvation bunker. On August 14, 1941, his impatient captors ended his life with a fatal injection. Pope John Paul II canonized Maximilian as a "Martyr of Charity" and “Patron Saint of our difficult century” in 1982. St. Maximilian Kolbe is the patron of journalists, families, prisoners, the pro-life movement and the chemically addicted.