Monday Afternoon Musings

It’s been awhile since I’ve been on here. We had a guest priest this weekend and he spoke about Perpetual Adoration. Now we at St. Peter are blessed to have a Perpetual Adoration chapel and I have been blessed to be a part of it since we opened the door five years ago. I have to admit that I was surprised to hear that it had been that long! The purpose of our guest speaker was to rekindle the fire in anyone already spending one hour with Our Lord and to get those not participating at this time to sign up for an hour. It takes a lot of folks to fill a week of hours especially those early morning ones. For me there is nothing more relaxing than to spend some quality quiet time with my Lord and Savior. I had forgotten all the blessings to be reaped from that one hour. For instance, I represent all people while I am there. Jesus showers me with graces beyond my wildest imaginings! I carry with me all the sins, cares, and worries of those who don’t even know Christ yet. If you have never been to adoration I would like to suggest that you find a nearby Catholic church that offers it and go…spend one hour of your week with your new best friend! I guarantee you will feel the difference all week long! Blessings to you and know that I will be praying for you on Thursday, between 5 and 6 o’clock!

Sunday Morning Treasured Musings

August 8, 2010 – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“For where your treasure is, there also will be your heart.”
Luke 12:32-48
Another one of my favorite Gospel readings…it’s so important for us to be ready at any moment and to be properly prepared. Earthly treasures will do us no good in heaven, they won’t even help us get there.

So, three things happened this weekend, God is speaking loudly to me about all this stuff in my life. First, there was a yard sale, what was left of my mother’s belongings were laid out on blankets in her front yard. She had moved to an apartment, a smaller space to keep up with and a lot less drama in her life. However, when you move from a two story, four bedroom home that you have lived in for forty years, you find you have accumulated lots of stuff! She took the things that have meaning for her, some things were given away to children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren, but the remaining stuff was put out for yard sale. It’s such a final action, it was sad to see her things out there for the world to pick through and then discard as junk. Today’s reading has helped to put it all into perspective, it was and is just earthly stuff and not one of those things makes a difference in the larger scheme of life. Holding on to them would not have insured her a spot in heaven. It’s who she is and what she does and has done in her lifetime that will get her a seat at the heavenly banquet. I just hope she can sit and let someone else wait on her for a change…
The second thing that happened is really not as in your face, but it still amazes me how God ties everything together. After helping at the yard sale I arrive home to find my husband watching on HGTV a program about selling your house. This woman goes around to people who have been trying to unsuccessfully sell their homes and shows them little tricks to improve their odds. What was the biggest advice she gave to each and every one of those homeowners? Declutter! Keep your spaces clean! I look around me and I see clutter, lots of clutter. I didn’t always have all this, I had a time in my life when I was down to one bedroom worth of “stuff”. The things I had were mostly necessities, a bed, dresser, books I was reading and using, just enough clothing for my needs. Funny thing is, I was closer to God then at any other time in my life. I didn’t have a TV, a computer, a cell phone…yet I survived. I was cleaned out, I had no clutter, inside or out. Things changed and I have been blessed with another home-filled with stuff! It happened slowly and steadily, but it happened. Now I look around and I know I am being asked once again to declutter, to come back to that clean space.

Finally, the third thing that was given to me was the following by Deacon Jerry Martinez of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, he was writing about today’s reading as well for a Stewardship newsletter. Very interesting indeed…

The trash we put on the curb to be discarded reveals much about who we are and what we do in life. It contains the packaging of the products that we treasure. It reveals where our hearts are. What is in our trash?
Is it packaging from the latest electronic games, the best type of athletic equipment, the current fashion in clothes (no matter how revealing), the appliances with the most features, containers that held gourmet foods,too many empty liquor bottles and beer cans, and the shredded documents of the fortune we are trying to amass? There are some people whose hearts are not revealed by their trash. They have no trash. Sadly, they have nothing to throw away. They do not have sufficient food and they have very little clothing. We would do well to remember these words of Jesus, “Much will be required of the person who has much, and still more of the person entrusted with more.” When we bring our trash to the curb we should ask, “How much treasure have I been entrusted with? What does this trash reveal about my heart?”

Have a great week…happy cleaning!
May God bless you and keep you,
Marci

Sunday Morning in New York Musings

Good morning from Averill Park, New York. We are up visiting family and enjoying the heat here. I am usually dressed in sweats, but their weather has been rivaling that of Florida, so I feel right at home. The only difference here is no one has central air conditioning, but the nights have been cooler and sleeping not so bad.

Attended Mass at a small church in Averill Park called St. Henry, Fr. Provost the parish priest. It always amazes me when away from home how wonderful it is to be able to go to church and know exactly what is going to happen. Yes, the music may be different and there may be some small slight changes in the liturgy, but because we are a universal church no matter where we wander it always feels like coming home. Factor in that this has been going on and growing for the past 2000 years and I find that simply awesome!

The gospel today was one of my favorite, the Good Samaritan and Father did a good job with his homily. It must be hard to come up with something new and different when talking about the same old gospel readings, but Fr. Provost had his own personal twist for the tried and true “we are to love all people even though we all struggle with doing so”. For those of you who are country music fans you may be familiar with a song titled something along the lines of “I will Pray for You”…the lyrics go something along the lines of praying that your brakes may fail, praying that a flower pot will fall off the window ledge and hit you on the head. Father did say we should not pray like that – he got most of us chuckling. Got me thinking…maybe because of being in New York and hearing that gospel reading I couldn’t help but picture an obviously dressed Muslim individual lying hurt and bleeding on a New York City sidewalk days after 9/11. Would anyone have stopped to help? Would I have stopped to help? Would anyone today stop to help? That’s what Jesus was talking about in his parable. The Samaritan and the good Jews who walked on by were mortal enemies, we are not talking just dislike here. However, one good Jewish man looked beyond their differences and did what was right in the sight of God. He stepped way out of his comfort zone. So did Jesus every day , conversing and eating with sinners, tax collectors, the town harlot, always doing what was right in the sight of God. In the end that’s all that will matter, not what other men may think, just what our God and Savior will think of our daily actions while here on earth being Jesus to our own little world.

Fr. Provost also read these Beatitudes for Carers…enjoy:

Blessed are those who care and who are not afraid to show it –
they will let people know they are loved.

Blessed are those who are gentle and patient-
they will help people to grow as the sun helps
the buds to open and blossom.
Blessed are those who have the ability to listen –
they will lighten many a burden.

Blessed are those who know how and when to let go –
they will have the joy of seeing people find themselves.

Blessed are those who, when nothing can be done or said,
do not walk away,
but remain to provide a comforting and supportive presence –
they will help the sufferer to bear the unbearable.

Blessed are those who recognize their own need to receive,
and who receive with graciousness –
they will be able to give all the better.

Blessed are you who give without hope of return –
you will give people an experience of God.

May you have a great week and I pray that we have our eyes open for the Samaritans along our way. May God bless you and keep you.

Marci

Sunday Morning Missionary Musings

Enjoyed the musings of a visiting missionary priest from Jamaica, representing MOP (Missionaries of the Poor). Perfect Sunday, it tied in so well with the readings this weekend-the sending out of the seventy two (Luke 10:1-12,17-20). I was surprised to hear his story about a Bishop in a larger city who turned he and his accompanying group away-told them there was nowhere for them to stay-they knocked the dust from their sandals and moved on. They ended up at a monastery with some Poor Clares who took them in and provided for their needs for a week. We Catholics are not all on the same page!

Can I imagine stepping out of my comfort zone with nothing but the clothes on my back, trusting the good Lord to take care of my every need? Heading out into unknown territory taking the gospel message to people I don’t know? I have a difficult time carrying the message to those near and dear to me. I have been spurned by my own family and friends, laughed at and ridiculed. Sometimes it is easier to just stay quiet and not rock the boat when discussions occur. But then my conscience begins to nag, what would Jesus do, what would he say? I struggle with remaining calm and clear-headed, how did Jesus do that? Perhaps I need to pray more…I would like to talk one-on-one with Peter or Paul…what’s the secret to successful evangelization?

I believe that my mission is to trust in the Lord, pray to know his will for me and then to leave myself behind, go out and be Christ to my little world. OK, Jesus, I’m opening the door, be with me…

Blessings,
Marci

Sunday Morning Musings on the Body and Blood of Christ

We were blessed to have Fr. J.P. give our homily at the 4:00 PM Mass on Saturday. He began talking about beauty pageants and those personal questions the ladies are asked about the one thing you would like to accomplish when you “grow up”. He noted how most contestants will answer something along the lines of, “I would like to solve the problem of world hunger”, or “I would like to bring about world peace.” Very lofty goals for such young and naive young ladies, but, one never knows from where the cures for those ills may come.

The Church celebrates the Body and Blood of Christ this Sunday, so Fr. J.P. went on to speak about how every single one of us was created with a hunger for Christ. Jesus gave us the food that would satisfy that hunger when at the Last Supper he commanded his disciples, his friends, to “Do this in remembrance of me.” We Catholics continue this faith tradition at each and every Mass we celebrate. So, if we are to be satisfied by the Body and Blood of Christ, why must we keep coming back to the table? Physically, we must continue to eat from the bounty of the earth or we starve. God in his infinite wisdom also created us with an insatiable hunger for Him. In continuing to come back to Him at every Mass to be fed again and again we continue to grow strong in our faith, strong in our commitment to be Christ to this world. We continue to find ways to feed his lambs and to bring peace to His world. Stay away from the table of the Lord and we risk starving our faith life right out of us. Christ commanded us to come and eat, may we grow faithfully fat as we feast on the only food that really matters!

May you be blessed and may you find many opportunities to dine with the Lord this week.
Yours in Christ,
Marci

Holy Trinity Sunday Morning Musings

Our Mass yesterday was officiated by Fr. Frank, he is our permanent fill-in whenever needed. I like Fr. Frank, he is from Malta and is very intelligent so I was looking forward to his sermon on the Holy Trinity. He kept it very simple explaining how the Trinity is a mystery and one that we will probably never really understand until the time we pass on into the heavenly realm. He spoke about St. Patrick and how he taught the Irish converts about the Trinity using the three leaf clover, one stem, three leaves! I think what amazes me the most when I spend time thinking about the Trinity is that all three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, existed from the beginning. All three were present for the creation of the world. It’s in the bible! Let’s look at Genesis, Chapter 2, verse 26: “Then God said: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…'” Note the use of “us” and “our” in that verse. This is just one of the things that causes me joy when I think about the end of this mortal life of mine, I can’t wait to learn the truth about all these mysteries surrounding my faith!

Before I move on this morning I would like to take a moment to mention Mary, the mother of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the final Sunday in May, the month we honor Mary. Yes, I said honor, not worship! Without Mary’s consent Jesus would have had no earthly vessel to assist his becoming human while maintaining his divinity. She is a special woman, she was the first disciple, she was given as mother to us at the foot of the cross. It is only right that we honor her just as we honored our earthly mothers earlier this month. In her honor I would like to share with you a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow written to Mary.

Her Feet Shod with Holiness
And, if our faith had given us nothing more
Than this Example, of all Womanhood,
So mild, so merciful, so strong, so good,
So patient, so peaceful, loyal, loving, pure –
This were enough to prove it higher and truer
Than all the creeds the world had known before.
Virgin, who lovest the poor and lonely,
If the loud cry of a mother’s heart
Can ever ascend to where thou art,
Into thy blessed hands and holy
Receive my prayer of praise and thanksgiving
Let the hands that bore our Savior bear it
Into the awful presence of God;
For thy feet with holiness are shod,
And, if thou bearest it, he will hear it.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I pray that I may be more like Mary, always seeking first to do the will of my Lord. Have a blessed week.
Marci

Part II – Subduing the Earth

God gave us this earth to subdue it.  What did he mean? Let’s begin by looking up the definition. Subdue means many different things. The New World Dictionary of the American Language – 2nd College Edition gives us this:  alter in sense and form after; to bring into subjection, conquer; vanquish; to repress emotions; to bring under cultivation. This gives us a good picture of how the American language uses words for many different meanings, how we turn words and meanings around to fit our relativistic society. Would God have meant to conquer or vanquish? Or to repress ones emotions – by being controlling? I think we could all agree that this is not the intent of God’s message. So if we use the last part of the definition: to bring under cultivation, I think we can then go to the definition of cultivate to grasp a clearer meaning. In the sense of cultivating land it means to prepare the soil for planting.  The definition speaks also of cultivating the mind: to improve by care, training, or study; refine.  So in Genesis where God tells man to subdue the earth,  would he mean what we have done to the visible world – to the earth and our relationships? Lets take a look at the visible world.

II. THE VISIBLE WORLD 337 God himself created the visible world in all its richness, diversity and order. Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine “work”, concluded by the “rest” of the seventh day.204 On the subject of creation, the sacred text teaches the truths revealed by God for our salvation,205 permitting us to “recognize the inner nature, the value and the ordering of the whole of creation to the praise of God.”206 (Gen 1″1- 2:4)338 Nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world began when God’s word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all human history are rooted in this primordial event, the very genesis by which the world was constituted and time begun.207339 Each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection. For each one of the works of the “six days” it is said: “And God saw that it was good.” “By the very nature of creation, material being is endowed with its own stability, truth and excellence, its own order and laws.”208 Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment.340 God wills the interdependence of creatures. The sun and the moon, the cedar and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow: the spectacle of their countless diversities and inequalities tells us that no creature is self-sufficient. Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other.341 The beauty of the universe: The order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man’s intellect and will.342 The hierarchy of creatures is expressed by the order of the “six days”, from the less perfect to the more perfect. God loves all his creatures209 and takes care of each one, even the sparrow. Nevertheless, Jesus said: “You are of more value than many sparrows”, or again: “Of how much more value is a man than a sheep!”210 (Ps 145:9; Lk 12:6-7; Mt 12:12)343 Man is the summit of the Creator’s work, as the inspired account expresses by clearly distinguishing the creation of man from that of the other creatures.211 (Gen 1:26)344 There is a solidarity among all creatures arising from the fact that all have the same Creator and are all ordered to his glory: May you be praised, O Lord, in all your creatures, especially brother sun, by whom you give us light for the day; he is beautiful, radiating great splendor, and offering us a symbol of you, the Most High. . .

May you be praised, my Lord, for sister water, who is very useful and humble, precious and chaste. . .
May you be praised, my Lord, for sister earth, our mother, who bears and feeds us, and produces the variety of fruits and dappled flowers and grasses. . .
Praise and bless my Lord, give thanks and serve him in all humility.212

345 The sabbath – the end of the work of the six days. The sacred text says that “on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done”, that the “heavens and the earth were finished”, and that God “rested” on this day and sanctified and blessed it.213 (Gen 2:1-3) These inspired words are rich in profitable instruction:346 In creation God laid a foundation and established laws that remain firm, on which the believer can rely with confidence, for they are the sign and pledge of the unshakeable faithfulness of God’s covenant.214 For his part man must remain faithful to this foundation, and respect the laws which the Creator has written into it. (Heb 4:3-4; Jer 31:35-37; 33:19-26)
347 Creation was fashioned with a view to the sabbath and therefore for the worship and adoration of God. Worship is inscribed in the order of creation.215 (Gen 1:14) As the rule of St. Benedict says, nothing should take precedence over “the work of God”, that is, solemn worship.216 This indicates the right order of human concerns.
348 The sabbath is at the heart of Israel’s law. To keep the commandments is to correspond to the wisdom and the will of God as expressed in his work of creation.
349 The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ’s Resurrection. The seventh day completes the first creation. The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation.217

(Articles 337-349 from The Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Part I – Man and Woman

Part I – Man and Woman

 

369 Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. “Being man” or “being woman” is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator.240 Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity “in the image of God”. In their “being-man” and “being-woman”, they reflect the Creator’s wisdom and goodness.(CCC, 240 Gen 2:7, 22)

The excerpt above explains the blueprint for relationships that is clearly spelled out in Genesis. Man does not lie with another man or animal – his entire being was “willed” by God for the woman. No where else in God’s creation, did man “cry in wonder, exclaiming love and communion” (CCC 371) than in the first glance at “woman.” To be with anyone else is against the very nature that God created. Homosexuality and bestiality are in direct conflict with nature and a disorder of this world.

372 Man and woman were made “for each other” – not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be “helpmate” to the other, for they are equal as persons (“bone of my bones. . .”) and complementary as masculine and feminine. In marriage God unites them in such a way that, by forming “one flesh”,245 they can transmit human life: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.”246 By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents cooperate in a unique way in the Creator’s work.247  (Cathechism of the Catholic Church, Gen 2:24, Gen 1:28)

We see the disorder all around us. It begins with relationships, then it spreads to marriages, to families, to society, to the nations, …to the very foundation God’s creation – the earth.

 (Look for Part II Subduing the Earth and Part II Our Roles as Man and Woman, coming soon)

Ascension Sunday Morning Musings

I apologize for missing the last couple of Sundays, I have been ill, but am feeling much better now.

We have a visiting lay evangelist with us this week at St. Peter who actually spoke at Mass during the homily and will be with us for a mission on Pentecost Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings at 7 PM in the church.

Before Fr. Tom introduced him, he spoke a bit about coming home and what that is like for him.  He went home to be with his mom on Mother’s Day this year.  His opening statement was, “Home is where mom is.”  That is so very true, no matter where your mom lives, that place is home because mom makes it so.  That spoke volumes to me especially with everything going on in my personal life with my mom right now.  Please keep us in your prayers, it is a stressful time, but I do believe in the power of God’s good graces and I know this time will pass.

What I really want to talk about this morning though, is another thought that came into my mind after thinking about Fr. Tom’s words and the Ascension of Our Lord.  Jesus must have had quite the homecoming!  How exciting it must have been for him, he had been away so long, 33 years!  The celebration must have been breathtaking.  Yet, it must have been bittersweet as well, leaving his good friends and family, those who had followed him, and especially his mother.  Even though he knew he would be seeing them all again, still, the human side of him must have had just a bit of an ache knowing he was leaving them all behind, and the divine side knowing they would  suffer in his name.

Our own homecoming will be wonderful, marvelous, joyful beyond anything we can imagine.  Even though the world appears to be falling apart at the seams and things look hopeless, keep your sights on the end prize, keep your eyes on heaven.  Our own precious Lord awaits us there! Nothing beats the feeling of coming home.

May God bless you and keep you this week.  Amen

Marci

What do Theodore Roosevelt, Sigmund Freud and Mahatma Ghandi All Have in Common?

Theodore Roosevelt wrote, “Birth control is the one sin for which the penalty is national death, race death; a sin for which there is no atonement.”

Sigmund Freud, “The abandonment of the reproductive function is the common feature of all perversions. We actually describe a sexual activity as perverse if it has given up the aim of reproduction and pursues the attainment of pleasure as an aim independent of it. So, as you will see, the breach and turning point in the development of sexual life lies in becoming subordinate to the purpose of reproduction. Everything that happens before this turn of events and equally everything that disregards it and that aims solely at obtaining pleasure is given the uncomplimentary name of “perverse” and as such is proscribed.”

Mahatma Ghandi, “Artificial methods [of contraception] are like putting a premium on vice. They make men and women reckless …. Nature is relentless and will have full revenge for any such violation of her laws. Moral results can only be produced by moral restraints. All other restraints defeat the very purpose for which they are intended. If artificial methods become the order of the day, nothing but moral degradation can be the result. A society that has already become enervated through a variety of causes will still become further enervated by the adoption of artificial [birth control] methods …. As it is, man has sufficiently degraded women for his lust, and artificial methods, no matter how well-meaning the advocates may be, will still further degrade her.”.

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