Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from December, 2016

New Year's Resolutions and Confession

There are five steps to making a great Confession.

First, I must examine my conscience. I must compare my life to the life of Christ. In an examination of conscience, Christ must be the standard I compare myself to and not my fellow man. I must sit quietly and ask God to reveal to me the times when I have failed, the times when He had difficulty recognizing me as His son.

Second, I must have sorrow for those sins that have been revealed during the examination. I must be sorry for having offended God, my neighbor, and myself for in sinning I have damaged my relationships with all three. This sorrow may be perfect (sorrow for offending God and others) or imperfect (sorrow out of fear of punishment). God wants me to have perfect sorrow or contrition for my sins but in His mercy may lead me to that perfect sorrow by use of imperfect sorrow.

Third, I must confess my sins to a priest. It is not enough to merely recognize my sins and be sorry for them. I must also confess them to …

My Favorite Christmas Characters

Frosty the Snow Man
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Hark the Hearld Angel

A New Ark of the Covenant

Luke 1:46-56

The new ark, house of gold
with haste unto the hills
to kinswoman, barren, now with child
Holy Spirit filled.

Simple greeting brings the grace
A new David dances unconcerned
Elizabeth filled exclaims aloud
blessed be thy womb

How can this be
Why me this grace
the mother of my Lord
of such familiar face.

Too good to me
is the Lord above
the fulfillment of the promise
in one I dearly love.

Enmity, enmity
garden, serpent, Eve
the crushing of his head
does now begin with thee

Magnify the Lord
chosen handmaid, fair
His mercy now forever
is entrusted to thy care.

Please, Oh Mary, Say "YES"

I read this Saturday in the Office of Readings and it really stuck with me. Fr. Hahn also mentions it in his homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

A sermon of St Bernard
You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.
The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.
Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole e…

Unanswered Prayers

Luke 1:5-25

Whenever I take the time to look back on my life I am amazed at the goodness of God. Especially so in light of my wandering ways. When I look back at the things I asked for and what was given to me instead I am filled with praise and thanksgiving. Like the country song says, "some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers."

Scripture tells us that God's ways are not our ways and sometimes this just plain stinks! Yet, God is a loving Father who knows what is best for us. He has a plan for us. And His plans, His ways, are always far better than ours.

In my younger days, before my conversion, I dreamed of a life of singing in a band. I dreamed of living on stage, in bars and clubs, and partying till the end. What a stupid dream! In fact, I think I even prayed, in my own twisted way, for these things. Thank God for a great big "NO". If God would have revealed to me His plan at that point in my life I would have laughed and said "thanks&quo…

An Eternal Family Tree

Matthew 1:1-17

I often like to contemplate the chain of events that brought me to existence. I wonder what sort of things had to happen for my father and mother to meet. Then I dive deeper in grandparents, great-grandparents and on and on. Could one missed appointment have meant my not being born. Could a premature death changed our family's lineage forever. I also like to think about the people in my lineage. Were they honorable? Thieves? Nobles? Murderers? Servants? Were there adulterers? Kings? Lords? Peasants? In this way, my family history fascinates me.

Today we are introduced to Jesus, Mary and Joseph's family history. Both Joseph and Mary are from the house or line of King David and so we call Jesus "Son of David." It is interesting that, like many of our families, their family was not perfect. Their lineage from Abraham to Joseph is made up of some of the greatest figures in history and some of the lowest. Kings and murderers, heroes and harlots fill their f…

Can I get a Witness?

John 5:33-46

According to Mosaic Law, testimony could not be given by one witness alone - "one witness alone shall not take the stand against a man in regard to any crime or any offense of which he may be guilty; a judicial fact shall be established only on the testimony of two or three witnesses."(Deuteronomy 19:15)

In this chapter of John, Jesus is basically establishing His credentials. He is telling us who He is, where He comes from, Who sent Him, and from where He gets His authority. In today's passage He even brings things down to a very human level. He goes out of His way to present His witnesses, those who can testify on His behalf and prove who He is.

Jesus goes above what is require by law and presents four witnesses -

John the Baptist, His miracles, His Father, and the Scriptures for His defense. John cried out, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world", "I am not fit to loosen the thong on His sandal", and "I must …

Snow at Night (Poem)

thick quiet, hush
white carpet, plush
flakes soft, crush
wind sweeps, brush

soft glow, snow
cold caress, blow
tongue melts, know
cheeks red, go

hand held, tight
stars fall, night
white rain, light
steps fall, fight

house door, nigh
warm mug, sigh
fire mantle, dry
watch snow, fly


When God Says, "NO"

On this day, 7 years ago, my wife and I loaded up my Chevy Malibu and headed East to CHOP, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia leaving 4 kids behind with my parents.  It was a snowy day much like it is today here in Columbus and a very dangerous trip with plenty of wrecks and jack-knifed tractor trailers along the way.

We traveled to CHOP for a 2nd opinion by a world-renown eye specialist after our daughter Catherine was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, cancer of the retina.  We prayed harder than ever before.  We begged the intercession of St. Lucy, on this her feast day, after all what better way to glorify God than to have a cancer healing on the Feast of the Patron Saint of eye troubles.

God said, "no", and this is my reflection from shortly after that time....



Have you ever prayed for something only to have God say, "no"? Have you ever offered sacrifices, begun prayer chains, prayed novenas to every known saint in Heaven for an intention only to have God say…

A Mother Who Keeps Her Promises

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Luke 1:39-47

Over the past couple weeks I have witnessed the Rite of the Catechumenate at two different parishes. Those seeking admission to the Catechumenate are asked two primary questions. First, they are asked, "What do you ask of God's Church?" To which they reply, "faith." Second, they are asked, "What does faith offer you?" And they reply simply, "eternal life." Their responses are always firm and projected for all to hear. I admire their hunger and desire for faith and for eternal life.

Those of us who have been "in the Faith" for a while also know many of our responses by heart and often offer them from the heart. However, the question remains, do we believe what we profess? When we recite the Creed at Mass, do we believe what we profess? When the priest says to us, "The Body of Christ", do we respond with a resounding "Amen" thus confirming our belief?

I ponder these questions, t…

Conceived without Fear

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

What do you think you would do if you were to come face to face with God this very instant? We all like to imagine what we would do, but if we were honest with ourselves we would admit that we would probably want to crawl under the closest rock. Even though we may have just come back from Confession and Mass, we would still know that we are not worthy to stand in the presence of God.

Throughout Scripture we are given examples of how people react to encounters with the living God and His messengers, the angels. In the first chapter of the book of Revelation John encounters Christ and says, "I fell down at his feet as though dead" (Rev 1:17). Later on in the same book John is speaking with an angel of God and here John says, "I fell at his feet to worship him" (Rev 19:9). Now, of course all of this is in a beatific vision so we could excuse John in this case for he is at this point out of place. He is allowed to catch a glimpse …

Bringing the Paralyzed to Jesus

Luke 5:17-26

Have you ever been paralyzed? This could be physical, emotional, or spiritual paralyzation. I think many of us have been paralyzed at some time or another. We know the agony that comes with desiring to do something but not being able to will ourselves to do it. So there we sit, stuck in a rut or flat on a mat, waiting for something or someone to heal us.

Do you know someone who is paralyzed right now? Again, this could be physical, emotional, or spiritual. Do you know someone who is depressed and cannot lift themselves out of the darkness? Do you know someone who is deep in debt and cannot find his or her way out? Do you know someone one who has left the Faith and now wonders if God even exists? Do you know someone who has just been through surgery or is going to go through surgery and is losing hope, is becoming paralyzed by the fear of what life will be like tomorrow? Do you know someone who is paralyzed?

In today's Gospel we are given specific instructions on what…

Jesus' House of Healing

*The Advent Scripture Challenge is hosted by Real Life Rosary.  During this season of Advent we are using the book 4 Simple Steps to Better Meditations (FREE PDF DOWNLOAD) to dive deeper into reading the daily scriptures.  Please click any of links for more information.  Join our Facebook Group to stay up to date.  What follows are my thoughts and prayers from today's readings using the 4 Simple Steps Method and Worksheet.


Step #1 - Clear the Mind. Today I am distracted by the things I need to get done around the house but don't have the time due to my current job situation.  A hoop house needs to be built.  My second job needs more attention.  Rosaries need to be made and sent out before Christmas.

Step #2 - Read the ScripturesToday's readings can be found here.  While reading the readings this morning particular words seemed to permeate all of the readings and caught my attention - eyes, blind, healing, faith, light, and house.

Step #3 - Join the Story As I watched the …

How to not feel Upside Down this Christmas!

This is a post from my website that I wrote about 11 years ago. We still practice these things today. This year however, Sean, my brother-in-law helped us all draw names using Evite which made things much less complicated since we live all over the country - Ohio, Oregon, and Louisiana.  Read on...

I’m sure you’ve heard of the latest rage for this Christmas season. It’s the newest thing everyone is talking about and everyone must have. It is an upside-down Christmas tree. I’m not joking! HammacherSchlemmer was selling these trees for almost $600 but now they are sold out. The ad states, “this unique 7' pre-lit fir is inverted to ensure a smaller footprint for less-spacious areas, and allowing more room for the accumulation of presents underneath.”  These trees are now available everywhere from Amazon to Walmart.

This is a very popular item and many people buy them either for the shock value or to display ornament collections and I see no “evil” connection or anti-Christmas message…