Fighting (?) Anger

25 Feb

 

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There is a difference between the Passion of Christ and the passions to which we too often surrender–for example, anger.

“Henry, tell us what you really think!”

I’ve heard that gentle barb many times in my life, especially since I’ve become engaged in, and enthralled with, our Catholic faith.

It seems that people think I speak too quickly and too frankly, and sometimes too heatedly.

And, I do.

My name invokes the patronage of three saints: Henry, Pierre (Peter) and Joseph.

I’m not a king or a saint like Henry—and not a quiet and forever-gentle man like Joseph.

 But, alas, I am so very much like the impetuous, vacillating Peter. Sometimes, as the old saying goes, my mouth is in motion before my brain is in gear. In other words, I know what needs to be said (at least according to my great and innate wisdom), but I don’t always think about how to say what needs to be said.

I have little patience when others are dancing around a problem that needs to be discussed. For example, let’s say a group of us are discussing strained relationships in the parish. Then, someone gives a dismissive shrug of the shoulder, accompanied by, “Oh, well, it is what it is.”

GRRR! (Oops!)

All that being said, this is my focus for Lent: I will work on putting my brain in full gear before I even think about opening my mouth.

This is an effort to overcome anger. Please, dear Jesus, help me.

 

Commercials: Ugh!

19 Feb

For Blog 011

When you fast, put on a happy face!

Here are some disgruntled observations about TV commercials.

  • You see these memorial crosses on the side of city streets and freeways. They are there to say that a loved one died in a car accident—and perhaps as a reminder that driving a car can be fatal. Yet, auto dealers show their cars speeding, spinning, leaping and sliding. I think this is irresponsible.
  • Then, there are these soap opera commercials that run and run and run. At times, unless you mute them and take a bathroom break, you can almost forget the show you were supposed to be watching.
  • Don’t forget about those spots (all too long) that want you to call in to purchase almost anything. You know, “but wait” you get double the order “free.” I called in once and I’ll never do it again. I couldn’t talk to a real person. The automated message kept on talking and trying to sell me a bunch of stuff I’d never want. What’s happened to person to person, eyeball to eyeball shopping?
  • Oh, yes—and don’t forget the lead-ins to the “real message” about the product. Some of these have nothing to do with the product. They serve merely as attention getters. I’ve stopped watching these also.

Maybe it comes with age (wisdom, boredom, clogged arteries?) but it takes much more that cutesy ideas to capture my interest.

(NOTE: During Lent, I will not be posting as many blogs–time to recollect, refresh, renew and recommit.)

OOPS!

11 Feb

Sorry folks! Cruise Retreat 14 will not be on an aircraft carrier as depicted in my previous blog.

Old eyes!

And our ship will not take us to the Mid East waters. This photo was sent by our grand daughter, Krystal, who is helping to defend our country and all of us.

Thanks to author, patriot  and good friend Chuck Dowling for pointing out the mistake to me.

Deacon Henry

Cruise Retreat 14

10 Feb

 

 

 

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I invite you to my next “vacation retreat:”

Deacon Henry’s Retreat Cruise 14

on RCCL’s Serenade of the Seas. 

Time flies! We’ll be setting sail before you know it.

November 13-23, 2015

The retreat will help already committed Catholics to renew an appreciation for their faith. It will also invite participants to reflect on how they embrace the call to grow and live the faith in their own families, communities and the environments of work and play

I am listing, below, our itinerary, contact information and retreat outline.

Sailing from Fort Lauderdale, FL with stops at Tortola, BVI … Bassettere, St. Kitts …Roseau, Dominca …St. John … Antigua … Philipsburg, … St. Maarten

To sign up and for more information, please contact:

Vacations by Annette

http://www.AnnetteTravels@aol.com

Phone 407-971-1971

Starting at $1,087.00 per person.

You will need a valid passport.

Retreat Outline:

Moving into God … How to Live the Faith More Effectively

.Session One: Conversion, Moving from Darkness into Light

Wonderful and Wounded Humanity

Finding the Light

Move into the Heart of God

Session Two: Move into God’s Embrac

Called into the Community of Faith

Why Belong to the Church

The Mass—Perfect Prayer

Session Three: Prayer is Living the Mystery

                The Five ‘Words’ of Mary

       Adventures in Prayer—Getting Personal

Session Four: Move into the Mission of Christ

                Called to Give What You Have Received

(Note: Each session will be held while we are at sea and will run from sixty to ninety minutes–plenty of time left to shop, tour the ship or, hopefully, win a bit at the Casino.)

God Calls and Trusts You

10 Feb

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How can we fathom the depths of God’s love? How embrace wholeheartedly this marvelous truth?

Just consider creation—all of it. The world, all the planets and stars, the entire cosmos, everything that is: All were created by God. You and I were created by God. God decided that we would live.

I am deeply moved by the opening words of John’s Gospel:

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.

What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race:

the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (Jn 1:1-5).

We know that this “Word” of God is the Son of God. We know that the Son of God became man.  Again, as John testifies

And the Word became flesh

and made his dwelling among us,

and saw his glory,

the glory of the Father’s only Son,

full of grace and truth (Jn 1:14; see also Lk 2:1-20).

This brief passage contains the entire wonder of creation, of the Holy Trinity and the history of salvation.

Our God tells us, through the Holy Scriptures, that the Son of God assumed to himself our human nature (body, blood, soul and spirit). He lived among us as Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus walked the earth as we walk the earth. He proclaimed the Kingdom of God, healed the sick, raised the dead and preached the Gospel of the Father’s love.

Jesus was unjustly condemned. He was crucified, died and was buried.

He rose again on the third day and appeared to his disciples. He commissioned the Apostles to lead his Church with Peter (who had denied Christ three times) as the head of his Church.

He ascended into heaven and sent to us his Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life.

The Holy Spirit remains with us, day in and day out, to inspire and instruct us.

The Holy Spirit guides Pope Francis, the successor of Peter, and all the bishops who are the successors of the Apostles.

Jesus founded a Church. We, with the pope and the bishops are that Church. We are a vibrant body filled with the Spirit of God, called by God to bring the love of God and the good news of salvation into the entire world.

Each one of us who is baptized, confirmed and nourished by the Scriptures and the Eucharist, must be united with the entire Body of Christ. Each of us is responsible for our share in the mission of Christ.

What a marvelous privilege and a delightful challenge!

With all our failings and feelings of unworthiness and incompetence, the Lord still calls us and trusts us. He wants us to take on our share in his mission of salvation.

Stay close to our Lord in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in the Holy Eucharist. Absorb the Gospel as you read it prayerfully and hear it proclaimed and preached at Mass.

Remain faithful to the teachings of the Church.

Be open to the Holy Spirit.

Remember the comforting words of Scripture that assure us of the Spirit’s presence to help us give witness in tough and even dangerous situations:

Don’t’ worry about what you are to say, the Spirit will speak in and through you (See Mt 10:19, Mk 10:19, and Lk 12:11-12).

 

 

In Search of Peace

4 Feb

 

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 All-powerful and ever-loving God, direct your love that is within us, that our efforts in the name of your Son may bring mankind to unity and peace.[i]

I cringed when I read these lines in the breviary during Morning Prayer. Perhaps you are not plagued, as I am, with a tendency to fly off the handle when I feel threatened. For example, I feel both dread and fear when I see national “leaders” vying for supremacy, and fostering angst, insecurity and division. I am now old, but I fear for our family—children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  

This fear is unreasonable in the light of faith.

When the light begins to shine on the man who sat in darkness and the shadow of death, in the darkness of evil and the shadow of sin, he is shocked, he calls himself to account, repents of his misdeeds in shame, and says: The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? … Even though the dark shadows of evil suggestions crowd about, the Lord is my light.[ii]

If I am afraid and filled with anger and fear, how can I foster peace and unity?

How I wish I had the courage and faith of those who can see “this mess” and still remain totally at peace.

Maybe, instead of wishing, I need to pray more. But I do pray. Why this restlessness within me—a restlessness that is part zeal for the mission of Christ, part impatience and a feeling of helplessness?

Yes, zeal. For the Gospel of the Lord and the entire history of salvation excite me in the depths of my soul.

And yes, I feel impatience, because the needs of the Church and society in general are so urgent. And in spite of the urgency, so many people seem to be oblivious of their ability to change things with God’s guidance and help.

And I often feel helpless because of the enormity of the challenge and my sense of finiteness and weakness as I face the challenge before us.

And here we go!

Is it not pride that fuels my impatience and feelings of helplessness?

Is my impatience not rooted in a sense that it’s up to me to be the knight on the white charger going into battle to save the day? And does this pride suffocate the truth that each and every one of us is graced by God as we suffer together the pressures of each day?

And do I have a pure zeal for the Gospel? Am I truly motivated by a pure desire for the conversion of the world to God, or is it in part the personal satisfaction I experience when others recognize me—or when I praise myself?

Maybe, just maybe, I am crossing the threshold of peace.

[i] Liturgy of the Hours Book III, from prayer on pg. 131, Catholic Book Publishers, New York, 1976.

[ii]Ibid, pg. 128,  John the Serene, Bishop

 

Good News in Our Parish

19 Jan

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I want to share with you a great blessing that has come to St. Mary Magdalen Parish here in Altamonte Springs, FL.

Surely, other parishes have experienced this blessing as we have—or perhaps in different ways.

It’s the blessing of faith confirmed. In our more than a half-century as a parish, we have indeed experienced God’s love and care, as well as strong conviction in God’s actions in the Sacraments and in the proclamation of his holy Word.

It is also a blessing of faith renewed, deepened energized.

In the past year, our pastoral team and staff have launched a seasonal preaching/catechetical series designed to help the entire parish experience a deeper, more personal and more challenging encounter with the Gospel of the Lord.

We used the RCIA model of “breaking open” the Word of God. We sat together, read the Gospels for the specific liturgical season, broke up into groups, were assigned one Gospel, and thought deeply of what God wanted our parish to understand from  each particular Sunday in that particular season.

From this discernment came a number of insights from each Sunday. These reflection points were listed. Then selectively, these insights were to be used in homilies, catechesis and spiritual formation. Cards, listing the season’s reflection points, were printed and mailed to everyone in the parish. Slides were created for use in church. The aim was to get everyone in the parish on the “same page.”

It has been a tremendous help. We have a parish of more than three thousand families and ten thousand souls. We have three priests, seven for deacons, a Catholic school, vibrant religious education and RCIA ministries, a commitment to spiritual formation of all parishioners, and hundreds of lay people up to their ears in outreach to the poor, sick, bereaved, homeless and otherwise marginalized.

We are now gearing up Lent.

Thanks be to our God.

 

 

 

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