Trust: Freedom’s Doorway

9 Jul

cross-praise

In the past, due to youth and limited life experience, I didn’t think much about trust.

Yes, I trusted my parents, extended family and my friends. I gave little thought to what it means to trust God.

Gradually, I began to approach the doorway to freedom. I knew I could trust God to forgive me my sins. Also, I could trust the Church to teach me truth, to lead me into the warmth of God’s mercy.

But, one thing I held back.

I always begged God to let me outlive my wife, Peg, so I would not leave her alone to face life’s trials.

Perhaps, I did not understand God’s depth of love for her and his gift of faith—to say nothing of the Holy Spirit’s gifts of courage and fortitude. I did not trust God to care for her—or even our children to care for their mother.

In recent days, I have found a depth of peace I have never known before. Perhaps, at last, I have surrendered to God in joyful trust and confident faith.

After 65 years of ups and downs in marriage, we are truly bound together. We have our faith in God and in each other, as well as in our family and friends.

I am at peace.

God’s will be done.

He is Love Itself.

Why worry?

Why fear?

 

 

Beige Catholics–Oh, No!

29 Jun

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(Adapted from an earlier blog.)

Mother Teresa, canonized in 2016, had the moral conviction and strength to do what Jesus asked her to do. She struggled with darkness of soul. She rarely felt the joy of the presence of God. Yet, she persevered.

I’m afraid I’ve become what Bishop Barron calls a “Beige Catholic”—or a “Comfortable Catholic,” as someone else suggested.

Jesus called it “luke warm” faith.

In other words, my tendency is to seek the comfort of fellow believers, to cozy up to the Jesus of mercy and, all too often, to turn away from his demand that I take up my cross and follow him.

Yet, at eighty-three years of age, nagging questions give me no rest.

Have I done all I can do to bring the light of Christ into my world?

Am I afraid of the possible cost of true discipleship?

And, how do I respond as society drifts farther from the Gospel?

Do I only sit and fume over same-sex “marriages” and bathrooms?

When it comes to cohabitation, even among Christians, do I manage more than a disapproving frown?

Politicians promise even more discord and desperation in our nation. Do I do more than fuss and fume?

With the best of all moaners, I can bemoan the exodus of so many Catholics—young and old—from the Church our Lord Jesus founded. Why can’t I do something about those in my family who have done so? Have I even tried?

I pray, write and preach. But what do I DO about it?

Father Charles Pope, Archdiocese of Washington, noted that in the first three centuries, there were thirty-three popes, thirty were martyred and two died in exile. They gave their lives.

In a reflection on Scripture, America magazine reminds me that Jesus is asking for my life. He wants me to take up the cross of true faith, the saving message of the Gospel and accept the light of the Holy Spirit. Jesus begs me to give myself entirely to his mission of salvation of all people.

Considering the growing persecution of Christians (note the slaughter of the faithful Coptics) the cost of true discipleship may well become more evident. But the cost pales in the face of God’s love for us.

No cost is too much if we, as did Mother Teresa, love him and everyone for whom he died.

 

 

 

Pelosi, Revisited

28 Jun

 

(This is a slightly edited version of my blog which appeared in 2014.)

(In 2014, I wrote), Nancy Pelosi has done it again. She’s ignored the constitutional right to free speech when she wrote San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone “that he should not attend” the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) June 19 march in Washington D.C.  (Information from www.briebart.com).

The NOM is dedicated to promoting and defending the scriptural and, therefore, Christian view of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Pelosi (who claims to be Catholic), noting that there would probably be vicious signs and calls directed toward gays, called the event “venom masquerading as virtue.”

There you have it!

Citizens, who are committed Christians, do not have the right to address any social or legislative issue, but their opponents do? Where is Pelosi when anti-life protesters picket pro-life events and speakers?

She has a double standard that surely does not square with the Church she claims as her own, nor with the Constitution of the United States.

But maybe that’s her problem—claiming the Church as her own rather than that of the Lord Jesus Christ who stands for life and truth.

Maybe Pelosi needs to revisit the Scripture: “What you bind on earth is bound in heaven” (Mt 18:18).

And, if she is all that Catholic, she may want to revisit the “Catechism of the Catholic Church”—or maybe pick it up for the first time.

 

 

 

Patience, Folks

25 Jun

I am putting together blogs on the seven transforming gifts of the Spirit. I will finish writing all of them, one at a time, before I begin to publish them.

Then, I will write blogs on each of the gifts of the Spirit found in 1 Corinthians–and, again, publish them one at a time.

In the interim, I will treat (or punish) you with older and former blogs which many of you young folks never had the good (or bad) fortune to read.

Please be patient with me. I’m slowing down in my old body.

Pax Domini,

Deacon Henry

Lord God,

26 May

Heavenly Sun Beams

Look on all that we do today,

that it may be for your glory

and the sanctification of the world.

 

An Open Letter to D.C.

19 May

Dear Officials in Congress and the White House

You folks have a tough job—serving a nation that is deteriorating in patriotism and substance.

Patriotism?

Yes, I ‘m afraid so. You see, I was a child during World War II. At that time, I lived in Southeast Texas with my parents. My only brother was in the Marines. He served as gunner on a fighter plane. He was wounded in battle.

Our family and all others were focused on winning the war. We gathered scrap metal and brought it to our school grounds. This metal was then picked up, melted down and used in making equipment for the war effort.

We faced rationing of food and gasoline.

In a word, we were all at war.

I’d never seen anything like it until that fateful day when terrorists took down the Twin Towers. For a while, our citizens had a sense of unity and outrage. It seemed as though patriotism was born anew.

But then, back to the usual pace of life—personal comfort and pleasure seemingly the goal of individuals, with only a hint of what it means to belong to the “greatest” nation on earth.

I intentionally emphasized the word “greatest.”

We are no longer the “greatest” in terms of national pride and purpose.

First, we are torn apart by racial tensions. And with the advent of terrorism, we are not comfortable with newcomers to our shores.

Second, we have only a trace of patriotism left in our nation. I don’t count as patriotism the hateful slander aimed at persons with different political views. It is simply inexcusable verbal violence.

Third, you folks “inside the beltway” are little or no help at all. Your bickering and arrogance, in Congress and in the White House, are both shameful and harmful.

Personally, I’m sick of it all.

You un-inspire me. You alienate me. Why?

Because, you are not leading us as “one nation under God.” You are creating resentment between yourselves and the citizens. And the citizens, if they respond as I do, are fed up with what comes off as quests for power for power’s sake.

And now we come to substance.

Where is God in this “one nation under God?”

Your rhetoric—and the slightest “nod to God” in all of society—falls way short of a belief and dependence on the One who made this nation great, who inspired the colonists to lay their lives on the line for freedom. Your mouthing of patriotic slogans falls way short of the sacrifice of those who daily risk their lives for all of us—our troops on land and sea and in the air—as well as our peace officers and firefighters who serve unselfishly.

One last word to all of you in Congress and the White House:

 Get real — you know what you have to do. And, trust in God — check with him first.  We are, after all, “One nation under God.”

 God bless you and all of us!

 

 

Confusion of Conscience

15 May

 

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 I imagine this old woman, kneeling before the statue of the Sacred Heart, over and over again striking her breast. I can almost hear her tortured prayer, “Forgive me, O God, all my sins throughout all my life. I am such a terrible sinner.”

Is she an especially holy person, one who truly sees the horror and the wages of sin—or is she merely a tortured soul whose painful conscience is the fruit of confusion or, maybe, pride?

Confusion? Pride?

Confusion: Perhaps this poor woman has never understood that a sin once forgiven is just that—forgiven. It exists only in the memory of the sinner, and Satan can torture even the forgiven person if she or he will not “let go” of the sin.

Pride: Oh how subtle is the sin of pride. Perhaps our dear sister is trapped in the sin of believing her guilt is beyond God’s power or desire to forgive. How treacherous is the devil, and how subtle his evil, to haunt and depress God’s children!

There is another way in which Satan can confuse one’s conscience—the sin of presumption. A person can become so confident of God’s mercy that he or she just goes along sinning and sinning, always relying on God’s merciful love, and never owning the duty to live responsibly and to grow in holiness—to say nothing about loving and being grateful to God.

So, what about that imaginary old woman I was thinking about?

I would do better to think about myself, about my own relationship with God.

Do I have a confused conscience?

Do I fret over sins already forgiven?

Am I taking God’s love for granted?

Do I really want to love and please God?

God deserves my love and to be pleased by me.