Archive | February, 2013

Praise God, all ye creatures …

24 Feb

half-dome-at-sunset2

 

All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea …

Where could I possibly go, Lord,  that your love would not be there, or the glory of your wisdom not burst forth in the magnificence of your creation?

Each morning as I awake, your symphony of trills and tweets flow from the trees through the window, announcing a new day, announcing with joy the endless wonder of your creation.

In the depths of the sea, creatures of splendid hues and colors, only now known by man, with many yet unseen, radiate in secret your glory.

And in the sky, clouds of many faces float hither and yon, seemingly aimless, but guided by your gentle hand.

On the earth, so many different plants and trees, so many different rocks and seas and streams, so many kinds of animals and birds, all standing fast or moving according to their nature – these only hint at the breadth of your divine imagination and majesty.

And as evening falls, the skies gradually darken into a comforting blanket, soothing the mind and heart, preparing us for rest, secure in your sustaining love.

Indeed, my Lord and my God, you create, sustain and direct all of your creation.

So, dear Lord, in your great mercy and goodness, please sustain and direct my wayward soul.

 

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Of light and salvation

6 Feb

El Capitan

I love you, Lord, my strength,

Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer,

My God, my rock of refuge,

my shield, my saving horn,

my stronghold (Ps 18:2b-3).

 He has raised up a horn for our salvation …salvation from our enemies and from the hands of all who hate us (Lk 1:69a, 71).

That’s good news!

And if ever we needed such good news, it is now.

Let’s moan together for a bit:

  • Israel is in danger from Iran, as are we here in the U.S. The entire Middle East is in turmoil.
  • Economic disaster looms over much of the free world.
  • People seeking freedom are mowed down en masse by their dictatorial oppressors.
  • Unemployment in our nation still looms.
  • Traditional values are ignored – modesty in dress, fidelity in marriage and friendships, working for a living, concern for one’s neighbors, faith in God at the center of private and social life.

Okay, enough!

If we stay there we’re going nowhere.

The Lord himself promises: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Cf Mt 7:7-11).

We are bigger than our problems.

Look way back.

The Lord’s promise of salvation echoes from Moses: God has set before us “life and prosperity, death and doom.” If we are to have life and peace, we are to love and obey God, walk in his ways, and keep his commandments (Cf, Deut 30:15-20).

What are we seeking? How do we define salvation? Is it peace of mind and peace in the world or a good job? All good. However, are we seeking the gift instead of the giver?

John the Silent, so named for his love for silence and contemplation, lived in the fifth and sixth centuries. He offers this:

Great is this salvation, my brethren, which fears neither sickness, nor lethargy and disregards pain. … Even though the dark shadows of evil crowd about, “the Lord is my light.” … Though the blindness of concupiscence assails us, again we say, “the Lord is my light.” For he is our strength; he gives himself to us and we give ourselves to him. Hasten to the physician while you can, or you may not be able to find him when you want him.  (See Liturgy of the Hours, Book III, pgs 130-131)

Recall the story of the blind beggar near Jericho. He was told Jesus was passing by and he called out insistently to the Lord. “Jesus asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’  He replied, ‘Lord, please let me see.’  Jesus told him, ‘Have your sight. Your faith has saved you’” (Lk 18:41-43).

The grace of “seeing” God comes with humility and surrender. Just think about this instruction from the Lord:

“Come to me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Mt 11:28-30).

The Mystery of Salvation

4 Feb

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The empty tomb — the first Easter and our hope for eternal life.

Salvation. Don’t just remember the story of salvation.

Don’t just read it.

Live it.

You can, you know.

It’s mystery, not magic.

Magic tries to fool you. Mystery – that is, the mystery of salvation – reveals who you really are, who God really is.

I’m Catholic – not just “a Catholic.” I’m Catholic. I embrace the Church as Christ living in the world. I believe every person, baptized in the name of Father, Son and Spirit, is part of the Church.

I believe the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of the means of salvation – Scripture, Sacraments and Tradition.

I believe in Jesus, the Savior, our Lord. I believe that what he did on earth is eternally present to the Father. His life, passion, death and resurrection are all part of that Eternal Now which is eternity.

In prayer and community worship, the believer is drawn into that mystery, that Eternal Now.

Living Salvation Now

In the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Mass, you and I encounter the fullness of salvation, the fullness of God’s love for his people. We find God’s great love that gave birth to creation and holds it in existence, the great love that offers and gives salvation.

Reflect for a moment on the content, the order of the Mass. In the Mass, salvation is offered now, in the present moment, at Mass and in every moment of our lives.

In every Mass, we enter intimately into the Eternal Now:

  • The Old Testament proclaims our creative, saving and patient God.

  • The Psalms sing out faith in God and our need for God.

  • The selected readings from Acts and other writings from the Apostolic Church call us into the fervor and dynamism of the early believers. We encounter the humanity of the Church and witness Christ’s love in his teaching and relationships.

  • In the Gospel, we sit at the feet of Jesus, hearing him, perhaps hearing him “again for the first time.” We are in the Eternal Now. His love is expressed to each and all of us in his patient endurance, words of hope, powerful healings and in his call to follow him.

  • Then we offer to the Lord our gifts and lives as the bread and wine are brought forth to the altar.

And, since this is the Eternal Now, we truly enter into Holy Week:

  • Passion (Palm) Sunday, Jesus enters Jerusalem. “Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!  …”
  • Holy Thursday, the Last Supper. Jesus gives us himself as he does on the Cross: “This is my Body given up for you … my Blood poured out for you. …”
  • And now, the resurrected Jesus! The invitation to receive our Lord in Holy Communion, to enter into the fullness of his divinity and his resurrected and glorified humanity, the invitation to become more fully his presence on earth.
  • Finally, as one Body with and in the One Lord, we give thanks to God who sends us out into the world.

It’s mystery, not magic. It’s real. It’s true.