Monday, October 5, 2015

Are you worth waiting for?

Are you having sex before marriage, or living w/ someone whom you are not married to? If you are, without realizing it, you are demeaning yourself and the other person. How? Because you are telling the other person by your actions that they are NOT WORTH WAITING FOR and therefore you are placing them in a disposable relationship… and, at the same time, you are saying the same thing about yourself. 
 
• We don’t realize who we really are in God’s eyes, nor do we realize who the other person is when we live this kind of way.  Let me give you an example… God BREATHED His spirit and the breathe of life and formed you in the womb of your mother and called you by name… He also did this with the other person. He called you both into life, He called you each by name and your little heart started beating with life… He formed your little hands and feet and formed you into the man and woman you are becoming. But He also formed us with an eternal soul with a plan in mind, just as He did with Adam and Eve… “I will create a helpmate like unto himself... and the two shall become one flesh.”
 
• For those who are not married yet but who are called to this vocation, did you know that there is someone out there right now, in the world, whom He created, just as He created you, and that person is out there and you are meant to spend the rest of your life with that person and to have a life with them, to create another life by having children with them, and have a family with them? It may be a person you are not in a relationship with yet and you have never met them or maybe it is the person you are with now…. How will you ever know who it is? Well, you will never know unless you actually WAIT to find out and save yourself for that person. 
 
Once you meet that person who is “your other half”…. You will want to wait for them and you will want to make the ultimate sacrifice to be with them and to lay down the rest of your life for that person. They are worth it, and more than that, so are you! You are worth a lot more than you give yourself credit for.
Don’t treat yourself as if you are disposable nor do this to anyone else! You are not just flesh, contrary to what the world tells you… The world says you don’t need to be married, you don’t have to wait… but this is because the world denies what is unseen…it denies that you are more than flesh and just a blob of tissue… You have an eternal soul! And so does everyone else… and, again, you are telling the other person they are not worth more and worth waiting for if you are with them before marriage! 
 
Don’t bring someone whom you say you love into a disposable relationship… bring them into a covenant and do not be with them sexually until AFTER both of you are sealed by the Blood of the Lamb and blessed by your Heavenly Father. Have you received God the Father’s blessing yet to be WITH His son or daughter? Than you do not have permission to go into His Temple and defile it. That is His resting place, that is His inner room. We forget that we belong to Him and that we are His Temple… Take away the flesh and what is left of you? That is why you wait and why you are worth waiting for.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

How I knew without a doubt that I have a Guardian Angel at my side...

OK, here is the story of how I came to really KNOW without a doubt I have a guardian angel....
This happened in my early childhood when our family was living in Frankfort, KY (we moved from there to Houston, Texas in 1984). My friend from school invited me to join him and his family on their float for the Thanksgiving Day parade. I was all too happy to join him. 
Anyway, we hopped into the back flatbed trailer hooked up to his dad's pick-up truck. After we had finished throwing out all of our candy to all of the kids along the parade route we came to a gravel road. I remember looking at my friend and telling him how much fun I had. He replied, "Me too!" and gave me a big pat on the back which made me lose my balance and I quickly fell off the trailer and found myself underneath it lying flat on the gravel road. I quickly tried to pull myself out but I was not moving at all.... I was only moving the gravel with my small arms... kind of like what happens when you make a snow angel.... only this wasnt helping me at all.
What was really scary was that the rear wheels of the flatbed trailer were aimed directly at where my head was.... and the trailer was moving a little quicker than I had expected. I pushed even harder in order to try and get out but nothing happened. I then saw that the tires were now only a few inches away from my head so I cried out..."God, save me!" 
I immediately felt two firm hands grab my ankles which pulled me quickly out and safely from underneath the trailer. Once I was clear, I quickly jumped back on the trailer next to my friend and turned around to thank the person who grabbed me. There was NO ONE there... and there was no place for anyone to hide, as we were in an open clearing of a large field of grass. I looked all over my body and I was also amazed that I did not have even one single scrape or scratch. I did not have the courage to tell my friend or anyone else what happened to me that afternoon.... but I had no doubts to who it was that saved my life that day and I continue to thank him, my friend at my side.
~ Fr. Scott Brossart, SOLT

Why you really need to listen to your Guardian Angel...

This is why you need to pay attention to the voice of your Guardian Angel as Our Lord says: 
[20] Behold I will send my angel, who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared.[21] Take notice of him, and hear his voice, and do not think him one to be contemned: for he will not forgive when thou hast sinned, and my name is in him. [22] But if thou wilt hear his voice, and do all that I speak, I will be an enemy to thy enemies, and will afflict them that afflict thee. (Exodus 23:20-22) 
Now many will say, well that is just fine and dandy but what do you really mean because I don't ever hear my angel's voice? My advice to you is that you better start listening then, but we also need to know HOW to listen. Angels do not necessarily communicate like you and I speak (although they sometimes can do this if they really need to get our attention), but usually they communicate (because they are pure spirit) by way of thought. You may have this thought that you know it is not you speaking to yourself and you have this thought... "You need to go over to this place and help that person." You can ignore it but I would NEVER advise doing this as given the Scripture from above and you need to heed your angel's voice. Watch what will happen the next time you heed that thought... WOW! That is how the angels communicate with us. 
Now my Guardian Angel knows me VERY WELL and knows how stubborn I am so he has to repeat himself over and over again most of the time when I ignore him. Take for instance when I was in the novitiate in New Mexico and I was hiking through the desert up a tall mesa and I was about to jump over about an 8 foot cliff. I started to back up a distance in order to get a good running start when all of sudden I get this thought that I knew wasn't from me... "GO AROUND!" Now, by this time, I have gotten to know my angel's voice so I replied... "No, I am going to jump!" The thought comes again: "GO AROUND!" This time, I am thinking he perhaps sees something I don't so I just go back and look at the cliff to see if there is anything below like rocks... but no... its just sand and looks like a soft landing. So... stubborn me... I starting to back up again to get another running start before my jump. This time my angel turns up the heat and replies repeatedly: "GO AROUND! GO AROUND! GO AROUND! GO AROUND! and won't stop... So I give up and tell him... "Ok... I get it! I will go around! But you are making me miss out on some awesome fun so I am going to stop listening to you just for getting me upset." Anyway... I finally go around the hill and to my surprise... there was a shelf or underhang below where I was going to jump from and it was deep cavern... in fact, it was a huge snake pit! And lined up in a row underneath the hanging rock from where I was going to jump were about 5-6 huge rattlesnakes and if I had jumped I would have landed right in front of all of them and been immediately bitten because they were already curled up! I just couldn't have seen them because they were lying underneath the cliff rock I was standing upon before. So, I quickly responded back to my angel: "THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!...." All the way back home from my hike. 
You see... my angel knows me that well and I am glad he is always at my side... even in my stubbornness.
Again... you need to LISTEN and watch how they will guide and protect you. Don't listen... and... well.... good luck!!!! You are going to need it! ~Fr. Scott Brossart, SOLT

Sunday, September 27, 2015

How to Serve Our Lord in Church Ministry...


• Prophet Zechariah: Our Lord says, “But I will be for her an encircling wall of fire, says the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst… See I am coming to dwell among you, says the Lord.” (Zech. 2:9,14)
• All of us have been invited to the Kingdom of God. But where is it? This place, this Church, this sanctuary where God’s glory is truly present is only the beginning of God’s Kingdom. And it isn’t the end either. Some of us treat the Church like that… like going to it and then we have made it to the end, and then we go home. No, it is not the end. Our Lord wants to reveal to your heart that this is just the BEGINNING of His Kingdom! We should always remember this. When the Pharisees asked Our Lord when the Kingdom of God was going to come, He answered: “The Kingdom of God is already at hand… (It is already here)…. It is WITHIN YOU!” (Luke 17:20-21)
• All that you see in the church’s sanctuary and all the beauty and the magnificence and awe of God’s presence in the Tabernacle and the glory that is yet to be revealed in Heaven… We need to realize that Our Lord wants all of that glory to become present to you now… and for you to enter INTO IT.
• It is very easy to come to church and minister as if it were simply a matter of routine. Before you even enter the door of the church, stop and pray. Pray and prepare your heart for what you are about to enter into and what you are about to do for Him. Think of Moses before approaching the Mountain of the Lord where He revealed Himself in the burning bush… as he approached the Lord, God called out to him: “And He said: do not come closer, take off the shoes from your feet: for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5) We need to do the same before we enter Our Lord’s dwelling place. Not that He is asking us to take off our shoes, but rather… prepare yourself before you come before Him. Realize you are about to enter His dwelling place and realize what you are about to do for Him in His service. Furthermore, realize that all of this that you see and touch… all the ways that you serve and minister… the sanctuary, the music, the serving… all of it points to a deeper reality that Our Lord wants to take place within you, for YOU are God’s Temple and His resting place. Ask Our Lord to open your heart, in all that you do here, to the reality of how He wants you to live… and for Him to live within YOU. Don’t leave Him here! Take Him home with you. This is the meaning of the Eucharist! The Kingdom of God is within you!
 
Talk:
• I remember my ordination to the diaconate which was at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church here in Corpus Christ, Texas. Everyone left except for me and a family that I am close friends with. Well, they had a little daughter named Savanah and as her father and I were talking, little Savanah came up to her dad and started to tug on him. He looked at her and asked what she wanted. She answered, “Daddy, there is somebody in the church and you need to go and see.” He looked at her and smiled and said, “Savanah, we were the last ones out of the church. There is no one in there.” So, she started tugging on him some more. This time he was getting a little upset. She looked at him intently this time and said, “Daddy… there is somebody in there and you need to go in and see.” He was thinking someone may have had an accident or something or is hurt so he better go and take a look. He went back into the church and walked back to the sacristy door but it was locked. He knocked and no one answered. He then went into the men’s restroom and then into the women’s restroom and called out just in case someone fell or was hurt… again no response and they were both empty. He finally got frustrated and came out and said, “Savanah! I told you there is nobody left in the church. The church is empty!” She looked at him and said, “Daddy, Jesus was in there and you didn’t even see Him!”
• God understands how easy it is to get accustomed to a routine without realizing Whose Presence we are coming before. We are in the flesh and we don’t recognize what is UNSEEN. But Our Lord wants you to open your heart to the reality of what we believe and to find Him and rest with Him rather than just get distracted from His Presence by all the activity.
• “In the course of their journey He came to a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and listened to Him speaking. Now Martha, who was distracted with all the serving, came to Him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister is leaving me to do the serving all by myself? Please tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered, ‘Martha, Martha’ He said, ‘you worry and fret about so many things, and yet few are needed, indeed only one. It is Mary who has chosen the better part, and it is not to be taken from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
• Here’s the problem… we serve and get distracted by what we are doing… we go to church, we pray, we serve, and then we minister… and then we… and then we…. and then we missed Him. This is Martha… Mary knew Who it was who was coming to visit her and she recognized Him and sat right down before Him at His feet and remained there. This is where Our Lord wants you… to rest before Him… and not to leave. But how can you do this if you are serving and ministering? Ha! And there is a simple solution…. Look to the Blessed Virgin Mary to teach you this gift. Mary is both Mary and Martha at the same time. She never ceases to have her heart before Our Lord and resting in Him no matter what she is doing. When the Angel Gabriel came to her, do you know what she was doing? She was resting in prayer at Our Lord’s feet and waiting for Him and just resting in His Presence in her heart. But she was doing this all the time… when she did the dishes, doing the laundry, putting the clothes away, visiting with anyone… her heart was always resting in prayer before Our Lord no matter what she was doing… this is why it really didn’t matter when the Angel of the Lord came to her because she was always ready to receive Our Lord or His messenger anytime of the day or night.
• You know, I used to hate, really hate, doing dishes. Then Our Lady asked if I would come and do the dishes with her. To rest with her, to speak with her, while I did the dishes. She was teaching me already how to enter into this gift with Our Lord by teaching me to do this with her first. Now I run to do the dishes. I can’t wait to get there because she is always waiting there for me. But it really isn’t about her. She wants us to have this gift with her Son. To KNOW without a doubt that He is here waiting for you in prayer.
• Mary’s heart was a cave where Our Lord was present. You need this gift and you can learn how to enter into this gift with Our Lord through the prophet Elijah. Our Lord told Elijah to go to a certain cave and to wait there and that the Lord would be passing by. So Elijah went the cave and waited for the Lord… a great storm came… but the Lord was not in the storm… then a great earthquake… but the Lord was not in the earthquake… then a rushing wind, but the Lord was not in the wind… then there was a gentle breeze… and Elijah took his cloak and hid himself for he knew the Lord was passing by. You see… he waited for the Lord to come… he waited for Him to manifest His Presence.
• Here is the key to open the door to the cave of your heart. You have to make an act of Faith. We all say, “I believe the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. I believe this.” But it is completely different from saying “JESUS is here! It is Him! He is here in the Eucharist!” One is pointing to the reality from afar… It is almost as if you are saying you want to believe this… to hope it is true… but that is not Faith. FAITH is the CERTAINTY of that which we believe… I don’t believe this or that… I have to allow my Faith to bring me to the reality! Faith is grasping it, touching it… accepting it and embracing it, entering into what is unseen. This is Faith. Think of what you say in the Creed… “We believe in what is visible and what is invisible.” Now the question is, do you? BEFORE you even pray, before you even start… quiet your heart and wait for the Lord to come. Wait for Him to manifest Himself before you. Be still and know that I am God. Once He comes and you are aware of His Presence, then you enter into prayer.
• Before Our Lady conceived Our Lord in her womb, she conceived Him in her heart because her heart was silent and waiting before the Lord… He always rested in her and she rested in Him… and then the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us. Our Lady wants to teach you how to enter into this gift in your heart….and once you receive Him, don’t allow Him to leave.
• You know, there was a time when Mary and Joseph were leaving Jerusalem with their family and they were looking for Jesus but couldn’t find Him… So, they went in search for Him. Where did they find Him? In the Temple… But did they leave Him there? No. Because His Mother said this… “Your father and I have been searching for you. And Jesus was OBEDIENT to them and went home with them.” (Luke 2:41-51) They did not leave Him in the Temple. Did you know that Jesus is obedient to you? You can leave find Him here in the tabernacle, you can find Him here in the Church and you can find Him in prayer in the Temple of your heart and you can leave Him there… But He is obedient to you. Jesus wants you to take Him with you when you leave. Don’t leave Him there once you find Him in the Temple. Don’t leave Him there and abandon Him after you find Him in prayer. Take Him with you. I was thinking back when I was serving in one of our missions in North Dakota and one of our priests, Fr. Pinto, who had a close relationship with Our Lord, was asked a question by one of our young volunteers. She asked, “How long after I receive Jesus in the Eucharist will He stay within me?” He simply responded, “How long will you let Him?”
• Now on to the next point…. If you were invited by Our Lord to the Last Supper, how would you serve and care for Our Lord? If He invited you to read the Word of God, how would you read it? If He asked you to take His chalice, His vestments, asked you to greet those coming through the door… How would you serve Him? Serve Him in the way… as you are always serving Christ and serving in His Presence.
• “…and He got up from table, removed His outer garments and, taking a towel, wrapped it round His waist; He then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel He was wearing. {Now, remember the disciples didn’t know ahead of time that Our Lord was going to do this. Some of them were barefoot already and you don’t know what they stepped in that day… or what was on their feet and in-between their toes... foot fungus, warts… and all! But Our Lord doesn’t see all that… I mean He does, but He sees past all the mud and grime of our souls… He through it all and see you and me… and He is not afraid of touching it, washing it all, and kissing your feet} He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘Never!’ said Peter. ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have no share with Me.’ Simon Peter said, ‘Well then, Lord, not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus said, ‘No one who has had a bath needs washing, such a person is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.’ He knew who was going to betray Him, that was why He said, ‘though not all of you are.’ {We must be very, very careful here that we do not enter into ministry for Our Lord nor receive Him in Holy Communion if we are unclean or have unclean garments. We should be properly dressed not only on the outside, but even more importantly on the INSIDE! We should be washed clean in the Sacrament of Confession if we are conscious of any serious sin before we serve Our Lord and come before Him. Find another minister to replace you and do not feel offended by this… rather realize it is more important not to offend Him whom you serve} When He had washed their feet and put on His outer garments again, He went back to the table. ‘Do you understand,’ He said, ‘what I have done for you? You call Me Master and Lord, and rightly, so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you must wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done for you. In all truth I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, no messenger is greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know this, blessed are you, if you behave accordingly.’” (John 13:4-17)
• Be aware of how Our Lord serves you. He is not afraid of getting down at your feet and washing your feet, grime, scabs, fungus, warts and all. With the same love, gentleness, kindness, and softness you should have the same care and love in serving everyone whom Our Lord places before you.
• Your service isn’t about here… Our Lord has called you to serve Him and follow Him in your life. Your life should be a reflection of your service in Christ. “Why do you call Me Lord, Lord, but do not do the things that I ask?” (Luke 6:46)
• By what mark can people look at you and know that you are a servant of Christ and His Church? What marks you as such? Is it by what you do? The mark of a disciple is not in what you do… “A new commandment I give unto you. That you love one another as I have loved you that you also love one another. By this they shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) Live this as an example for others… how you great others coming through the door, how you live at home loving your spouse, your children and grandchildren, your co-workers… your in-laws and outlaws… everyone who comes across your path. You know, God places come of them as scouring pads… not to get you mad and angry but rather you cannot shine without them! They help you to grow in kindness and charity… you cannot grow without them. Like weight lifters… if you are not challenged by what you are lifting, always raising the bar a little higher, you will not get stronger. The same is true in relationships with others. You cannot grow in love if you only love those who love you… love your enemy…then you will grow in love and be a disciple. This is how Jesus loves you and you have been His enemy every single time you seriously sin… and yet He still is not afraid of getting down on the floor and washing your feet. Have the same love for others.
• Think of Jesus teaching you how to serve. How would He do it? With what care, gentleness, etc. Let Him teach you how to serve.
• “My people worship Me with lip service, but their hearts are far from Me.” (Matthew 15:8) We need to be very careful that we are not doing this with Our Lord… giving Him lip service. Again, it is very easy to go through the routine of our daily life and not think about what we are doing or saying… the same can even happen at Mass before Our Lord. If you do not mean what you say to Him, you should not say it.. It is like in confession when people say the act of contrition and they just speed through the words like it is a race of something and have no clue to what they actually mean or who they are saying it to, as if it were just going into sin air. Rather than just saying it, why not close your eyes, see yourself literally at the foot of the Cross where Jesus is hanging, dripping His Blood and then look into His eyes, knowing that He is there because of what we have done by our sins… then say the words from your heart. This is the key… speak to Him from your heart and let that flow through your lips to Him. We should enter the Mass like this. Like the Amen. Sometimes we just say it out of habit without even realizing what we mean… it means… “I believe this! Yes, it is true!” That is an AMEN. So, give your heart to Our Lord and worship Him in spirit and in truth.
 
For Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion:
It is your role and ministry to bring Christ… physically present to the sick and the homebound as well as assist the priest in distributing Our Lord within Mass. How should you care for Our Lord? Treat Him as if you were with the shepherds at His birth and you join them in going down from the hill country into Bethlehem. The Blessed Virgin Mary points you out of the crowd and asks you to come forward. She reaches into the manger and holds her newborn Son and then places Him in your arms. How would you hold Him? Always treat Jesus like this… you are not just carrying a “host”… you are carrying Him Who is in the host.
• Furthermore, be attentive to the sick and homebound who are entrusted to your care. Treat each of them with dignity as you would coming before Our Lord as He is suffering on the Cross.
• Ask how you can serve them in Christ. Ask if they need to go to confession and if they seem to be getting worse, call the priest or arrange for the priest to go and visit them. Ask them and serve them in Christ. Don’t treat it like you are just dropping something and then leaving.
 
Lectors:
• It is your role to minister in regards to the Word of God. Remember this… the Word of God did not stay on paper! The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us. This is not like reading any ordinary book. Prepare yourself by slowly reading the passage beforehand and then think of it like this… you are invited to enter into a mystery… to enter into what you are reading… to see it and experience it. Place yourself there and make it come alive. How would this person speaking actually have said this? See them saying it and then proclaim the Word. You should read the Word of God like this… by drawing others into the mystery… not just reading it like it was some event that happened long ago. Make it present. 
 
Ushers:
• It is your role to see Christ in everyone who walks through the door of the church… to, even more importantly, assist Jesus in the elderly and disabled… to be the smile and kindness of God… and for women ushers… to be the warmth and affection of the Blessed Virgin Mary for her children… be the smile of Jesus for everyone.
 
• Music Ministry:
• Your ministry is this… think of yourself coming before the Glory of God in Heaven and all the angels are there before Him in all of His Glory… as you enter, you will hear the glory and praise and the psalms being sweetly sung… as you get even closer you will hear the angels begin the Gloria! And then, as you get even closer, there will be a softness and gentleness that leads further still into complete silence. We must remember that there are nine choirs of angels and those closest to Him remain completely prostrate and in silence as they behold the mystery and can do nothing else. When you sing with the angels, remember this… not one of them wants to stand out or seek recognition or have the main stage… all of their focus is completely directed to the Lord and to His Presence… join with them and ask the angels to teach you how to draw the rest of the Church into this mystery that lies before you… in the same manner and degree that the angels do.
 
Altar Servers:
• I always tend to view each of you as “knights of the altar”. Knights realize that they are in the service of the King and because of this, they have to continually remember whose presence they come before and whom it is they are serving. For a knight, it isn’t just about their role of service… their entire life has to be a reflection of the King in dignity, in keeping a life that is honorable and just, a servant for others (not just at church… but also in your home with your family… your brothers and sisters… mom and dad, in your community, at your school, with your classmates and friends, when you are hanging out, etc.). You are always a servant of the King and are His faithful followers and would never do anything that would compromise the dignity of the One they serve. Also remember that everything you touch and use belongs to the King and be aware of the manner in which you serve Him.
• St. Padre Pio was alone in his prayer chapel when he noticed the spirit of a young boy dressed as an altar server came forward and started to clean around the altar very carefully and lovingly. He asked the little boy what he was doing… the spirit of the little boy responded: “I did not take care of the things of the Lord while I was alive, so He is letting me do this now.” 
 
Questions for Reflection/Examination of Conscience for Confession:
• Have I ever doubted Our Lord’s Presence, didn’t believe it, or just come and serve with a disrespect of His Presence? Have I ever treated the church like He is not here?
• Do I make time for silence and prayer in my daily life? Do I honestly try to listen to His Voice and seek to be directed by Him in my daily life?
• Is my daily life (when I am at work, with my family, my friends, at school, etc.) a reflection of my ministry at church? Do I witness Christ by the way I live my life and by the way I treat others?
• Do I honestly try to prepare myself for ministry so that I can minister well? Do I do ministry just out of habit and routine or do I try to be aware of not only what I am doing, but also Who I am doing it for?
• Are there times when I entered into ministry when I shouldn’t have because I was improperly dressed or was living in a state of serious sin, or have receive Our Lord in the Eucharist unworthily?
• Do I honestly try to live with Christ in how I treat others and serve Him in them?


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Masks...

Masks... we all tend to wear them from time to time. We have a mask that we carry when we are with our friends, another when we are with strangers, another when we are with our family, another when we are with co-workers, another when we are with our boss, and another when we come before God... and then, when we are alone and let our hair down (so to speak for both males and females) and relax when we are by ourselves... there is no mask and we can be somewhat terrified by being alone because then we see ourselves as we really are and we don't want to see it... so we keep ourselves distracted with this, and that, and oh... that.. and Facebook... and oh... look there.

Our Lord doesn't want you to be afraid when He says "Come to Me" or when He reaches out His hand to you... Do not be afraid to come to Him as you really are! Do not be afraid of what He might see (He sees it anyway even when you try to hide in a really, really dark corner and bury it all underneath a pile of stuff). He knows all of your secret hiding places and all of your secrets. He is just asking you to put down your hands and stop running. Let Him come to you as you really are so that He can heal you, forgive you, and restore you to your former beauty that He created you to be as His child. You may not see it in yourself due to all the scars, the wounds, the mud and dirt... but He sees you.

The more you can let Him touch those wounds (Remember not to be afraid here as He opens His Wounds first to you so that you won't be afraid to open yours to Him), heal those scrapes, transform those scars with His Light, and open your heart to His Light and Mercy... Wow! You have no idea how beautiful you really are and He will reveal this beauty to you once you surrender and take time to be alone with Him.

Eventually He will teach you that you do not need masks anymore to hide behind because you are LOVED, even if no one else has loved you, because HE LOVES YOU. You are WANTED, even if you have been rejected by others even your own family members, because HE WANTS YOU. You are BELOVED, even if you have never been cherished by anyone else, because HE CREATED YOU AS THE APPLE OF HIS EYE. He has much more to reveal to you and my time with you will come to an end. His is just beginning. Run to Him in prayer and come to Him as you really are! Let the transformation begin and you will no longer need a mask... for you are HIS CHILD and ARE BELOVED and CHOSEN BY HIM. There is no more reason to hide who you are before others.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Are we helping or hurting the sinner?

"Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." (John 8:7) When we point the finger at someone else and the sin they have committed, gossiping about them to others or wishing harm to come to them as a result, there is the finger of God pointed back at us, and with His finger comes the Law of God crashing down upon us revealing all the times we have transgressed against Him. It is best to put away your stone and to walk away…. And then run to the Sacrament of Confession in order to seek God’s Mercy.

So many are afraid to help others who are stuck in sin thinking that they are judging them in the process but this is not so. There is one thing to point a finger at someone because they are sinning and leave them there and do nothing to help them out, but there is another thing, to point out the sin they are stuck in because you care and are genuinely concerned for them and therefore want to give them a hand to help them out of it. Therein lies the difference between the two. This first is an act of pride, selfishness, and a hardness of heart... while the other truly is an act of mercy. It is very unkind to see someone in a deep ditch, hurting and wounded, and to just walk by without saying a word or giving them a hand because you don't want to offend them. You have offended them all the more by your silence and lack of care by leaving them in the ditch to suffer and die.

How does one open their heart to God?

How does one open their heart to God? It means opening up the door of your heart to your Faith... to come to the reality... to open the door through an act of the will. Like this... Go to the church... but before you even open the doors... make an act of Faith by opening the door to your heart to Him whose presence you are coming before...

"Lord, I am about to, like Moses, come before you. You are here and I am aware of your presence. Open my heart to realize you are here so that I don't just "go to Mass" but that I can open my heart to seek you and find you here and therefore I come to Mass to seek you, to receive you, to let you into my heart and find a new home within me. Just as you dwell in the tabernacle, make my heart your new home." 

This is just an act, through prayer, of opening your heart to Him and the more you do this, the more you will be aware of His Presence and the more His Light will shine in and through you. Eventually you will want to pray that your heart is continually open to His Presence wherever you go and whatever you do, but you need to start by making small steps to walk with Him little by little. Eventually you will be aware, by continuing this practice of making acts of Faith, that He is always there with you. This is how you open your heart more and more to Him. What you will eventually realize that He has always been there the whole time, but by opening your heart, you start to recognize it and live it. 

I used to do this also before I would go into prayer... before I even started to pray, I would simply make an act of Faith and open my heart to realize whose presence I am coming before when I enter into prayer. This is entering the heart... enter the door of your inner room where your Father sees you in secret... close the door and there pray to Him. Once I am aware that He is present, then I start to pray... or rather listen and speak with Him who is present before me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Can I go directly to God for my problems? Yes, but there is a better way....

You can go directly to Disney's Magic Kingdom on your own...  you can get in and enjoy all the rides and wonders and meet a lot of the characters there, but what if you knew of someone who had a very close relationship with the one who started it all?  What would it be like if they not only introduced you directly with Walt Disney but also gave you a VIP tour with him and you could go anywhere you wanted and they gave you all the "ins and outs" behind the scenes along with sharing with you all the secrets within the Magic Kingdom?  Even though I could go and stay there on my own, I really would want to get a closer look... a deeper visit... and know how to have a more intimate relationship with the man behind it all.  The Blessed Virgin Mary does this with everyone who wants to draw closer to her Son and to His Kingdom.  There is no one closer to His Heart than His own mother who nursed Him, bathed Him, clothed Him, fed Him and grew up with Him as only a Mother can do, and She has no greater love than for her Son and for His Kingdom.  She desires that we don't come and miss anything. 

I think back of when I was a child and had a close friend.  If I really wanted to know my friend better, I would take the time to sit down with his mother and the rest of his family.  I would get much better stories about his life and get to know all the details about him that I would never had known by just speaking with him alone.  Can I approach my friend and have a close intimate relationship with him without anyone else? Absolutely.... but there is so much more when I also tap into what is closest to my friend's heart and that is through those who are closest to him.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Why go to church when we can just pray to God at home?

But I love God and desire to get to Heaven...

I know all about not wanting to go to Mass and how it can feel like an undue burden.  I lived that way for a long time before my conversion after a serious car accident which helped me to bring my life back into the direction it was supposed to be headed in the first place which is towards Heaven and making the concrete steps to get there.  Before this conversion, I would say that I truly loved God and wanted to go to Heaven... "but"... and herein lies the deception that many of us may have unknowingly bitten in to far too many times. That "but" is what we need to take a hard serious look at and understand why those excuses are what is truly keeping us from getting to Heaven and from loving God even though we say we do.  "But" means that we are making an excuse and placing what we want before what God wants.  There than be some serious legitimate reasons for not making it to church or to Mass but these are SERIOUS exceptions and not the norm for why many of us make the choice to to church either sporadically or not at all.  Furthermore, if, for a serious reason, we cannot make it to church, there are still some other ways we can worship God and make our Sunday obligation to Him because we still do love Him and desire to get to Heaven.  Before I address those who are elderly, sick, and legitimately cannot make it Mass and what they can do to still worship Him, I want to look at the reasons why we do need to make every effort to go to Mass and church on Sundays and remove every excuse we can in our lives from not getting there.

You have received a personal invitation from God...

[1] And Jesus answering, spoke again in parables to them, saying: [2] The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. [3] And he sent his servants, to call them that were invited to the marriage; and they would not come. [4] Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my calves and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come ye to the marriage. [5] But they neglected, and went their own ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise.
[6] And the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contemptuously, put them to death. [7] But when the king had heard of it, he was angry, and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers, and burnt their city. [8] Then he saith to his servants: The marriage indeed is ready; but they that were invited were not worthy. [9] Go ye therefore into the highways; and as many as you shall find, call to the marriage. (Matthew Ch.22)

This invitation is not only to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb which is in Heaven but also to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb that we enter into and participate in at the Mass which unites us to Heaven.  For some, this still may not be enough so let us look further into the serious reasons why we really do need to go to Mass and therefore to church every Sunday and on Holy Days of obligation.

1)     God asks it of us.  In fact, it is a COMMANDMENT and not just a nice suggestion.  From the very beginning of the Church until now, Christians have understood that "Keep Holy the Sabbath" is a serious obligation to not only go to Church each and every Sunday but also to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
#2180  The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass." "The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on teh holy day or on the evening of the preceding day."

#2181  The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.  Those who deliberately fail in the obligation commit a grave sin. 

2)  We need it!  Those who do not go to Mass need to seriously ask themselves this question: "Can I really live with less of God in my life?"  Rather than having less of Him, we absolutely need MORE of God in our life if we truly love Him and desire to make it to Heaven.  In fact, we are spiritually dead without the Eucharist which is the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ... it is truly Him who is present.  Jesus tells us quite clearly how much we need to go to Mass and to go to Church for this very reason:  "Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you."

If we think we can have a life with God merely by entering into the gift of praying, we also need to take a hard look at one of the most important parables that Jesus gives us about the Kingdom of God.  In the parable of the 10 talents we read the following:

[14] For even as a man going into a far country, called his servants, and delivered to them his goods; [15] And to one he gave five talents, and to another two, and to another one, to every one according to his proper ability: and immediately he took his journey.
[16] And he that had received the five talents, went his way, and traded with the same, and gained other five. [17] And in like manner he that had received the two, gained other two. [18] But he that had received the one, going his way digged into the earth, and hid his lord' s money. [19] But after a long time the lord of those servants came, and reckoned with them. [20] And he that had received the five talents coming, brought other five talents, saying: Lord, thou didst deliver to me five talents, behold I have gained other five over and above.
[21] His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. [22] And he also that had received the two talents came and said: Lord, thou deliveredst two talents to me: behold I have gained other two. [23] His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant: because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. [24] But he that had received the one talent, came and said: Lord, I know that thou art a hard man; thou reapest where thou hast not sown, and gatherest where thou hast not strewed. [25] And being afraid I went and hid thy talent in the earth: behold here thou hast that which is thine.
[26] And his lord answering, said to him: Wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sow not, and gather where I have not strewed: [27] Thou oughtest therefore to have committed my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received my own with usury. [28] Take ye away therefore the talent from him, and give it to him that hath ten talents. [29] For to every one that hath shall be given, and he shall abound: but from him that hath not, that also which he seemeth to have shall be taken away. [30] And the unprofitable servant cast ye out into the exterior darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew Ch.25)

Prayer is only one of the gifts God has given us.  We need to receive all of them if we love Him and not limit ourselves just to prayer as a minimalist approach to loving God which only reveals having a shallow relationship with Him.  He wants us to go deeper and to receive all the gifts He has in store for us.  Prayer is good and you should be commended for having a life of prayer, yet God has given us the Sacraments of His Church so that we can be spiritually sustained by sacramental grace which we can ONLY receive by receiving and living a sacramental life.  In and through the Eucharist (when received worthily and NOT in the state of serious sin for which we need to have recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation), we are transformed into Christ Himself.  He unites us to Himself and we unite Him to our hearts, minds, and souls which are then transformed by Him.  We grow in strength by His grace which strengthens us to grow in virtue and greatly aids us in resisting sin in our daily life.  I mean, who wants to go into battle with forces of darkness naked?  We need the armor of Christ just to survive daily.

The Eucharist is truly food for our soul... it is our "daily bread" that we ask for and seek when we pray the "Our Father".  We cannot live without physical food.  Try doing without food for a day and see what will happen... then try it for seven days.  The Eucharist is spiritual food for our soul and we need it a lot more than physical food.  Jesus gave it us as such. In fact, Last Rites is receiving Viaticum which is the Eucharist and is called "food for the journey".  It spiritually feeds us for our daily life and prepares us for a blessed death for our journey home to Our Father's House.

3)  Going to Church is a sign that we truly love God and are indeed united to Him through His Church.  It truly is a sign that we are a Christian and united to His Church.  Not going to Church and refusing to receive the Eucharist or putting obstacles up only reveals that we that we are not united to Him nor to His Church.

#2182  Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and His Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity.  Together they testify to God's holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

At the same time, the very act of turning away from the Church and from Mass is an act of rejecting Him. 

4)  We go because we are a follower of Jesus... we are His disciples.  Jesus left us an example for us to follow Him and thus make it to Heaven.  Even Jesus, as He was growing up and when He was an adult made it His customary practice not only to pray to His Heavenly Father in solitude but also in communion with His disciples AND was accustomed to going to the Temple in order to worship His Heavenly Father.  As a child, Jesus left the Blessed Virgin Mary and Joseph and was found in the Temple and His reply to them was this, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's Work?"  It is a work of God to go to Church and to worship Him there.  He also commanded us to go if we desire to follow Him.  At the very first Mass, the Last Supper, Jesus turned to His disciples and said, "DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME."  We cannot "do this" without the Church which was given this great Sacrament nor can we be a follower of Jesus without following the very example He gave us nor by dismissing what He asks of us as a condition of following Him.

"And why call you me, Lord, Lord; and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46)

"Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."  (Matthew 16:24)

5)  We owe it to Him.  After my conversion, I took a serious look at all that God has already done out of love for me and all that He has given me.  He has given us the gift of our very life, the gift of our family and friends, the gift of creation and this awesome universe, the gift of pets and animals to play with and to be our nourishment, the plants to cover us and feed us and heal us... the water, the mountains, the clouds and stars... and on and on and on... and this is just the physical gifts. Then we can move on the spiritual gifts we have received from Him... His only Son was crucified, died and was buried and rose in order to open door to Heaven for us and to remove the debt that we owed God for our sins. He gave us the gifts of Baptism, the Eucharist, the forgiveness of Sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the gift of the Priesthood, the gift of the union of spouses in Marriage, healing through the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick and the very gift of the Church herself... then the saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary to be our own Mother whom Jesus gave to us from the Cross... the angels to guard and lead us... and on and on and on.... Now, how much do you honestly give back to Him?  We owe Him a lot just as a debt of love.  Indeed it would be enough just to be a slave and to serve Him every second of our life and that would not be enough to pay back what we owe Him. But what does He ask of us in return for all that we receive?  Very little in comparison.  He asks us to keep Holy the sabbath... which is now transformed into Sunday and the Lord's Day in honor of the Resurrection and that is only one day out of seven that He asks to be kept set aside in His honor.    We owe Him worship and offering up our sacrifices and prayers happens to be united to the Sacrifice of His Only Son at each and every Mass. You can't do that by your prayers alone.  Furthermore, He is truly and physically present at the Mass and in the Holy Eucharist.  He remains there for you and for me.  It doesn't take much for us to take a few small steps to be there in His Presence.  Why would we really want to skip Him any chance of being with Him anyway?

In fact the very meaning of the word "Eucharist" in Greek means "thanksgiving".  Jesus gave broke the bread and gave thanks to His Heavenly Father when He gave us this gift of His Body and Blood.  In offering up His Body and Blood back to the Father we, in turn, are thanking God the best way possible by offering up His Only Son and thanking Him for this very gift at the same time.  If you are truly thankful... there is no better way then to go to Mass and receive the Eucharist.  This is the core of Thanksgiving to God!


What I leave you with is just a beginning and taste of what God has prepared for you.  There is so much more I could share but He desires that you find out for yourself.  Please, if you have been away from the Church and have not been to Mass in a while, run to Sacrament of Reconciliation and come back home! You won't believe the joy that will fill your heart for it is His Joy and Peace that you receive in the Eucharist.

Now, what about those who honestly cannot make it Mass?  I am not talking about those who go on vacation, to on a hunting or fishing trip, a family reunion, etc.  These are never a legitimate excuse for missing out on a life with God.  If He is important enough in your life, you can plan all these things around Him.  He made them all possible in the first place and you would be thanking Him for these very gifts in your life by going to Mass anyway.   I am speaking to those who truly are sick, elderly, have small children, etc.  Now if you have the strength and ability and can make it to the grocery store or casino or make a trip in your car for other things then you have no excuse for missing Mass.  But if you can't make it, God understands your frustration and desire to be with Him.  In fact, He says so at the Last Supper with His very words to His disciples when He gave them His Body and Blood... "And He said to them: With desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you, before I suffer."  How do you know you have a legitimate excuse for not going to Mass?  Well, first of all, if you can't physically get there because of age or illness, you can use this to unite yourself with Him at the Mass even if you can't be there physically.  Unite your sufferings, pains, and aches with His suffering and ask Him to unite with Him at each and every Mass even if you can't be there.  You can also call your local parish church and ask for an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion to come to your home so that you can receive Holy Communion on the Lord's Day.  In fact, they have a responsibility to do so.  If they cannot come, ask one of your own family members to be trained as one so that can bring Our Lord to you.  If this isn't possible, ask Our Lord for what is called spiritual Holy Communion.  In this, you are asking Our Lord for the grace which you would have received if you could receive the Eucharist but are not able to do so.  Also, try to spend an hour with Lord in prayer.  I try to have a spiritual Holy Hour of Adoration by placing myself before His Presence spiritually when I cannot make it adoration... like when I am traveling during a trip.  It is just seeking to be alone with Him.  If you can find a Mass on the television or the radio (EWTN offers both television, internet and radio broadcasts of the Mass daily) that would be even better so that you can at least share in the Liturgy of the Church.  Caretakers and those with small children/infants/sick children also may not physically be able to make it to Mass have a legitimate reason for missing as well.  But you can still seek the Lord in your home.  Perhaps you can have someone make it one Mass time and then come back and relieve you so that you can make it for another Mass time with Our Lord.... just realize that are other options and ways you can still honor the Lord on His day.