Sunday, December 24, 2017

4th Sunday of Advent

Luke 1:26-38

Friends, our Gospel today introduces the most elevated creature: 
Mary, the Mother of God. The Church Fathers often made a 
connection between Eve, the mother of all the living, and Mary, 
the Mother of God and Mother of the Church. In fact, they saw her 
as "the new Eve," the one who undid the damage done by Eve.
The angel’s greeting to Mary is important here: "Hail Mary, full of 

grace." Mary is greeted as someone who is able to accept gifts. Eve 
and Adam grasped; Mary is ready to receive. And Mary’s reply is 
also significant: "How is this possible, for I do not know man?" 
There is nothing cowed about Mary.
The angel explains to Mary: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you 

and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…" At the heart 
of the spiritual life is the conviction that your life is not about you. 
The real spiritual life is about allowing oneself to be overwhelmed 
by the one who loves us. Mary is someone who is ready for the impossible, and this makes her the paradigm of discipleship. "Let it 
be done to me according to thy word." That’s an acquiescence to adventure.
Bishop Robert Barron

4th week of Advent - Peace

Friday, December 22, 2017


It's easy to think of ourselves as better than others.  We are too often critical of others without looking at our own faults and shortcomings.  Today our priest reminded us at our 6:30 am Mass to not think of ourselves as better Catholics because we go to 6:30 Mass, but to think about the fact that maybe we go to 6:30 Mass because we need it more than others may need it.  What a humbling thought.  We are not better than anyone else, but we need God more than others.  It's a good perspective to have indeed.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Are you Joyful?

Advent is a time of waiting. We find ourselves waiting for mail deliveries, for cooking and baking to come off the stove or out of the oven, for Christmas trees and guests to arrive. In his writings, St. Francis consistently counseled both patience and joy. He said, wisely: “We can never tell how patient or humble a person is when everything is going well with him. But when those who should cooperate with him do the exact opposite, then we can tell. A man has as much patience and humility as he has then, and no more. Let the brothers beware lest they show themselves outwardly gloomy and sad hypocrites; but let them show themselves joyful in the Lord, cheerful and suitably gracious.”

- Excerpt from Advent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections

3rd week of Advent - Joy

Sunday, December 10, 2017


If ever there was a time for mysticism, Advent is it. This is a time of waiting for something that many people believe to be nonsense. A time of waiting for ancient prophecies to be fulfilled and for humanity to be saved.

Frederick Buechner has written in numerous works about mysticism within Christianity, affirming that “we are all more mystics than we think.” He writes,

In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You are aware of the beating of your heart. The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment
(Buechner, Frederick, Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith. Harper Collins, 2004).

That moment, that breathless, heart-stopping moment, is the world of the mystics. While some mystics claim they never again felt distant from God after realizing mystical union, others acknowledge that they have found themselves passing through periods of greater or lesser awareness of that union, and sometimes painfully so. One of the most frustrating things about this pattern is that there is nothing that can be done about it. No amount of prayer or other spiritual disciplines provides a magical formula that restores the greatest awareness of God’s presence.

So how can we be mindful in the midst of Advent’s many activities? How can we practice a daily awareness of God’s presence and love in our lives?

Advent gives us the answer. Advent holds the key. We do it by waiting. We do it by simply keeping watch. We make ourselves ready with the prayer of stillness and silence. We tend our house by loving God, our neighbors, and ourselves, remembering that God is love. We try not to deny our feelings when God seems distant, and we avoid masking them with the vanity and arrogance of false spiritual powers. We may suffer, but we do so with faith, hope, and generosity of spirit.

And those are the lessons, and the gifts, of Advent.

Jeannette de Beauvoir

2nd week of Advent - Love

Sunday, December 3, 2017

1st Sunday of Advent

Mark 13:33-37

Friends, today’s Gospel urges us to stay alert as we await the coming of the Lord. Advent is the season of waiting. We place ourselves in the position of those who, over the centuries, waited for the coming of the Messiah. With them, we cry out, "How long, O Lord?"

Though Jesus fulfilled the expectations of his people, nevertheless we still wait. The liturgy states it very clearly: "as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ." In one of the Eucharistic prayers, we find, "as we await his coming in glory…" The Creed says, "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead." And the very last words of the New Testament are "Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus."

What do we make of all of this? Do we really think that he is going to come again and walk on the earth? We stay awake in our waiting if we pray on a regular basis; if we educate ourselves in the faith; if we participate in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist; if we perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; if we become people of love.
Bishop Robert Barron

1st week of Advent - Hope

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thanksgiving history

In 1789, George Washington declared a day of thanksgiving to acknowledge “the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.” Washington set the day aside for Americans to give thanks for their newly established government, but most of all, to render unto God “sincere and humble thanks — for his kind care and protection.” In his thanksgiving declaration, Washington rightfully acknowledged God as “the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”

Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th president, said similar things in proclaiming Thanksgiving Day a national holiday. It came at a time when brother fought brother in the Civil War. In many ways, Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation reads like a prayer.  Recounting the benefits of a major victory the Union received, Lincoln recognized God alone as the object of a nation’s gratitude. He wrote the victories “were the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.” And so Lincoln decided to invite all Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of each November — a day set aside to offer “Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”

It is popular opinion to regard the celebration of Thanksgiving as tracing its roots back to the pioneering Puritan pilgrims of Plymouth Rock who gathered to give thanks for a good harvest in their new North American home. The celebration has religious connotations because these pilgrims sought political asylum to practice their freedom of religion. This “first” Thanksgiving floats about in the minds of many Americans each year as they gather around the table for their turkey.

But that was 1621. Since history is told by the winners, the English myth prevailed despite a detailed account of a thanksgiving feast celebrated over half a century earlier. The Thanksgiving of 1565 was celebrated in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. Of course, the Spanish colonizers who hosted it were Catholic, and they gave thanks to God, as Catholics do, for their safe passage and arrival in the New World. Not only did they celebrate with a meal of gratitude that day, but they also celebrated what is regarded as the first Mass in America.

Michael R. Heinlein

Friday, November 17, 2017

What is humility?

True humility consists not in wallowing in unworthiness, but in recognizing our gifts and talents, whatever they are, and trying to use them to the best of our abilities. St. Ignatius Loyola reminds us that everything - all of life - is gift. God made us exactly as we are, and "God don't make no junk!" as my high school youth minister liked to joke. God created each of us in his "image and likeness," and that means each of us possesses infinite worth. It also means we each have been endowed with unique, God-given gifts to share with the world - gifts that God really NEEDS us to share with the world. In other words, our talents aren't ours. We didn't create them so we can't cling on to them as if they're our possession.
True humility, then, means "shooting for the moon," using the gifts we've been given as best we can, remembering that they come God and are meant to be given back to him in loving service.
-Fr. Jeremy Zipple, S.J.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day

Honoring Our Bravest

On this Veterans Day, we remember those who serve and have served faithfully in all branches of the service. May God bless them all, all year long.

A Prayer for Deployed Soldiers

Heavenly Father,
inspire those who are overseas for the cause of peace.Send your Son, Jesus Christ, as the Prince of Peace.
Bless the men and women of our military
who respond to the needs of peacekeeping.
Keep them safe from harm.
Let them be models of discipline and courage,
and bring them home safely to their loved ones.
We ask this in your name.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Sutherland, TX: Let love go before us...

Sunday. Again. Another story of a mass murder.

Just last week I prayed with the Manhattan truck attack. The people who died. The people left behind. Everyone who was hurt. Everyone. All of us. In one great lament. Inside my heart I asked God Why?  And I seemed to hear God’s own immense wail of sorrow. Lamentation. Pain at seeing death snatching his children again. God’s tears gave me permission to shed my own. To unite my lamentation to his. To blend my agony with the divine agonizing cry of love that rises from the heart of Jesus. To melt my Why? into mystery. They are the fierce tears stronger than those of a mother who would throw herself in the way of danger to save her child. As Jesus has done for us.  Last night I listened to the statement of the Pastor's wife at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. I was both moved and humbled. It is clear that in the midst of this evil, they as a communityas a common Bodyare acting out of the premise that even with a church building beyond repair and many of their congregation now gone, they are still a community. All still one. Re-gathering, consoling and in reality re-membering one another. Evil carried but not absorbed.Let love go before us, then, to tend to the broken hearts. Let wisdom light the way, calling down the Holy Spirit on all of us that we might see the plan, God’s plan, and find our way together once more.
Sr Kathryn J. Hermes

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Law of Love

"Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"  (Mt 22: 37-39)
Once again the Pharisees try to trap Jesus with a trick question. They were legalists, desperately trying to achieve salvation by strictly following the 613 laws of the code of Moses and arguing about which law had priority. Jesus sums it all up in his two commands of love for God and neighbor.  In the Spiritual Exercises St. Ignatius tells us that love shows itself in deeds, in spending time and attention with the loved one and sharing ourselves and our goods with them. We call that prayer. That's what Jesus always did with our Father and taught us to do.
When it comes to love of others, I prefer the definition of love as always wanting the best for the other person and putting that desire into actions, showing it in deeds. We may not agree on what is the best and the best may not include me but I try to show love by treating the other with care, compassion, generosity and understanding. That's how we all want to be treated. Love often takes sacrifice as every spouse and parent knows, putting the other first, meeting their needs rather than our own. Let us ask the Lord to help us choose the most loving response in all of our relationships.
-Ralph Huse, S.J.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

100 years ago

Did you know?

In 1917, scientists were already working on the creation of television sets. Seven new publishing companies were launched in that one year. The Great War was the first to be fought in front of motion picture cameras, and the United States Motion Picture Corporation produced over 20 films in 1917 alone.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Second Chances

We've all had the experience of turning down someone's request of us and then having second thoughts. Maybe it was the look of disappointment on their face or our habit of trying to please others or guilt. Maybe it was the Holy Spirit giving us another second chance to get it right, letting us know that we actually can be that generous with our time and talents. Our loving God is always at work in and through us, nudging us to be more loving, more forgiving, more generous than we can be by ourselves. God always gives us another chance, a second or third or fourth, however many we need.
Ralph Huse, S.J.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The morning after

This morning I’m thinking about those people who lost everything in Texas, Florida, California, Oregon or Mexico, but the news cameras have moved on to some new disaster somewhere else in the world. For many of us who watched, it’s already forgotten. A couple days ago, we were riveted to our TVs. We could hardly carry on normal life because the round-the-clock coverage kept pulling at our emotions. We felt with the people; we heard their stories; we wondered what would happen to them. Everywhere we turned there were interviews, maps of the approaching hurricane, charts about earlier storms in history, and predictions about how bad this one was going be. And when the storm finally hit, there were news reporters only a few streets apart telling us what the storm looked like from their vantage point.
Public interest fades; the news machine moves on; yet for the people most affected by the disaster they wake up today to the same loss they experienced yesterday, and there’s no one there to report what Day Two feels like. Today may be harder to deal with than the storm, but who would know that? Everyone’s gone home except the people who don’t have a home to go to anymore. It may take months — in some cases years — to return to “normal” (whatever that is).
We need be sensitive enough to realize that for some people, this is going to be a long ordeal. It’s a little like experiencing the death of a loved one after the funeral is over and everyone’s gone home. Sometimes those are the hardest days of all.
This is a good time to practice standing in someone else’s shoes. Imagine what it’s like to wake up to whatever is on your back. And that’s it.
John Fischer

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Here in the midwest we don't have to worry about hurricanes.  Our main source of natural disasters come from tornadoes.  They are both destructive and pack winds of more than 100 miles per hour.  The difference is that tornadoes come suddenly and without much warning, whereas hurricanes you know are coming towards you for days in advance.  There is really no time to prepare for a tornado other than going to a safe room in your house until the threat passes you by.  They are both potentially devastating to the areas that they hit and the clean up and recovery could take months or years depending on the strength and power that the storm brought on.  Our prayers are with the people in the path of Hurricane Irma right now as she descends on Florida.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Back to School

Our children have once again made the transition from the carefree days of summer, to the regimented routine of a new school year.  In our household, we have 5 children going to 4 different schools!  Two high schoolers, a middle schooler, and two in elementary school.  That means different wake up schedules. different bus schedules, etc.  As a parent, there are a lot of things to do in the morning and afternoon to make sure that no one misses the bus or forgets their lunch or backpack.  But in our minds, it's good for them to have a routine and a purpose once again.  While summertime can be fun and exciting, after a while, sleeping in loses it's charm.  Boredom sets in and we feel like we have to entertain our kids.  It's too easy for them to gravitate to their iPhones and gaming devices.  So now they will have homework and reading to do instead.  Goodbye summer!  Thanks for the break and relaxation.  It's now time to forge ahead with the new challenges and expectations of a new year in education.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Summertime Blues

Now that we have turned the calendar into August, it's once again time to start thinking about the kids going back to school.  As a matter of perception, the summer break has gone by too fast for the children and has lasted too long for the parents.  Most items on our summer To Do list has been checked off by now.  Our one regret is that our family finances would not allow for a vacation trip to the beach or Disneyworld as the children would love visit.  Of course, when asked if they would be able to endure a 2 day drive to get there, they are not as enthused.  Flying would be preferred of course, but that would be an even bigger expense.  The reality of a family of seven is that taking trips is a very expensive proposition.  When our family income increases, we can hopefully check one of these bucket list items off the list as well.  Until then, staycations, day trips, and an occasional visit to grandma's house might be the norm.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


Grace is one-way love, favor and forgiveness showered upon us individually, in abundance, for no apparent reason other than God desires to do so. It is completely sourced in God and not brought on by anything in us. We contribute nothing. This makes it difficult for us to understand and accept because it is so foreign to our character and experience. 

John Fischer

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Prayer for Justice

by Raymond A. Foss

We lift up a humble prayer
for peace, for wisdom
for justice in our land
for a mother fighting for her son
a son born of this soil of this land
a son with a disability, a handicap
a mother fighting for him
A mother fighting for others too
for herself, for those like her
those like us
A minister, a congregation
a church, a family
fighting for justice
sanctuary, refuge
knowing the way of Christ
the calling to the least, the last,
the lost, like them
A country large enough,
generous enough, to be gentle
to be kind, to be just
May that spirit of Jesus Christ
dwell in the hearts of our leaders
see through the letter,
the language of flawed law
rise above the law
to its spirit, our creed
our belief in justice
and do the right,
the inexpedient,
the just


Sunday, July 16, 2017


How important is it for you to go to church each week?  I realize that many people attend church on Saturdays, but I think the majority still attend on Sundays.  No matter what day you attend, is it a priority for you and your family?  I was taught that there is no option not to go to church each Sunday.  The only way that you didn't go to church was if you were sick.  My wife and I have instilled the same principle to our children.  It becomes second nature.  Of course there are activities and events that come up that interfere with your normal church attendance, but you make adjustments and find another service or mass time to attend.  My oldest son has a job working at a country club and he usually works on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 7:30 am until 2:30 pm.  Does he missed church?  No, he goes to the 5 pm mass on Saturday afternoon.  Show God who is really first in your life.  Go to church and worship Him.  You will be blessed.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Favorite Day

What's your favorite day of the week?  It seems like people talk about Fridays, because they get paid and it's the end of the work week for most.  Saturday would be a contender because it's a day off for most people and a day to do something fun or recreational.  Wednesdays could be popular for those who like the term, Hump Day and maybe take in a Happy Hour after work.  Thursdays would be popular for those who work 4 day weeks.  I personally enjoy Sundays because it is still the weekend, but its also a day of Worship and I enjoy going to church with my family.  Would anyone say Monday is their favorite day of the week?  You might if you love your job and can't wait to clock in to a new work week!  That leaves Tuesdays.  This day is probably overlooked and would not be expected to score high with too many.  Of course, there are no wrong answers!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Format Change

Rather than having long periods of time where I do not post on my blog, I have decided to write shorter, brief posts on a more regular basis.  These may be random thoughts or comments similar to a tweet, but will be my own material, rather than posts which I found from other sources to share.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Hot Dogs

Recap from the 4th of July weekend:  I ate 4 hot dogs, or 68 less than Joey Chestnut!

Really puts things in perspective!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Morning has broken, like the first morning

Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird

Praise for the singing, praise for the morning

Praise for the springing fresh from the word

—Eleanor Farjean

Ever since I first read G. K. Chesterton’s work, Orthodoxy, I have been intrigued by the notion that God is still creating the world and everything in it. Chesterton proposed that just as a child delights in seeing a thing done again and again, so God delights in the “monotony” and repetition of creation every day. “It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them…The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE!” 
Is it possible, then, that every new emergence—every blade of grass, every butterfly, every billowing cloud—is a new and special creation invented out of God’s wisdom, excitement and artistry. He paints each pansy as it emerges in the spring, he colors every leaf in the fall. He ponders every act of creation, shouts “Encore!” and the whole business begins all over again, the business of creation that began “in the beginning,” and is still going on to this day.
David Roper

Sunday, July 2, 2017

An Ignatian 4th of July

On the Statue of Liberty we read
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"[1]
As we celebrate our nation's foundation, we might recall that first principle and foundation at the basis of our annual experiences of the Spiritual Exercises at White House.
Ignatius invites us, Christ challenges us, to acknowledge our true interdependence upon God and on each other,
to grow each year in the true freedom of service as persons for others, as a nation for others.
He invites us to pledge our allegiance to our crucified God, growing out of our preoccupations with riches, honor, pride,
to follow him in the humility, shame, humiliation
of his wondrous, compassionate love.
Our true liberty is freedom from inordinate attachments, freedom for unconditional love, especially of Gods' poor, huddled masses.
God's true fireworks are not just a one day spectacle in the sky and loud booms in our ears.
Rather, our mandate from the Spiritual Exercises is to go and set the world on fire, with Ignatius' "suscipe" prayer "take and receive" as our pledge of allegiance.
Edward B. "Ted" Arroyo, SJ

[1] Excerpt from The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Prayer for Deployed Soldiers

Heavenly Father,
inspire those who are overseas for the cause of peace.Send your Son, Jesus Christ, as the Prince of Peace.
Bless the men and women of our military
who respond to the needs of peacekeeping.
Keep them safe from harm.
Let them be models of discipline and courage,
and bring them home safely to their loved ones.
We ask this in your name.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day has gone from a single day holiday to really a weekend holiday.  Special events and activities are spread throughout the long weekend instead of being crammed into the day on Monday. This gives people more time to enjoy more than one event and perhaps have a more relaxing weekend, if that's possible.  There is still a strange juxtaposition of thanking all those servicemen and women who have died to keep this country free and using the holiday weekend to promote the sales of cars and mattresses and other items.  In the last few years I have noticed some retail outlets closing on Memorial Day to let there employees have a day off to be with their friends and family.  I think this is a good thing.  Major league baseball has special uniforms and hats that their players wear to honor those who died while serving in the five branches of military.  While Memorial Day weekend is for many the unofficial beginning of summer, it is important to remember those that did give their life so that we may have the freedom to do the things we do in this great country of ours!

For information on the history of Memorial Day, check out: US Memorial Day

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day

The fact that there is a Mother's Day holiday is a sad fact of reality for most men, including me.  We too often fail to recognize the women in our lives, especially those who happen to be mothers, that they are appreciated and loved, so we need a special day on the calendar to make sure we do this at least once a year.  Men tend to think that they are doing a good job at this when really they are not, or they think that they can do it later.  When you are married, you have two women to think about on Mother's Day.  There is of course, your own mother, who gave birth to you.  If she is alive, it is important to let her know that she is loved and remembered on this day.  After all, she brought you up the best way she knew how, and helped to make you into the person you have become today.  In most cases, she probably did a lot more than you realized to make your life happy.  There were lots of sacrifices that she made for you over the course of your childhood.  Then there is the mother of your children.  Obviously, you might have a better idea of the things that she does on a daily basis to take care of your children and manage the house, but there are still things that go unnoticed.  She too, probably makes many sacrifices throughout the year, to meet the needs of your family without regards to her own wants and desires.  There is really no way that we can sum all of this up in a card or with a bouquet of flowers and some candy.  Hopefully, a hug and a kiss will go a long way in letting these important women know that they are truly loved and cherished and we would be in big trouble if they were suddenly removed from our lives.  Let's try to recognize the mothers in our lives more than just once a year!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

What do you do after Lent?

It seems to me that Lent is often an exercise in futility for many people.  They want to participate in Lent in some meaningful way, so they decide to give up something like chocolate, soda or some other food or drink that makes them feel good.  If they make it through Lent without failing on their goal then it could be described as a victory.  In theory, they should have learned that by giving up on something that they loved, it was a sacrifice that drew them closer to God.  But how did that happen?  Did they take time to pray when they were craving chocolate or a soda?  Did they take time to read the Bible or to go to Adoration?  If they did not, then I might question whether or not it was a victory.  Many churches, priests and apologists are now challenging people not to give something up for Lent but instead to do something different.  Go to daily mass or Eucharistic adoration.  Pray the rosary or read the Bible each day.  Do something positive instead of something negative like giving something up that we like.  But either way, once Lent is over and the Easter decorations are put away, what are you doing differently with your life?  If you just go back to your old habits, then I don't think you have changed.  The exercise of Lent is to develop a positive attribute that you can carry forward.  We must try to become a better version of ourselves.  We must use Lent to draw ourselves closer to God and not just put him back in a box to collect dust until next year.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday

JOHN 20:1-9
Friends, our Easter Gospel contains St. John’s magnificent account
of the resurrection. It was, says John, early in the morning on the first
day of the week. It was still dark—just the way it was at the beginning
of time before God said, “Let there be light.” But a light was about to
shine, and a new creation was about to appear.

The stone had been rolled away. That stone, blocking entrance to the
tomb of Jesus, stands for the finality of death. When someone that we
love dies, it is as though a great stone is rolled across them, permanently
blocking our access to them. And this is why we weep at death—not
just in grief but in a kind of existential frustration.

But for Jesus, the stone had been rolled away. Undoubtedly, the first
disciples must have thought a grave robber had been at work. But the
wonderful Johannine irony is that the greatest of grave robbers had
indeed been at work. The prophet Ezekiel says this, “I will open your
graves and have you rise from them.”

What was dreamed about, what endured as a hope against hope, has
become a reality. God has opened the grave of his Son, and the bonds
of death have been shattered forever.

Bishop Robert Barron

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, a most solemn and sacred day for all Christians.  As I reflected on the day, I came across a wonderful blog post that really summed up how we should feel about a day like today.

Christianity Without the Crucifixion is not Christianity is the title of a blog post written by David Stavarz for the Word on Fire Blog.

David Stavarz is a seminarian at St. Mary Graduate Seminary in Cleveland, Ohio.

Please read and share this piece with others as the Holy Spirit leads and directs you.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The trouble with Eli

Eli is our firstborn son.  The trouble was, we weren't supposed to have a son.  Our doctor told us that we would be having a daughter.  We were going to name her Madeleine.  We painted the nursery pink and had lots of girl clothes ready for the big day.  The trouble was, we had a boy instead.  What a shock!  Luckily we had boy names picked out too, and we named him Eli.  Well from that moment on, our lives were changed.  Everything revolved around Eli.  As the firstborn, everything he did was a first.  We took lots of pictures and videos of special moments in his life as he grew up and got older.  He loved sports, especially baseball and basketball.  We got him involved on church teams.  He moved into select teams in different leagues and venues.  We logged many hours taking him to practice and watching games and tournaments.  The trouble was, we had to help out with concession stand duty and make adjustments to our work and social schedules when conflicts arose for game times.  Eli also got involved with Boy Scouts and church activities.  He was very popular and had lots of friends.  The trouble was, he got invited to lots of birthday parties.  You can't go to a birthday party without a gift.  But we became friends with the parents of his friends and got to know many new people that Eli brought into our life.  Besides sports and extracurricular activities, Eli was also smart in school.  He got good grades and test scores and moved into honor classes over time.  He was also funny and liked to have a good time.  He had parties at our house, went to sleepovers at his friends houses and was always on the go.  The trouble was, he needed a ride.  So the family taxi service became a reality as drop offs and pick ups became more common and frequent.  He continued to play basketball and there were still lots of games and tournaments to go to.  But we loved to watch him and his team play ball and win games.  Once Eli moved into high school, he found out that things were more competitive and he didn't get as much playing time.  The trouble was, he got cut from the JV basketball team his sophomore year, so his basketball career was over.  He tried tennis and seemed to do well with that, but it's not the same as team sports.  Eli was still popular and good looking.  He met a girl that he liked in Spanish class and they quickly hit it off.  Maddie was her name.  She was pretty and had a big smile.  They seemed to be made for each other.  Most kids in high school go through many different relationships, but not Eli and Maddie.  They have dated for over two years now and are both juniors.  Once Eli was old enough to drive, he wanted to get his license.  The trouble was, we had to teach him to drive and endure some scary moments of feeling uneasy with a new driver behind the wheel.  Once he got his license, he wanted to have access to the family car.  The trouble was, he wanted my Ford Mustang and my only other option was to help him buy a used car or come up with a different solution for myself.  I decided to sell my motorcycle and get a new, used car for myself.  That way, he could have the Mustang, which we knew the service and maintenance history was good.  Like all parents, we waited at home nervously while Eli went on dates with his girlfriend, Maddie.  Eli got a part time job to help pay for his new car expenses and insurance.  He was really acting mature for his age.  The trouble was, he was still only 16.  Eli got his first speeding ticket and was involved in a minor car accident.  Luckily, the accident was not his fault, but it was still nerve wracking when we got that text from him saying that he was in an accident.  The trouble was, some time prior to that incident, we got some other news from Eli that parents do not want to hear.  My wife noticed that he had not been eating and was acting strange.  He called her into his room the next day and with tears streaming down his face, he told his mother that he had gotten his girlfriend pregnant.  The trouble was, he was still only 16 and she was only 17.  Teenagers, who were now faced with decisions that they were not prepared to make.  We met with both of them and let them know that their lives were going to be changed forever.  Coming from Christian families with an upbringing in church and a strong faith background, they knew they had made a huge mistake, but they were ready and willing to take responsibility for their actions.  Abortion and giving up the baby for adoption were not an option.  They both wanted to have the baby and make the sacrifices they needed to make to take care of the baby when it arrived.  High school schedules had to be adjusted, college plans had to be reevaluated.  We met with Maddie's parents and were all in agreement that we would support our kids and the new baby the best we could.  We watched as Maddie went through her pregnancy and noticed that she and Eli were true to their word.  They both went to their doctor appointments together, made the necessary adjustments to their work and school schedules and were frankly acting very mature for two teenagers in their position.  The trouble was, they still had to deal with other kids at school who were not so nice about their situation.  So they found out who their true friends were and they prepared to have a baby.  Well the big day came.  The baby boy arrived, a few days early.  After a long day and night of testing and labor, a little baby boy was born at 4:25 in the afternoon.  They named him Luke Joseph, and he was as cute as could be.  Eli and Maddie were proud parents and they smiled broadly as they let their brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents hold the new baby for the first time.  He was going to have lots of aunts and uncles and support from his extended family.  For all the things that have happened in Eli's life, both good and bad, for all the adjustments and sacrifices we made to take care of him and do what we thought was best for him, we realized that he had turned out alright.  He was a good kid, who made a few mistakes along the way, but he was a good kid.  The real trouble with Eli is, we love him very much, and we would do anything for him because we are his parents and we love him unconditionally.  So even though this is not how we envisioned life for Eli to be, we will be there for him and Maddie and now his, son Luke.  We will continue to love them because that's what parents do!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Today's post is a guest post from Sister Marie Paul Curley:

“Return to me with your whole heart!” (Joel 2:12) “With your whole heart” means choosing to enter decisively into this season of Lent. I’ve heard Lent called “a retreat for the whole Church.” Some people might groan when they hear the word “retreat,” but for me, a retreat is like a spiritual birthday party in which:
1) we come to spend quality time with the Friend who loves us most,
2) we find that the Friend is hosting a surprise party for us, and
3) our Friend gives us a stack of wrapped gifts.

Turning to God or making time for God is the best way we can enter into Lent, and it’s also how we can become more receptive to God. God responds to our openness by giving us special gifts. We can unwrap the gifts, appreciate them, and put them to good use. Or we can be unappreciative guests: we can come late to our own party, leave the gifts unwrapped, or even unwrap the gifts but leave them unexamined in our closet.

Lent has arrived at just the right moment for me because, in a world that is more than ever haunted by division and suffering, I need the reminder that Saint Francis de Sales shares with us this week: God doesn’t abandon us. Instead, he sends his only Son to be with us, even in the most difficult of moments, bringing the gifts of grace, love, and peace. 

I pray that you may wholeheartedly receive God's gifts to you this Lent. 

God bless,
Sr. Marie Paul Curley, FSP

Sunday, February 19, 2017

It's February, how's your New Year's resolutions?

For most people, by the time the calendar flips to February, they have already failed on their New Year's resolutions and are no longer doing what they vowed to do on January 1st.  Usually it's because their New Year's resolutions were too hard or unattainable.  Saying you are going to lose 30 pounds or start running every day in the middle of winter is a tough goal that most people just cannot handle.  For others, perhaps it is because you never wrote your goals down or did not set up a method to monitor or keep track of your progress.  If you can't see gradual improvement or notable signs that you are on a path to achieve your goal, then it becomes defeating and will most likely get put aside.
But if you have made it this far in the year and you are still achieving, progressing, or maintaining your stated and written New Year's resolutions, then good for you!  At this point, if you were trying to break a bad habit, like quitting smoking or not drinking soda, then you have most likely made it past the point were you have now developed a new habit.  One that is healthy and good.  Now, if you are one of the many who have failed on your New Year's resolutions, then never fear, a new opportunity approaches.  As we approached the season of Lent, it is a great time to make a point to find a worthy goal that you can use as a method to become a better version of yourself.  Examine your life and your lifestyle and let this year be your best Lent ever!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Thoughts on February

February is an odd month.  It's spelled funny.  It's shorter than any other month, even when there is a leap year.  Speaking of which, it gets an extra day every four years.  Wouldn't you hate to have been born on February 29th?  Here in Missouri, February is still very much a winter month and it is one which usually brings the most snow.  But it's also a month that makes you think about the change of seasons from winter to spring.  February is when the Super Bowl is played.  The end of the football season.  February is also when pitchers and catchers report to spring training for baseball.  The beginning of the baseball season. Yes, February is an odd month.  What do you think?

Monday, January 16, 2017


Sleep tonight
And may your dreams
Be realized
If the thunder cloud
Passes rain
So let it rain
Rain down on him
So let it be
So let it be

Sleep tonight
And may your dreams
Be realized
If the thundercloud
Passes rain
So let it rain
Let it rain
Rain on him

Bono - U2
from The Unforgettable Fire album released in 1984

Monday, January 2, 2017

Consider others better than ourselves

Like many of you, I like to read other blogs and glean good information and ideas from others.  One person that I read and follow regularly is John Fischer, who has an online ministry called The Catch.  Here is a passage from a post he shared in November 2015 that stuck with me as a great idea for how we should think about other people we come in contact with each day:

"Here’s something that could make your day different. Make a conscious effort to consider everyone you meet today as someone who is better than you. Not necessarily better at doing things, because there will always be some things you are better at than someone else. We’re talking importance, value and worth. Consider other people as more important than you. What they say is more important than what you say; what they think is more important that what you think; what they did this weekend is more important than what you did this weekend; their dreams and goals are more important than your dreams and goals. You’re not waiting for a chance to talk; you are waiting for a chance to listen."  John Fischer

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Day

All is quiet on New Year's Day
A world in white gets underway
I want to be with you
Be with you, night and day
Nothing changes on New Year's Day
On New Year's Day

I will be with you again
I will be with you again

Under a blood red sky
A crowd has gathered in black and white
Arms entwined, the chosen few
The newspapers says, says 
Say it's true, it's true
And we can break through
Though torn in two 
We can be one

I, I will begin again
I, I will begin again

Songwriters: Adam Clayton, Dave Evans, Paul David Hewson, Larry Mullen, Moussa Clarke, and Nicholas Hanson

The song New Year's Day is performed by U2 and is on the album War which was released in 1983.

New Year's Day lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group