Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Thoughts on eternal life


The In-Dwelling of God Here and Now
Eternal life. Where is it? When is it? For a long time I have thought about eternal life as a life after all my birthdays have run out. For most of my years I have spoken about the eternal life as the “afterlife,” as “life after death.” But the older I become, the less interest my “afterlife” holds for me. Worrying not only about tomorrow, next year, and the next decade, but even about the next life, seems a false preoccupation. Wondering how things will be for me after I die seems, for the most part, a distraction. When my clear goal is the eternal life, that life must be reachable right now, where I am, because eternal life is life in and with God, and God is where I am here and now.

The great mystery of the spiritual life—the life in God—is that we don’t have to wait for it as something that will happen later. Jesus says: “Dwell in me as I dwell in you.” It is this divine in-dwelling that is eternal life. It is the active presence of God at the center of my living—the movement of God’s Spirit within us—that gives us the eternal life.

Henri Nouwen

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Thoughts on peace

 Peace is simplicity of heart, serenity of mind, tranquility of soul, the bond of love. Peace means order, harmony in our whole being; it means continual contentment springing from the knowledge of a good conscience; it is the holy joy of a heart in which God reigns. Peace is the way to perfection, indeed in peace is perfection to be found. The devil, who is well aware of all this, makes every effort to have us lose our peace.

—from the book The Joyful Spirit of Padre Pio: Stories, Letters, and Prayers

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Thoughts on Padre Pio

 The earthly existence of Padre Pio was abundantly full of mysterious phenomena and events. However, the most important of the various charisms in his life was the stigmata, the wounds on his feet, hands, and side that he bore on his body for fifty years and recalled the “signs” of the passion and death of Jesus. For believers, these wounds demonstrated, and continue to remind us, that Padre Pio was a special person chosen by God to call the world’s attention to the great mystery in history: the redemption by Jesus through the most terrible suffering, a death on a cross. Padre Pio is the only stigmatized priest in history and has come to be called an “Alter Christus,” another Christ. Pope Paul VI defined him as “a stamped representative of the stigmata of Our Lord.” The stigmata is the feature that identifies and characterizes the life, message, mission, and holiness of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.

—from the book Saint Padre Pio: Man of Hope by Renzo Allegri

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Thoughts on the church


The church has left the building

The church is not a place; it is a people.

The church is not only a steeple above the treeline, streets, and cars.
Rather, it is a people proclaiming to the world that
we are here for the work of healing and of justice.

The church is not walls built stone upon stone, held together by mortar
but rather person, linked with person, linked with person:
all ages and genders and abilities—
a community built on the foundation of reason, faith, and love.

The church is not just a set of doors open on Sunday morning,
but the commitment day after day, and moment after moment,
of our hearts creaking open the doors of welcome to the possibility of new experience and radical welcome.

The church is not simply a building, a steeple, a pew.

The church is the gathering together of all the people, and experiences,
and fear, and love, and hope in our resilient hearts;
gathering, however we can, to say to the world:
welcome, come in, lay down your heartache, and pick up hope and love.

For the church is us—each and every one of us—together,
a beacon of hope to this world that so sorely needs it.

~Margaret Weis

Friday, September 11, 2020

Thoughts on problems in life

 “These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all of our troubles seem like nothing.”

2 Corinthians 4:17 (CEV)

God uses everything—even the pandemic we’re in right now—to help our character grow. He uses problems to help us mature. James writes it like this: My brothers and sisters, be very happy when you are tested in different ways. You know that such testing of your faith produces endurance. Endure until your testing is over. Then you will be mature and complete, and you won’t need anything” (James 1:2-4 GW).

You may feel tired and depleted right now because of how COVID-19 is affecting your life and the lives of those you love. This is the time to look to God, to place your hope in him, and to trust he is still in control.

He is a God of hope, and his hope will not disappoint. Given time, you’ll see that God can use even this pandemic to make you stronger and to develop your spiritual muscle.

In Romans 8:28, the Bible teaches, “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (NLT).

God’s purpose for you on this earth is to prepare you for eternity. This life is preparation for the next. We’re in the warm-up act right now! You’re likely only here for less than a hundred years, but you’ll be in eternity for trillions upon trillions of years—and even then you’re just getting started!

Today’s problems get you ready for an eternity you can’t imagine right now.

That’s what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:17: “These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all of our troubles seem like nothing” (CEV).

Today’s problems may seem to be a heavy burden. But they’ll seem like nothing in heaven.

Hang on to that hope when you feel weary, overwhelmed, or just plain ready to give up. God is preparing you for eternity with him in heaven!

Rick Warren

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Thoughts on Fr Mychal Judge


God Sends Us Where We're Needed

Father Mychal Judge, OFM

“God is not an obligation or a burden. God is the joy of my life!” 

—Fr. Mychal Judge

On the bright fall morning of September 11, 2001, firefighters across New York were summoned to a scene of unimaginable horror: Two hijacked airliners had crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. As firefighters rushed into the burning buildings, they were accompanied by their chaplain, Fr. Mychal Judge. Hundreds of them would die that day, among the nearly three thousand fatalities in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Fr. Judge would be among them. There seemed to be special meaning in the fact that Fr. Mychal was listed as the first certified casualty of 9/11. A photograph of his fellow firemen carrying his body from the wreckage to a neighboring church became an icon of that day: an image of loving service and sacrifice, a hopeful answer to messages born of fear and fanaticism.

—from The Franciscan Saintby Robert Ellsberg

Monday, September 7, 2020

Thoughts on immortality


The Illusion of Immortality
Much violence in our society is based on the illusion of immortality, which is the illusion that life is a property to be defended and not a gift to be shared. When the elderly no longer can bring us in contact with our own aging, we quickly start playing dangerous power games to uphold the illusion of being ageless and immortal. Then, not only will the wisdom of the elderly remain hidden from us, but the elderly themselves will lose their own deepest understanding of life. For who can remain a teacher when there are no students willing to learn?

Henri Nouwen