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Reflection time - ARCHIVES

 

November 2016

A November FeelingAll Saints

November is the season to settle down before the fireplace and look back, to remember and to be grateful. Also, it can be seen as the in-between season, the lull period—post harvest and pre-Christmas. It is the month when the leaves have fallen, and the weather turns gray. November is a time for saints, for poor souls, for veterans and for giving thanks.

The lectionary readings have a "November" feeling to them, an "end time" peal, but filled with hope. This is a time to remember and look back on our life—What kind of memories are there from this past year? What direction is your life now heading? Ask yourself "Where am I now, and where should I be? The real question to be asked in November is not if there is life after death, but is there life before death.

As John H. Rhoads wrote:
"Do more than exist, live.
Do more than touch, feel.
Do more than look, observe.
Do more than read, absorb.
Do more than hear, listen.
Do more than think, ponder.
Do more than talk, say something."

It is written, "God is not a God of the dead but of the living." Are you among the living? Are you alive for God? Anonymous

Autumn
"I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its leaves are a little yellow, its tone mellower, its colors richer, and it is tinged a little with sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor of the power of summer, but the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and is content. -Lin Yutang

On Learning & Wisdom   
The Master was an advocate both of learning and of Wisdom.
 "Learning," he said when asked, "is gotten by reading books or listening to lectures."
"And Wisdom?"
 "By reading the book that is you."
He added as an afterthought: "Not an easy task at all, for every minute of the day brings a new edition of the book!"
Anthony de Mello, SJ

 

Spiritual Reading
"Spiritual reading is the discipline through which we enter the company of the saints in order to glean their wisdom and to receive their guidance toward spiritual maturity. Yet spiritual reading of scripture or other texts does not follow the ‘strip-mining method’ we so often apply to written material. The aim in spiritual reading is not to scour the pages for valuable nuggets of insight with which we can turn a spiritual profit. Rather, spiritual reading is a form of dwelling in the words, listening attentively for what God is saying to us in the unique circumstances of our life."
Anon

Father, We Thank You

"For this new morning with its light,
         Father, we thank you.

For rest and shelter of the night,
         Father, we thank you.

For health and food, for love and friends,

For everything your goodness sends,
         Father, in heaven, we thank you."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

People are Like…
"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within."
Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

 

 

AUTUMN

O Lord, it is time

The summer was so vast

Put your shadows on the sundials

And in the fields let the wind loose.

Order the last fruits to become ripe

Give them two more sunny days

Push them to fulfillment

And force the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

He who has no house now will not build one

He who is alone will be so for a long time to come

Will stay awake, read, write long letters

And restlessly walk in the park among the blown leaves.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
(Translated by Charlotte Schmid)

Instrument of Peace    
"The gospel is full of reassurances to us, some of them startling. You are salt of the world! You are light to all the world! These words were exciting to those who heard them. Things might be dark but they are to be the light of the world. They were given a new sense of their value as persons. Of these none was greater than Francis of Assisi. He might well have prayed:

To those who have lost their way, let me restore it to
     them.
To those who are aimless, let me bring purpose.
To those who do not know who they are, let me teach
     them that they are the children of God and can be used as His instruments in the never ending work
     of  healing and redemption.

There are therefore two things for us to do. The first is never to doubt that God can use us if we are willing to be used, no matter what our weaknesses. The second is to see that God can use any other person who is willing to be used, whatever his weaknesses, and if need be, to assure him of this truth." Alan Paton

Thanksgiving Prayers

"For the haunting rhythm of our universe,
         we thank you, Creator and Lord.
For the still-reaching reachers of our world,
         we thank you, Creator and Lord.
For giving us a history and a destiny,
         we thank you, Redeemer and Lord.
For becoming yourself, a man among men,
         we thank you, Redeemer and Lord.
For drawing us into the mystery of life and love,
         we thank you, Spirit and Lord.
For touching us with stars and blades of grass,
         we thank you, Spirit and Lord."
Prayer of Christians

TODAY IS THE GREATEST DAY
Life Is Now: Creating Moments of Joy, Courage, Kindness, and Serenity, p. 33 “Today is the greatest day of your life, because today is the only day that exists. All your earlier days are part of your mind’s memory bank. All the future days haven’t occurred yet. So today just has to be the greatest day of your life. The way you experience the day will be different if you decide to view it as the greatest day of your life, right now. Today is the only day that you get to choose what you will think, say, and do today. So think about it: What are some of the greatest thoughts that you could think on this great day in your life?”
Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

BECOMING A DISCIPLE
“Becoming a disciple doesn’t usually involve leaving one’s occupation; for most of us, the call is to make a difference within the familiar circles of family, friends, work and faith community. However secular our lives may seem, there are always opportunities to reach out to others in love, for the sake of Christ. Without even mentioning God or religion, we can evangelize others by the way we treat them – through warm hospitality, attentive listening, simple acts of kindness. Fascinated, those we encounter may begin to question the source of our love; they, too, may start treating others with greater consideration. In turn, these people may also become more loving. And so the catch grows large and the nets expand…”
Elizabeth-Anne Stewart

ALONE IN PRAYER
“Master of the Universe, grant me the ability to be alone. May it be my custom to go out doors each day among the trees and grass, among all growing things. And there may I be alone in prayer, to talk with my Creator, to express everything in my heart. And may all the foliage of the field awake at my coming, to send the power of their life into the words of my prayer, so that my prayer and speech are made whole through the spirit of all growing things.”
Reb Nahman of Bratslav

STORY OF THE APPLE TREE
A nobleman was riding his hoE rse along a road and saw an old man digging in his garden. Beside the man lay a sapling ready for to be planted. The nobleman called out, “What kind of tree are you planting?” “An apple tree,” replied the old man. “An apple tree! How old are you?” exclaimed the nobleman. “I’m 90,” came the answer. “You are 90 years old and planting a tree which will take years and years to bear fruit?” “Tell me,” said the old man, “did you ever eat an apple when you were young?” “Certainly, why do you ask?” “Well,” said the old man, “who do you think planted the tree from which those gifts were obtained?” The nobleman hesitated, “I have no idea.” “You see, sir, our forefathers planted trees for us to enjoy, and I am doing the same for those who will come along after me. How else can I repay my debt to those who lived before me?”
Anonymous

OPEN TO LIFE
“Being open to life means saying yes to life, but that is not the same as saying yes to everything that enters our lives. Part of the growth toward our yes is to know the difference between what leads to maturity an what leads to a destruction of my sense of who I am. How can we discover this difference? There is no formula for unlocking the secret of maturity, only the continual invitation to try to do so because the growth toward it is growth toward life.”
Paula Ripple

CHARACTER
“Character is not something you were born with and can’t change like your fingerprint. In fact, because you weren’t born with it, it is something that you must take responsibility for creating. I don’t believe that adversity by itself builds character and I certainly don’t think that success erodes it. Character is built by how you respond to what happens in your life. Whether it’s winning every game or losing every game. Getting rich or dealing with hard times. You build character out of certain qualities that you must create and diligently nurture within yourself..”
Jim Rohn

A GOOD MARRIAGE
“There’s an easy rule to keep a fire burning brightly that applies easily to a marriage: keep the logs together, near enough to share their warmth and far enough apart for breathing room. Good fire, good marriage, same rule.”
Mannie Reed Crowel





TRUE LISTENING
“Most may think they are truly listening when all they are dong is pretend listening, or at best selective listening, but this is self-deception, designed to hide from themselves their laziness. For true listening no matter how brief, requires tremendous effort. First of all, it requires total concentration. You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything at the same time.…If you are not willing to put aside everything, including your own worries and preoccupation for such a time, then you are not willing to truly listen. While it is true that one’s capacity to truly listen may improve gradually with practice, it never becomes an effortless process.”
M. Scott Peck

 


The 'Wedding Rose' in bloom in the garden at Galilee

Creed…

"I'd rather see a sermon
     than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me
     than merely tell the way.
The eye's a better pupil
     and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
     but example's always clear;
And the best of all preachers
     are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
     is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it
     if you'll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action,
     but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver
     may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lessons
     by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you
     and the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding
     how you act and how you live."
Anon

Excellence Is an Art

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."
Aristotle

"I choose a better way to live!"

    Henceforth, each morning, I will awake and fall on my knees and give thanks to God for the gift that only he can bestow…I am grateful for this fresh opportunity. I will show my gratitude in everything I do, this day. How fortunate I am to be here."
Anon

To Know Life

"Life was given you by God…in a great big box with a wonderful ribbon on it…What we expect in there is joy, peace, contentment and an abundance of love.

    But we also find in that life, pain, despair and loneliness. They are all parts of the same box called Life. It’s not until you dive into it and experience all of it that you will really know life. We learn from pain just as much as we learn from joy."
Leo Buscaglia


Fuchsia in bloom in the garden at Galilee

Calamities Can Bring…

"Calamities can bring growth and Enlightenment," said the Master. And he explained like this:

    "Each day a bird would shelter in the withered branches of a tree that stood in the middle of a vast deserted plain. One day a whirlwind uprooted the tree, forcing the poor bird to fly a hundred miles in search of shelter—till it finally reached a forest of fruit-laden trees."

    The Master concluded, "If the withered tree had survived, nothing would have induced the bird to give up its security and fly."
Anthony de Mello, SJ

The Ox and the Mule

For some time an old farmer had been plowing with an ox and a mule teamed together; working them pretty hard. The young ox said to the mule, "Let's play sick today and rest a little while." But the old mule said, "No, we need to get the work done, for the growing season is short."

But the ox played sick, and the farmer brought it fresh hay and corn and made the ox comfortable. When the mule came in from plowing, the ox asked how it went in the fields. "We didn't get as much done," answered the mule, "but we did a fair stretch." Then the ox asked, "What did the old man say about me?" "Nothing," said the mule.

The next day the ox, thinking it had a good thing going, played sick again. And when the mule returned from the field very tired, the ox asked, "How did it go today?" "All right, I guess," the mule replied, "but we didn't get much done." Then the young ox asked, "What did the old man say about me?" "Nothing to me," the mule answered, "but he did stop and have a long talk with the butcher."
Anonymous

 

Calamities Can Bring

    "Calamities can bring growth and Enlightenment," said the Master. And he explained like this:

    "Each day a bird would shelter in the withered branches of a tree that stood in the middle of a vast deserted plain. One day a whirlwind uprooted the tree, forcing the poor bird to fly a hundred miles in search of shelter—till it finally reached a forest of fruit-laden trees."

    The Master concluded, "If the withered tree had survived, nothing would have induced the bird to give up its security and fly."
Anthony de Mello, SJ

 

 

The Oak & the Reeds

    There is an old fable in which the mighty oak tree which stood for over one hundred years finally was blown over by a storm. The tree feel into a river that floated it downstream until it came to rest among the reeds growing along the riverbank. The fallen giant asked the reeds in amazement, "How is it that you were able to weather the storm that was too powerful for me, an oak tree, to withstand?"
    The reeds replied, "All these years you stubbornly resisted the winds that swept your way. You took such pride in your strength that you refused to yield, even a little bit. We, on the other hand, have not resisted the winds, but have always bent with them. We recognized the superior power of the wind and so, the harder the wind blew the more we humbled ourselves before it." 
Anonymous

Sincerity

"I wish I were…

Big enough honestly to admit

all my shortcomings;

 Brilliant enough to accept praise

without it making me arrogant;

Tall enough to tower above deceit;

Strong enough to welcome criticism;

Compassionate enough to understand human frailties;

Wise enough to recognize my mistakes;

Humble enough to appreciate greatness;

Staunch enough to stand by my friends;

Human enough to be thoughtful of my neighbor;

And righteous enough to be devoted to the love of God."
The Wall Street Journal

Click Here for a real treat- Red Robin mothering her chicks

 

Why Not Choose Greatness?

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

    We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

    You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the Glory of God within us.

    It’s not just in some of us: it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Nelson Mandela

Wisdom
"Before you speak, listen.
Before you write, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you invest, investigate.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Before you retire, save
Before you die, give."

William Arthur Ward

 

 

Wisdom of Leaving Out

The famed architect-designer, Stanford White, once shocked an editor by the high price he charged for a magazine cover design.

    Although he had spent much thought in preparing the design, its classic simplicity caused his customer to wonder at the bill of $500—a goodly sum at the turn of the 1900s.

    "I’d say that was a pretty steep price for such a plain design," said the editor.

    "The price," explained White, "was for knowing what to leave out."

    The wisdom to know what to leave out of our own lives is something worth striving for.
The Christophers

 Wisdom of Leaving Out (2)
Knowledge is knowing that a Tomato is a fruit
Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad!

The Peace of Christ

"The peace of Christ…causes us to live passionate, connected, authentic lives. We will choose endurance rather than avoidance, and integrity rather than conformity. With Christ’s peace, we become people of the resurrection, riding the ups and downs of our particular destiny with the bedrock assurance that every Good Friday moment of our lives will be raised up into an Easter event."
Nancy F. Summners

My Mission
   "God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it—if I do but keep His commandments."
Cardinal Newman

Green Bough & Singing Birds
    A Chinese proverb expresses this truth: "If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come."

    Here are five "green boughs" we should strive to keep in our hearts:

    The green bough of Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is not only contagious, it is attractive. The singing bird of success is drawn toward the green bough of enthusiasm. Where there is enthusiasm, there is excitement, and where there is positive excitement, there is more joy in the job, more sparkle in the eye, and more zest in living.

    The green bough of Kindness. Kindness is the Golden Rule in action. Surely what the world needs now is more kindness. The green boughs of kindness grow from the tree of love, and when we truly love others, kindness is natural and instinctive. We should remember the little girl’s prayer: "God, help the bad people be good…and please help the good people to be nice."

    The green bough of Generosity. Our lives sing with joy when we generously share ourselves, our talents and resources in loving service to others. Generosity is the secret of happiness; it is the golden key that unlocks the gates of joy, fulfillment and life more abundant.

    The green bough of Humor. It has been said that if we learn to laugh at ourselves we will always be amused. The green bough of humor helps us to laugh at ourselves even when we make a faux pas, when we goof up, when we trip over our tongues…

    The green bough of Gratitude. Green boughs of gratitude provide the perfect home for the bluebirds of happiness. With gratitude in our hearts, there can be no room for self-pity, resentment or bitterness. Gratitude attracts more blessings—especially when we humbly and joyfully express our thanksgiving to our God and to those who have encouraged and inspired us.

William Arthur Ward

 

October 2015

AUTUMN

O Lord, it is time

The summer was so vast

Put your shadows on the sundials

And in the fields let the wind loose.

Order the last fruits to become ripe

Give them two more sunny days

Push them to fulfillment

And force the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

He who has no house now will not build one

He who is alone will be so for a long time to come

Will stay awake, read, write long letters

And restlessly walk in the park among the blown leaves.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
(Translated by Charlotte Schmid)

Instrument of Peace    
"The gospel is full of reassurances to us, some of them startling. You are salt of the world! You are light to all the world! These words were exciting to those who heard them. Things might be dark but they are to be the light of the world. They were given a new sense of their value as persons. Of these none was greater than Francis of Assisi. He might well have prayed:

To those who have lost their way, let me restore it to
     them.
To those who are aimless, let me bring purpose.
To those who do not know who they are, let me teach
     them that they are the children of God and can be used as His instruments in the never ending work
     of  healing and redemption.

There are therefore two things for us to do. The first is never to doubt that God can use us if we are willing to be used, no matter what our weaknesses. The second is to see that God can use any other person who is willing to be used, whatever his weaknesses, and if need be, to assure him of this truth." Alan Paton

Who Sets Your Standards

    There was an older guy who decided to jog around the local high school football field. As he huffed and puffed along, the team was practicing.
The players soon started running sprints up and down the field. The man told himself, "I’ll just keep running until they quit." So he ran, and they ran, and he ran some more, and they kept running. The old man kept running until he could finally run no longer.
He stopped in exhaustion. One of the players, equally exhausted, approached him and said, "Boy, am I glad you finally stopped, Mister. Coach told us we had to keep running wind sprints as long as the old guy was jogging."
He was watching them; they were watching him. He was letting them set his standard; they allowed him to set theirs.
   

 

  Reverent Attentiveness

  "The very impulse that causes some to look for revelations and unusual signs is present in many, perhaps most, religious people to some degree.…What we really need is not extraordinary signs of this presence in visions and revelations, but a sense of reverent attentiveness to this religious experience as it comes to us in ordinary ways.…As St. Augustine poignantly wrote: ‘The only thing I really fear is Jesus passing by.’" Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR

CLOCKS GO BACK!    

'Spring Forward' and 'Fall Back' - that's how to remember when to change the clocks.
This year, 2015, we 'Go Back' early Sunday morning October 25 - so remember to put your clocks back one hour, officially at 1am GMT (2am BST) or for some of us that will be before we go to sleep on Saturday night!

 

 

 

 

Thought for Today

"He is going before you into Galilee, it is there you will see him, just as he told you" Mk 16:7.

 

 

Mommy, Listen to Me!

    A mother and her five-year-old son were talking about what he learned in kindergarten that day. The mother let her mind wander while her son was speaking. He began tapping on her knee and said, "Mommy, listen to me!"

"But I am listening," replied the mother.

"No, you’re not," said her son, "You’re not in your eyes."
Anonymous

We Need to Feel More

"We need to feel more to understand others.
We need to love more to be loved back.
We need to cry more to cleanse ourselves.
We need to laugh more to enjoy ourselves.
We need to establish the valley of honesty and fairness when interacting with people.
We need to establish a strong ethical basis as a way of life.
We need to see more than our own little fantasies.
We need to hear more and listen to the needs of others.
We need to give more and take less.
We need to share more and own less.
We need to realize the importance of the family as a backbone to stability.
We need to look more and realize that we are not so different from one another.
We need to need to create a world where we can all peacefully live the life we choose.
We need to create a world where we can once again trust each other."
Susan Polis Schultz, Blue Mtn. Arts, 1989

When God Interrupts

    A woman was discussing with her spiritual director what God might be calling her to do with her life and what steps she should take next.

    The director listened carefully and then asked her what were her immediate plans. The woman responded that she had no plans; she would simply wait on God to give her a sign.

    The director asked her to reflect on some Bible passages and how God’s call was experienced by others. At their next meeting, the woman announced that she now had a part-time job, although she felt that God was calling her, ultimately, to something else.

    "What made you decide to get a job?" the director inquired.

    "Well," the woman replied, "I discovered that God interrupts. It seemed to me that every time God called somebody in the Bible to do something, they were already busy doing something else."
Anonymous

The Dismissal Rite

    A C.C.D. teacher asked students in her Confirmation class which part of the Liturgy, or Mass, was the most important part. She was not prepared for the answer from one of the students.

    The youth said, "The Dismissal Rite is the most important part of the Mass."

    "Why do you say that?" asked the teacher.

    The teenager replied, "The purpose of the Eucharist is to nourish us with the Word of the Lord and the Body and Blood of the Lord, so that we may go forth to bear witness to the Lord and to bring the kingdom of God into existence."

    The student continued, "The Eucharist does not end with the Dismissal Rite. In a sense, it begins with it. We must go forth and proclaim to the world what the disciples of Emmaus did. We must proclaim that Jesus is risen. We must proclaim that Jesus lives on."

    The youth was absolutely correct.

    This is the message the world needs to hear. This is the message the world must hear. If we don’t deliver this message to the world, we have failed in our mission as Jesus’ disciples. In a very true sense, the Dismissal Rite is the most important part of the Mass.

 


A Glimpse of the Dawn Mass
Easter 2012

A Teacher's Wisdom
     "The teacher who walks among his or her students gives not of one's wisdom but rather of one's faith and lovingness. If he or she is indeed wise he or she does not bid you enter the house of his or her wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind. For the vision of one person lends not its wings to another person."
Kahlil Gibran

Give Life Your Best!
 "Give life your best. At all times and in all circumstances, always give your best in whatever you do.
     It does not matter in what place you finish if you gave life your best. Likewise, no matter in what place you do finish, it doesn't matter if it is not your best.
 When you give life your best, there is no need for apologies or excuses, so go ahead—give life your best!"
Anon

Make A Difference
     "Most great accomplishments, throughout the course of history, began with one individual's inspiration, idea or a desire to change a negative situation for the better.
     What transforms thought into concrete achievement is the determination, perseverance, and patience of the individual.
     The achievement of any goal often involves setbacks and failures, large and small. But by letting failures educate rather than discourage, you can increase your chances of achieving your objective. The only real failure occurs when you give up on an attainable goal."
Anon

Strive for Greatness
    "Use every letter you write,
     Every conversation you have,
     Every meeting you attend,
    To express your fundamental beliefs and dreams. Affirm to others the vision of the world you want. You are a free, immensely powerful source of life and goodness. Affirm it, spread it, radiate it. Think day and night about it, and you will see a miracle happen: The Greatness of Your Own Life!"
Anonymous

3 Stages of growth
    "The first stage of growth is Physical and is usually developed around 18 years of age. The second stage is mental and takes several more years to develop. The third, and final, stage of growth occurs when you take responsibility for the first two stages."
Frank Delessio

Faith & Works
    There was an old man who operated a rowboat for ferrying passengers between an island and the mainland. One day a passenger noticed that he had painted on one oar the word "Works," and on the other oar the word "Faith." Curiosity led him to ask the meaning of this.

    The old man replied, "I will show you," dropping one oar, rowing only with the oar named "Works." Of course, the boat just went around in circles. Then he switched oars, picking up "Faith" and dropping "Works." And the little rowboat went around in circles again—this time in the opposite direction.

    After this demonstration, the old man picked up both oars "Faith" and "Works," and rowing with both oars together swiftly coursed over the water. He looked at the passenger and said, "You see, that is the way it is in life as well as in rowing a boat. You got to keep both oars in the water, otherwise, you’ll just go in circles."
Anon

Wisdom
"See everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little."
Pope John XXIII

Politeness—Hot Air   

The master was certainly not a stickler for etiquette and good manners but there was always a natural courtesy and grace in his dealings with others.

A young disciple once was very rude to a toll collector as he drove the Master home one night. In self-defense he said, "I’d rather be myself and let people know exactly how I feel. Politeness is nothing but a lot of hot air anyway."

"True enough," replied the Master pleasantly, "but that’s what we have in our automobile tires and see how it eases the bumps."
Anthony de Mello, SJ

FEBRUARY 2012

St Patrick

Irish Blessing

"May the morning sun stir you out of bed,
May the winter winds move you on the road,
May the rains of March renew your strength,
May the flowers of spring captivate your sight,
May summer heat inflame your zeal,
May autumn color stimulate your dreams,
May the silver moon make you wiser yet,
May you never be with yourself content,
May Jesus and Mary keep you young,
Full of life and laughter and love.
And may the God of challenge and adventure
Bless you and keep you always,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."
Andrew M. Greeley

 

Forgiveness is a Choice

    …"Forgiving is a choice. It is a gift given to someone who doesn’t deserve it.…Also keep in mind that we have no right to demand that others forgive us simply because we have asked for forgiveness.…

    The forgiveness process, properly understood and used, can free those bound by anger and resentment. It does not require accepting injustice or remaining in an abusive situation. It opens the door to reconciliation, but it does not require trusting someone who has proven untrustworthy. Even if the of-fender remains unrepentant, you can forgive and restore a sense of peace and well-being to your life. The choice is yours."
Robert D. Enright, Ph.D

 

"Look sharply after your thoughts. They come unlooked for, like a new bird seen on your trees, and, if you turn to your usual task, disappear; and you shall never find that perception again; never, I say—but perhaps years, ages, and I know not what events and worlds may lie between you and its return."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Calamities Can Bring   
"Calamities can bring growth and Enlightenment," said the Master. And he explained like this:

"Each day a bird would shelter in the withered branches of a tree that stood in the middle of a vast deserted plain. One day a whirlwind uprooted the tree, forcing the poor bird to fly a hundred miles in search of shelter—till it finally reached a forest of fruit-laden trees."

The Master concluded, "If the withered tree had survived, nothing would have induced the bird to give up its security and fly."
Anthony de Mello, SJ

The Dirty, Old Basket
A novice went to the novice master and explained that he was disgruntled with going to Mass because he wasn’t getting anything out of it. The novice master picked up a dirty, old basket and told him to go to the well, fill it with water; then bring it back. The novice did as he was told, but by the time he returned the water had dripped out of the basket.

The novice master told him to go back to the well again—three more times, actually—and each time the novice returned with no water in the basket.

Frustrated, the novice asked what’s the point of keep going to the well since he was returning with no water.

The novice master smiled and said, "The point is not in returning with water but in going to the well. After all, the water has cleaned a dirty, old basket. Anonymous

The Fruit of ...
"The fruit of Silence is Prayer
The fruit of Prayer is Faith
The fruit of Faith is Love
The fruit of Love is Service
The fruit of Service is Peace."
Mother Teresa


Just After Rain
by Ross Clarke

just after rain
when the water lies hesitant and pure
on the roads and footpaths
and a few cars still have their lights on

     just after rain
when the frontyard trees sweat the last drops
from their chlorophyll brows
and the air is promise-crammed and light
and there are apparently more towers
in the distant city-centre than before

          just after rain
when the pets emerge from under houses
and overlong browsers from within shops...

               just after rain
we breathe in deeply and effortlessly
we enjoy watching where we put our feet
as we jaunt home

                    just after rain
there is no other time that is not
                                   just after rain

 

 

When God Interrupts .
    A woman was discussing with her spiritual director what God might be calling her to do with her life and what steps she should take next.

    The director listened carefully and then asked her what were her immediate plans. The woman responded that she had no plans; she would simply wait on God to give her a sign.

    The director asked her to reflect on some Bible passages and how God’s call was experienced by others. At their next meeting, the woman announced that she now had a part-time job, although she felt that God was calling her, ultimately, to something else.

    "What made you decide to get a job?" the director inquired.

    "Well," the woman replied, "I discovered that God interrupts. It seemed to me that every time God called somebody in the Bible to do something, they were already busy doing something else."
Anon.

Strive for Greatness
     "Use every letter you write,
     Every conversation you have,
     Every meeting you attend,
    To express your fundamental beliefs and dreams. Affirm to others the vision of the world you want. You are a free, immensely powerful source of life and goodness. Affirm it, spread it, radiate it. Think day and night about it, and you will see a miracle happen: The Greatness of Your Own Life!"
Anon.

Mommy, Listen to Me!

    A mother and her five-year-old son were talking about what he learned in kindergarten that day. The mother let her mind wander while her son was speaking. He began tapping on her knee and said, "Mommy, listen to me!"

"But I am listening," replied the mother.

"No, you’re not," said her son, "You’re not in your eyes."
Anon.

Wisdom

"You can’t light a candle
        to show others the way
Without feeling the warmth
        of the bright little ray–
And you can’t pluck a rose,
        all fragrant with dew,
Without part of its fragrance
        remaining with you."
Helen Steiner Rice

 

Transform Yourself
"Transform yourself and you’ve done your part in transforming the world. You are what it takes to make a difference in the world in which we live.
    Be still and listen…
    From our hearts spring forth our prayers. Manifest them now as concentrated thought. The gift of prayer is a power that has sustained nations and moved the world.
    May this gift flow from your heart and nourish the Earth.
    If your self-discipline were equal to your dreams, you could do just about anything."
Kerry Johnson

 

 

Cleaning Out Our Wardrobes
    There comes a time when we must clean out the wardrobes of our life so that we may have room for items that will enhance our life. Let’s search the wardrobes of our lives and make a trip to the wastebasket.

    Throw away any hatred that may be lurking there and be sure to toss out jealousy, bad attitudes, dishonesty, complaints, sin and hypocrisy.

    Before you finish, throw away that grudge you’ve been carrying against someone. Make room to add love, honesty, forgiveness and kindness–not to mention thankfulness for all God’s blessings. Go on and make room for reverence and respect for God from whom all good gifts come.

    Stand back and look: Your life’s wardrobe is looking better, isn’t it? Take a moment today to spring clean your heart. Ask God to come in and if He finds anything else that should not be there, to take it out so that you can live holy and right!
Anon.

 

 

Doing Useless Work
Legend tells of a king who needed a faithful servant and had to choose between two likely candidates. He took both of them on a trial basis and told them to fill a basket with water from a nearby rain barrel, saying he would come in the evening to inspect their work. After dumping several buckets of water into a basket, one of the candidates said, "What is the good of doing this useless work? As soon as we pour water in, it just runs out the sides of the basket."

    The other candidate answered, "But we have our wages, haven’t we? The use is the king’s business, not ours."

    "Well, I’m not going to do such fool’s work," replied the complainer. Throwing down the bucket, he went away.

    The other candidate continued until he had drained the barrel. Looking into it, he saw something shining at the bottom that proved to be a sparkling diamond. "Now I see the usefulness of pouring water into the basket!" he exclaimed. "If the bucket had brought up the diamond before the barrel was emptied, it would have been found in the basket. My work was not foolish or useless, after all."

    When God’s blessing does not fully coincide with your expectations, remember to wait until the barrel is emptied. There may be something precious at the bottom.
Anon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gift of Courage
"Emerson wrote: ‘What a new face courage puts on everything!'

And no truer statement was ever written. Wherever it appears, courage changes things for the better....It's the courage to do what needs to be done, when it should be done....And it's the courage to follow the silent voice within you when it means going against the crowd, or speaking when you know what you're going to say will be unpopular with your listeners. It's the courage to stay with something long enough to succeed at it, realizing that it usually takes two, three or four times as long to succeed as you thought or hoped."
Earl Nightingale

In the Present

"The silence renews me
As I sink into myself
And lose the weight of worlds.
Liberated of my feverish mind
And released from the drive
To live by calendars and clocks.

In this time and space,
my life becomes visible and audible
And the everyday becomes significant...
I am here in the present."
Ulrich Schaeffer

Walk through Deereen Woods

 

The Ox and the Mule

For some time an old farmer had been plowing with an ox and a mule teamed together; working them pretty hard. The young ox said to the mule, "Let's play sick today and rest a little while." But the old mule said, "No, we need to get the work done, for the growing season is short."

But the ox played sick, and the farmer brought it fresh hay and corn and made the ox comfortable. When the mule came in from plowing, the ox asked how it went in the fields. "We didn't get as much done," answered the mule, "but we did a fair stretch." Then the ox asked, "What did the old man say about me?" "Nothing," said the mule.

The next day the ox, thinking it had a good thing going, played sick again. And when the mule returned from the field very tired, the ox asked, "How did it go today?" "All right, I guess," the mule replied, "but we didn't get much done." Then the young ox asked, "What did the old man say about me?" "Nothing to me," the mule answered, "but he did stop and have a long talk with the butcher."
Anonymous

 

Pray for Guidance

"Scroll 10: ‘I will pray for guidance.'
     Never will I pray for the material things of the world…Only for guidance will I pray, that I may be shown the way… and my prayer will always be answered.
     I will pray in this manner:
     ‘O Creator of all things, help me. For this day I go out into the world naked and alone, and without your hand to guide me I will wander far from the path which leads to success and happiness.
     ‘Guide me so that I may acquire ability equal to my opportunities.
     ‘Assign me tasks to which others have failed; yet guide me to pluck the seeds of success from these failures. Confront me with fears that will temper my spirit; yet endow me with courage to laugh at my misgivings.
     ‘But all these things be only if thy will. I am a small and lonely grape clutching the vine yet thou hast made me different from all others. Verily, there must be a special place for me. Guide me. Help me. Show me the way.'
     ‘Let me become all you planned for me when my seed was planted and selected by you to sprout in the vineyard of the world. Guide me, God.'"
Og Mandino

Evening sun in Deereen Woods

Faith is the…
"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings
when the dawn is still dark."

Rabindranath Tagore

 

Power of Choice
"Having endowed people with the power to make choices, God always respects human freedom. To force people to conform to His will, to order events in such a way as to absolve people of their responsibility, would dehumanize them. For freedom distinguishes human beings from animals.
The power to make free choices—to exercise the human will—is a precious and terrible power. We can use it to fulfill ourselves or to destroy ourselves. Used rightly, free choice is a share in God’s own creativity."

Faith Today

 

Oak and Reeds by Milo Winter

The Oak & the Reeds
There is an old fable in which the mighty oak tree which stood for over one hundred years finally was blown over by a storm. The tree feel into a river that floated it downstream until it came to rest among the reeds growing along the riverbank. The fallen giant asked the reeds in amazement, "How is it that you were able to weather the storm that was too powerful for me, an oak tree, to withstand?"
    The reeds replied, "All these years you stubbornly resisted the winds that swept your way. You took such pride in your strength that you refused to yield, even a little bit. We, on the other hand, have not resisted the winds, but have always bent with them. We recognized the superior power of the wind and so, the harder the wind blew the more we humbled ourselves before it." 
Anonymous

 

"May your spirits arise with the New awn,
In the springtime of your journey of faith."
Fr Brian Kavanagh

The Peace of Christ

"The peace of Christ…causes us to live passionate, connected, authentic lives. We will choose endurance rather than avoidance, and integrity rather than conformity. With Christ’s peace, we become people of the resurrection, riding the ups and downs of our particular destiny with the bedrock assurance that every Good Friday moment of our lives will be raised up into an Easter event."
Nancy F. Summners

 

Green Bough & Singing Birds
    A Chinese proverb expresses this truth: "If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come."

    Here are five "green boughs" we should strive to keep in our hearts:

    The green bough of Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is not only contagious, it is attractive. The singing bird of success is drawn toward the green bough of enthusiasm. Where there is enthusiasm, there is excitement, and where there is positive excitement, there is more joy in the job, more sparkle in the eye, and more zest in living.

    The green bough of Kindness. Kindness is the Golden Rule in action. Surely what the world needs now is more kindness. The green boughs of kindness grow from the tree of love, and when we truly love others, kindness is natural and instinctive. We should remember the little girl’s prayer: "God, help the bad people be good…and please help the good people to be nice."

    The green bough of Generosity. Our lives sing with joy when we generously share ourselves, our talents and resources in loving service to others. Generosity is the secret of happiness; it is the golden key that unlocks the gates of joy, fulfillment and life more abundant.

    The green bough of Humor. It has been said that if we learn to laugh at ourselves we will always be amused. The green bough of humor helps us to laugh at ourselves even when we make a faux pas, when we goof up, when we trip over our tongues…

    The green bough of Gratitude. Green boughs of gratitude provide the perfect home for the bluebirds of happiness. With gratitude in our hearts, there can be no room for self-pity, resentment or bitterness. Gratitude attracts more blessings—especially when we humbly and joyfully express our thanksgiving to our God and to those who have encouraged and inspired us.
William Arthur Ward

My Mission"

"God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it—if I do but keep His commandments."
John Henry Newman

Why Not Choose Greatness?    

  "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

    We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

    You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the Glory of God within us.

    It’s not just in some of us: it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Nelson Mandela

Lesson from a Turtle
"There was a boy who found a turtle. He started to examine it but the turtle pulled in its head and closed its shell like a vice. The boy was upset and he picked up a stick to try to pry it open.

The boy's uncle saw all this and remarked, 'No, that's not the way! In fact, you may kill the turtle but you'll not get it to open up with a stick.'

The uncle took the terrapin into the house and set it near the fireplace. It wasn't but a few minutes until it began to get warm. Then the turtle pushed out its head, then stretched out its legs and began to crawl. ‘Turtles are like that,' said the uncle, ‘and people, too. You can't force them into anything. But if you first warm them up with some real kindness, more than likely, they will do what you want them to do.'"
Anon

 

An Irish Blessing .

“May your hope be…
As determined as the river racing by,
As soft as the cry of the mourning dove,
As sweet and subtle as a lover’s sigh,…
As resolute as the sun rising each day,
As certain as the return each year of spring.
May it break through the darkling clouds
And confirm you against every evil thing.
May Jesus and Mary and Patrick and Brigid
Strengthen your faith and hope and love,
And may God bless you
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
Fr. Andrew Greeley

 

Problem with Waiting

    "The problem with waiting until tomorrow is that when it finally arrives, it is called today. Today is yesterday’s tomorrow. The question is what did we do with its opportunity? All too often we will waste tomorrow as we wasted yesterday, and as we are wasting today. All that could have been accomplished can easily elude us, despite our intentions, until we inevitably discover that the things that might have been have slipped from our embrace a single, unused day at a time."
Jim Rohn

 

A Way of Prayer

    "Our life with God is like a growing, living thing which springs from the seed of the living word of God. Allow that seed to be planted in your life each day through prayer and reading and reflecting on Scripture. In the darkness of today’s world, many have lost all sense of God’s nearness and love…We need to be a light for all those with whom we live, but we can only be that light if we are praying with faith every day."
Word Among Us

Root System Is Trust

"The Celtic approach to God opens up a world in which nothing is too common to be exalted and nothing is so exalted that it cannot be made common.…

    As we read these words we can glimpse that experience of the presence of God which has been the reality of…people’s lives ever since the start of the day. It is a gift which they have, and which they bring to us, of taking this moment, this place, this happening as the time and place for an encounter with God. So God meets us where we are, at home, at work, in the daily, in the ordinary."

The tree can be an apt image of our spiritual life, our journey to God. Every growth upward and outward necessitates a deepening and widening of the roots.

    Some species of deciduous trees have one root, the tap root, which extends downward to stabilize the tree at the center and to reach the deepest source of water. The root system branches outward to provide balance and to draw nourishment from the soil. Since the work of setting the roots takes time and energy, these trees often grow slowly. But this slowly developed root system is what secures their endurance as sturdy, hardy trees.

    In our spiritual lives, the root system is trust in Jesus, the Word of God.
Elaine M. Prevallet, S.L.

 

 

Touch of the Master’s Hand

`Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bid, good friends?" he cried,
"Who’ll start the bidding for me?"
"One dollar!" "Only one? And who’ll make it two?"
"Two dollars, once. And three!"
"Three dollars, once. And three dollars twice."
"And going, going," but no…
From the back of the room a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow.
Wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As caroling angels sing.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low
Said, "What am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it up with the bow.
"One thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?"
"Two thousand dollars, and three!"
"Three thousand, once. And three thousand twice."
And going, and going, and gone," said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We don’t quite understand
What changes its worth." Swift came the reply,
"`Twas the touch of the master’s hand."
And many a man, with his life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
Much like the old violin.
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine
A game, and he travels on.
He’s going once, and going twice,
And going, and almost gone.
But the Master comes, and the thoughtless crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul, and change that is wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.
Myra Brooks Welch

 


Legend of St. Valentine

"In Rome in A.D. 270, Valentine had enraged the mad emperor Claudius II, who had issued an edict forbidding marriage. Claudius felt that married men made poor soldiers, because they were loath to leave their families for battle. The empire needed soldiers, so Claudius . . . abolished marriage.

Valentine . . . invited young lovers to come to him in secret, where he joined them in the sacrament of matrimony. Claudius learned of this ‘friend of lovers', and had the priest brought to the palace. The emperor, impressed with the young priests dignity and conviction, attempted to convert him to the Roman gods, to save him from otherwise certain execution. Valentine refused to renounce Christianity and imprudently attempted to convert the emperor. On February 24, 270, Valentine was clubbed, stoned, then beheaded."
Author unknown

 

 

Sunbeams

"Prayer is not the moment when God and humans are in relationship, of that is always. Prayer is taking initiative to intentionally respond to God’s presence."
Anonymous

Tune-Up Time

    During the life of any automobile, there are times when it needs to be serviced. We take it off the road and into a shop for a tune-up. A mechanic examines the car and then makes the adjustments necessary for it to function according to certain fixed standards.

    The same is true in the life of a piano when it gets out of tune. We call a piano tuner. The tuner first strikes the U-shaped fork which is tuned to a standard international pitch. He tightens or loosens the A-string in the piano’s middle octave until the two sounds match. Then he proceeds with the work of adjusting each string to the standard pitch.

    In the life of each of us, there are times when we need to take our self off the road, so to speak, for a spiritual tune-up; times when we need to adjust the pitch of our heart-strings to the eternal standard; times when we need to reshape our attitude and approach to life in a way that makes it possible for us to measure up to our true potential.

    What is the eternal standard to which we must aspire in order to achieve wholeness of life? Everywhere there are clues! We find them in the lives of other persons. We find them at the deep levels of our own being. We find them in experiences of great joy and deep sorrow. We find them when we pray. We find them in literature and music and art and drama and work. Most importantly, we find them in the Word of God. And when it’s time to adjust the "heart-strings," when it’s tune-up time for the soul, we listen to the word of God in Scripture for the eternal standard.
James F. Colaianni

 

A World to Change

"Making a difference depends on us. It involves a conscious decision to do something positive and constructive with our lives. And that decision requires a knowledge of self.

    To arrive at that knowledge we have to ask such questions as: What are my abilities? What are my interests? What are my basic beliefs? Who, really, am I? Why am I here?
Christophers News Notes

 

The Claddagh Ring
Some years ago divers located a 400-year-old sunken ship off the coast of Ireland. Among the treasures they found on the ship was a man’s wedding ring. When it was cleaned up, the divers noticed that the ring had an inscription on it. Etched on the wide band were two hands holding a heart. Under the etching were these words: "I have nothing more to give you."
Of all the treasures found on that sunken ship, none moved the divers more than that Claddagh ring and its beautiful inscription.
Author unknown

DECEMBER 2010

Memory Awakens Hope  
"Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to men and women. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.…
    It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope."
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger   

Christmas Prayer
"Meister Eckhart once said: ‘What good is it that Christ was born 2,000 years ago if he is not born now in your heart?’
"Lord, we do far too much celebrating your actual coming in our hearts. I believe in God, but do I believe in God-in-me? I believe in God in heaven, but do I believe in God-on-earth? I believe in God out there, but do I believe in God-with-us?
"Lord, be born in my heart. Come alive in me this Christmas! Amen."
Living Faith

Affirmations of Christmas

I believe that Christmas is more than a time for parties and ornaments; it is a time for remembering Christ and the incarnation of God’s love in human flesh.

I believe there are gifts more important than the ones under the Christmas tree, the things we teach our children, the way we share ourselves with friends, and the industry with which we set about reshaping the world in our time.

I believe that the finest carols are often sung by the poorest voices; from hearts made warm by the wonder of the season.

I believe in the angel’s message that we should not be afraid—that the Child of Bethlehem is able to overcome all anxieties and insecurities.

I believe in prayer and quietness as a way of appropriating Christmas—that if I wait in silence I will experience the presence of the one born in the manger, for he lives today as surely as he lived then.

I believe in going away from Christmas as the wise men went: "another way." I want to be different when these days are past—more centered, more thoughtful, more caring.

And I believe God will help me. Amen.
Anonymous

 

The Presence of Christmas
"Christmas is not just a season,
Christmas is not just a day,
Christmas is more than a reason
For parties, presents and play.

Christmas is truly the essence
Of joy that the Saviour brings;
Christmas is surely the presence
Of Jesus, the Kings of Kings!"
William Arthur Ward

 

Christmas Is For Adults
"The real reason for celebrating Christmas is that it happened once. And that one time changed the world. The infant born that first Christmas grew in wisdom and age and strength; he suffered and died and rose again; and he saved his people from their sins.

This saving feast, for once and for all, has given birth to a special child who becomes the model and pattern for our human growth and wholeness. The real secret of Christmas–if we must treat it as a secret–is that the feast is for…adults!"
Wm. Freburger


1 Corinthians 13 - A Christmas Version

  •     If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.
  •     If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.
  •     If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love t    o my family, it profits me nothing.
  •     If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
  •     Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
  •     Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
  •     Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.
    Source Unknown

 

 

November 2010

Please click here to view a rememberance reflection Please turn on your sound

A NOVEMBER FEELING
November is the season to settle down before the
fireplace and look back, to remember and to be grateful.
Also, it can be seen as the in-between season, the
lull period—post harvest and pre-Christmas. It is the
month when the leaves have fallen, and the weather
turns gray. November is a time for saints, for poor
souls, for veterans and for giving thanks.
The lectionary readings have a
“November” feeling to them, an “end
time” peal, but filled with hope. This is
a time to remember and look back on
our life—What kind of memories are
there from this past year? What direction
is your life now heading? Ask yourself
“Where am I now, and where should I
be? The real question to be asked in
November is not if there is life after
death, but is there life before death.
As John H. Rhoads wrote:
“Do more than exist, live.
Do more than touch, feel.
Do more than look, observe.
Do more than read, absorb.
Do more than hear, listen.
Do more than think, ponder.
Do more than talk, say something.”
It is written, “God is not a God of the dead but of
the living.” Are you among the living? Are you alive
for God?

Anonymous

When you are sorrowful
look into your heart
and you shall see that
you are weeping
for that which has been
your delight
~ Kahlil Gibran

 

 

FIND PEACE AND SERENITY
The Spirituality of Imperfection, p. 20
“A spirituality of imperfection suggests that spirituality’s
first step involves facing self squarely,
seeing one’s self as one is: mixed-up, paradoxical, incomplete
and imperfect. Flawedness is the first fact
about human beings. And paradoxically, in that imperfect
foundation, we find not despair but joy. For it
is only within the reality of our imperfection that we
can find the peace and serenity we crave.”
Ernest Kurtz

 

LET US BE THANKFUL
“Let us be thankful for the blessings we receive.
Let us be thoughtful of others.
Let us remember dear and close friends.
Let us have faith in tomorrow.
Let us live life as a Golden Rule.
Let us find sunlight through the clouds.
Let us believe; let us be the people we have the
ability to be.
Let us have understanding.
Let us say this thanks, in prayer…to God,
for the gifts he has given.”

Chris Gallatin

 

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to

Leave the examination room and said,

'Doctor, I am afraid to die.

Tell me what lies on the other side.'

Very quietly, the doctor said, 'I don't know.'

'You don't know? You, a Christian man,

Do not know what is on the other side?'

The doctor was holding the handle of the door;

On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,

And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room

And leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said,

Did you notice my dog?

He's never been in this room before.

He didn't know what was inside.

He knew nothing except that his master was here,

And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

I know little of what is on the other side of death,

But I do know one thing...

I know my Master is there and that is enough.'


Anon

 



Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.

George Eliot

November Blessings .
"For earth’s ten thousand fragrant incenses,
Sweet altar-gifts from leaf and fruit and flower;
For ripening summer and the harvesting;
The flaming pageant of the ripening woods,
The fiery gorse, the heather-purpled hills;
For meadows silver-white with hoary dew;
For sheer delight of tasting once again
     that first crisp breath of winter in the air;
The cold without, the cheer warmth within.
We thank you, Lord!"
John Oxenham

 

Read one persons experience of the Dawn Mass at the Galilee Community, Boyle on Easter Sunday Morning
4th April 2010
Publised in the Roscommon Hearld
13th April 2010

 

 

April 2010

The Legend of the Dogwood
At the time of the crucifixion, the dogwood had reached the size of the mighty oak tree. So strong and firm was the wood that it was chosen as the timber for Jesus' cross.

     To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the dogwood. While nailed upon it, Jesus sensed this, and in his compassion said. "Because of your pity for my suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used for a cross. Henceforth, it shall be slender, bent, and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross–two long and two short petals.

     "In the center of the outer edge of each petal will be the print of nails. In the center of the flower, stained with blood, will be a crown of thorns so that all who see it will remember."
Anon

Hiding Behind Masks
A man came back from a weekend retreat experience, and when a neighbor asked him how it had gone, he said, "I died!"

    Puzzled, the neighbor asked him what he meant. "You see," the man answered, "I went to this thing not knowing what to expect. But in the process of that long weekend, I discovered that I had spent my whole life hiding behind a lot of masks. I realized that I had never even let my wife see me as I really was. I’d been playing games with her, and playing games with my children, and playing games with others—never letting anybody know who I really am. The worst of it was to discover that even I didn’t know myself. I was not in touch with my own honest feelings about myself. And, as all of this was being exposed over the weekend, I died over and over again."

    He went on, "It is a painful thing for a middle-aged man to discover that he is not even in touch with his own honest feelings about himself. I am convinced," he said," "that I had to go through this death experience in order to become the new person that I hope to be now."

    As Scripture says, "Unless a grain of wheat falls to earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (Jn. 12:24).


One’s Mission in Life

 "Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as his specific opportunity to implement it."
Viktor Frankl

My Mission   
"God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it—if I do but keep His commandments."
Cardinal Newman

 

Shoulder Someone’s Burden

    Dr. Albert Schweitzer was one of the most famous missionaries of the modern era. Leaving behind both an academic career (he had a Ph.D. in both theology and physics) and a concert career (he was also a renowned concert organist) he set up a medical clinic in French Equatorial Africa.

    When he was 85 years old Schweitzer and some others were walking up a hill. It was extremely hot. Suddenly Schweitzer walked away from the group and made his way toward an African woman struggling up the hill with a large load of wood from the woman and carried it up the hill for her.

    When he rejoined the group one of them asked why, in view of his age, he did things like that. Schweitzer looked at the group, then pointed to the woman and said, "No one should ever have to carry a burden like that alone."
Anonymous

 

 

 

March 2010

Lent
Lent offers us all a very special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to a way of life, rooted in our baptism.  In our busy world, Lent provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon our patterns, to pray more deeply, experience sorrow for what we've done and failed to do, and to be generous to those in need. 

 

Lent
Lent offers us all a very special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to a way of life, rooted in our baptism.  In our busy world, Lent provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon our patterns, to pray more deeply, experience sorrow for what we've done and failed to do, and to be generous to those in need. 

 Education is a Process

     "You're not automatically educated when you get out of college. Education is a process, not a package. Its goal is not the acquisition of a specific set of skills or body of knowledge, but a maturity of mind and emotions that enables one to be a better person as well as a better engineer, lawyer, or scientist."
T.T. James

Kinds of Readers

     "The first is like the hour-glass; their reading being as the sand, it runs in and runs out, and leaves no vestige behind.
     The second is like the sponge, which imbibes everything, and returns it in nearly the same state, only a little dirtier.
     A third is like a sieve, allowing all that is pure to pass away, retaining only the refuse and dregs.
     And the fourth is like mining diamonds, casting aside all that is worthless, retaining only pure gems."
Samuel T. Coleridge



Reflect the Inner Light

     "People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Teach Me To Live .

" May I follow a life of compassion in pity for the suffering of all living things.
Teach me to live with reverence for life everywhere, to treat life as sacred
        and respect all that breathes.
O Father, I grope amid the shadows of doubt and fear, but I long to advance toward the light.
Help me to fling my life like a flaming firebrand into the gathering darkness of the world."
Dr. Albert Schweitzer

Celtic Spirituality

    “Celtic spirituality was a practice in which ordinary people in their daily lives took the tasks that lay to hand but treated them sacramentally, as pointing to a greater reality which lay beyond them. It is an approach to life which we have been in danger of losing, this sense of allowing the extraordinary to break in on the ordinary. Perhaps it is something which we can rediscover, something which Celtic spirituality can give to us if we would let it renew our vision by teaching our eyes to see again, our ears to hear, our hands to handle.”
Esther de Waal



Forgiveness

"Without forgiveness, there is resentment—or guilt. Instead of human fellowship, there are separate prisons. We have a choice: We can stay where we are—or we can give or ask forgiveness.…

    Forgiveness is total or is it nothing. It is a risk and risk is seldom easy. Overcoming the fear of being hurt again is the price of love.

    We are paralyzed until we accept—really accept—the fact that God forgives us. Once we do, we are freed to love, forgive and accept ourselves. Then healing begins.

   
But He has also forgiven those who have injured us. We know we have accepted God’s forgiving love only when we can forgive others. The release of the full power of His forgiveness is up to us."
Christopher Notes
   

The Frozen Eagle

    Once a proud eagle perched on the tip of an iceberg floating swiftly down the river. The big bird seemed oblivious to the tremendous waterfall that lay ahead. At the same time, a hunter was walking down a path along the river’s edge. Seeing the huge bird perched on the iceberg, the hunter clapped his hands and cried out, "Brother Eagle, fly away, fly away. There is danger ahead!"

    The eagle merely shrugged its great wings as if to say, "Don’t bother me. I know what I’m doing."

    As the iceberg floated closer to the waterfall, the hunter again cried out, "Fly away, Brother Eagle! There is a waterfall ahead!"

    Again the eagle merely shrugged its wings, as if to say, "Don’t bother me. I can take care of myself."

    At the moment, the eagle looked down just in time to see that the iceberg had reached the brink of the waterfall and was about to go over the edge. It spread its mighty wings and prepared for immediate take-off. But the eagle was unable to rise. Its claws were frozen to the ice and it went down with the iceberg.
Anon

 

Please Click on this link for a surprise!

 

Love’s Ebb & Flow

    "When you love someone you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity—in freedom."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Make Your Heart Bigger
"The Tibetan understanding of forgiveness is ‘to make your heart bigger,’ or… ‘to make space for.’ This does not mean to condone or to justify someone’s actions or to try to ‘just forget about it.’ If you try to forget, this can lead to unhealthy ways to escape the negative emotions surrounding the event

These emotions will not easily leave you or allow you to move on because you became somehow attached to them. Better to learn about your part in it and what it had to teach you deeply and personally. Then make a conscious effort every day to make your heart bigger and move on." . ZaChoeje Rinpoche

Wisdom Teaches

    "Wisdom teaches: the fruits of silence; the blessings of health; the rewards of self-discipline; the satisfaction of achievement; the responsibility of power; the beauty of nature; the miracle of love; the meaning of friendship; the privilege of prayer; the power of faith; the joy of sharing; the treasure of integrity."
William Arthur Ward

Greatest Tragedy in Life.

    The poet e.e. cummings once said that in a world that is doing its best night and day to make you into everybody else, trying to be nobody but yourself means to fight the hardest battle that any human being can fight—and the battle never ends.

    Psychiatrists tell us that the refusal to be oneself is a commonplace problem and a major cause of inferiority complexes, feelings of insecurity, personal frustrations and even anti-social behavior. In the words of one prominent practioner, "The greatest tragedy in life is that while we were born originals, we die carbon copies."
Anon

    It seems that while God works to bring out our uniqueness, we work to be like everybody else.
Anon

Three Gifts

"Three gifts we each can give today:
a cheerful smile,
an encouraging word, and
a helping hand."
William Arthur Ward

 

Prayers for Peace

"Forgive me, most gracious Lord and Father, if this day I have done or said anything to increase the pain of the world. Pardon the unkind word, the impatient gesture, the hard and selfish deed, the failure to show sympathy and kindly help where I had the opportunity, but missed it; and enable me so to live that I may daily do something to lessen the tide of human sorrow, and add to the sum of human happiness."
F.B Meyer

Strengthening The Roots

Once upon a time, a stately oak tree realized that its strength was beginning to wane. When the wind was strong, the once proud tree shook ominously and made suspicious creaking sounds. With great effort, the tree grew some fine new branches and began to feel secure once more. But when the next gale came, it felt some of its roots snapping and, had it not been for the support of a friendly neighboring sycamore tree, it would have fallen to the ground.

    When the oak tree recovered from the shock, it turned to the sycamore and asked, "How is it that you were able to stand your ground but to help me also?"

The sycamore tree replied, "While you were busy growing new branches, I was strengthening my roots."
Anon

 

 

"The real reason for celebrating Christmas is that it happened once. And that one time changed the world. The infant born that first Christmas grew in wisdom and age and strength; he suffered and died and rose again; and he saved his people from their sins.

This saving feast, for once and for all, has given birth to a special child who becomes the model and pattern for our human growth and wholeness. The real secret of Christmas–if we must treat it as a secret–is that the feast is for…adults!"
Wm. Freburger, "The Secret of Christmas,"

**********

"Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present.
    An old abbot was fond of saying, ‘The devil is always the most active on the highest feast days.’
    The supreme trick of Old Scratch is to have us so busy decorating, preparing food, practicing music and cleaning in preparation for the feast of Christmas that we actually miss the coming of Christ. Hurt feelings, anger, impatience, injured egos—the list of clouds that busyness creates to blind us to the birth can be long, but it is familiar to us all."
Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac

**********

"Luke’s Gospel account of the Christmas event is full of activity…And yet, in the middle of the frenetic action, here is this woman wrapped in mystical silence… She demonstrates the necessity of a quiet place within ourselves at Christmastime—that place where we are most ourselves in relation to God. It is a place of silence, not because it is untouched by all the activity of our lives, but because it is capable of wonder. Every prayer begins with silent wonder before it turns to words. Our first response to God is dumbstruck awe at who he is and what he has done for us."
Wm. Frebuger, "Making Christmas a Saving Event,"

**********

"There is an old Jewish-Christian tradition which says: God sends each person into this world with a special message to deliver, with a special song to sing for others, with an act of love to bestow.
    No one else can speak my message, or sing my song, or offer my act of love. These are entrusted only to me. According to this tradition, the message may be spoken, the song sung, the act of love delivered only to a few, or to all the folk in a small town, or to all the people in a large city, or even to all those in the whole world.
    It all depends on God’s unique plan for each person. To which we might add: The greatest gift of God, one would think, is the gift of life. The greatest sin of humans, it would seem, would be to return that gift, ungrateful and unopened."
A Special Message to Deliver - 'sowing seeds aplenty'

**********

"Meister Eckhart once said: ‘What good is it that Christ was born 2,000 years ago if he is not born now in your heart?’

"Lord, we do far too much celebrating your actual coming in our hearts. I believe in God, but do I believe in God-in-me? I believe in God in heaven, but do I believe in God-on-earth? I believe in God out there, but do I believe in God-with-us?
"Lord, be born in my heart. Come alive in me this Christmas! Amen."
Christmas Prayer Living Faith

 

NOVEMBER 2009

 

 

What Makes a Saint
"Why were the saints saints?
Because they were cheerful when it was difficult to be cheerful; patient when it was difficult to be patient. And because they pushed on when they wanted to stand still; and kept silent when they wanted to talk. And because they were agreeable when they wanted to be disagreeable.
That was all. It was quite simple, and always will be."
Miriam C. Hunter.

 

God is Whispering
"There is hardly ever a complete silence in our soul. God is whispering to us well-nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear these whisperings of God. He is always whispering to us, only we do not always hear, because of the noise, hurry and distractions which life causes as it rushes on."
Faber

A Lawyer’s Prayer
A lawyer was overheard praying in church: "We respectively request, and we entreat, that due and adequate provisions be made this day and the date hereinafter subscribed, for the organizing of such methods and allocations and distribution as may be deemed necessary to properly assure the reception by and for said petitioner of such quantities of baked cereal products as shall, in the judgment of the aforementioned petitioners, constitute a sufficient supply thereof."
   
Interpretation: "…give us this day our daily bread."
George Goldtrap

Rosehips in the Galilee Garden

 

 Only a few Dare
"The world is full of unused talents and latent ability. The reason these talents lie buried is that the individual hasn’t the courage to dig them up and use them. Everybody should be doing better than he or she is, but only a few dare."
William H. Danforth


How to Get Out of a Hole

Once a frog fell into a deep pothole and couldn’t get out no matter how hard he tried to jump out. Even his friends couldn’t get him to muster enough strength to jump out of the pothole. After a number of futile attempts, they gave him up to his expected fate.
But the next day they saw their frog-buddy bounding around just fine. Somehow he had made it out of the deep pothole, so they asked him how he did it, adding, "It looked so hopeless. We thought you’d never get out of there."
The frog replied, "I thought so too, but then along came this big truck…and suddenly I had to."
Anonymous

 

Front Garden at Galilee

 

The Autumn Garden

"In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil.  And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as from August to November."
Rose G. Kingsley

 

October 2009


The 'Wedding Rose' in bloom in the garden at Galilee

Today Is Mine
"Today is mine. It is unique.
Nobody in the world has one exactly like it.
It holds the sum of all my past experiences and all my future potential.
I can fill it with joyous moments or ruin it with fruitless worry.
If painful recollections of the past come into my mind, or frightening thoughts of the future, I can put them away.
They cannot spoil today for me."
Alcohol Anonymous

Responsible Stewardship
"The land is living and helps provide life for all creatures. When it is abused, the land and all creatures dependent on it suffer. Abuse of the land is therefore abuse of people, abuse of God's creation, and abuse of the responsibility of stewardship.

On the other hand, conservation of the land promotes its vitality, assures a harmonious relationship between people and the natural environment and fosters the well-being of all creatures."
Anonymous

A Teacher's Influence
A woman attended her 20-year school reunion. There she encountered her first year year art teacher. She told him that she decided to go to college as a result of his inspiration, and that she was an art professor, now, at a large state university.

At the end of the evening's festivities, the teacher searched out his former student, shook her hand and said, "Thank you for saying those nice things about my teaching. You've really made my day."

"You're welcome," said the woman as she hugged him, "But let me thank you - you've made my life!" Anonymous

 


Fuchsia in bloom in the garden at Galilee

New Beginnings
"With each new day, I have an opportunity for a new beginning. Each new day is like a cleared field ready for planting. My thoughts, attitudes, and actions are the seeds I plant. I choose only the seeds that will produce a bountiful harvest of love, joy, health, prosperity, and peace." Anonymous

The Dirty, Old Basket
A novice went to the novice master and explained that he was disgruntled with going to Mass because he wasn’t getting anything out of it. The novice master picked up a dirty, old basket and told him to go to the well, fill it with water; then bring it back. The novice did as he was told, but by the time he returned the water had dripped out of the basket.

    The novice master told him to go back to the well again—three more times, actually—and each time the novice returned with no water in the basket.

    Frustrated, the novice asked what’s the point of keep going to the well since he was returning with no water.

    The novice master smiled and said, "The point is not in returning with water but in going to the well. After all, the water has cleaned a dirty, old basket." Anonymous

Story of Prayer
I pray in different ways at different times. I don’t have a set time to pray. Prayer for me is being responsive when I feel things beginning to move in me in some way.     Basically, I pray off an action-solitude type of dynamic. After an experience, I will wait for a while. A time will come and then I’ll just be alone with that experience. I will replay it and ponder it until the grace in the experience surfaces." Fr John Shea

July 2009


The 'Wedding Rose' in bloom in the garden at Galilee

Creed…

"I'd rather see a sermon
     than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me
     than merely tell the way.
The eye's a better pupil
     and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
     but example's always clear;
And the best of all preachers
     are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action
     is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it
     if you'll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action,
     but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver
     may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lessons
     by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you
     and the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding
     how you act and how you live."
Anon

Excellence Is an Art

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."
Aristotle

"I choose a better way to live!"

    Henceforth, each morning, I will awake and fall on my knees and give thanks to God for the gift that only he can bestow…I am grateful for this fresh opportunity. I will show my gratitude in everything I do, this day. How fortunate I am to be here."
Anon

To Know Life

"Life was given you by God…in a great big box with a wonderful ribbon on it…What we expect in there is joy, peace, contentment and an abundance of love.

    But we also find in that life, pain, despair and loneliness. They are all parts of the same box called Life. It’s not until you dive into it and experience all of it that you will really know life. We learn from pain just as much as we learn from joy."
Leo Buscaglia


Fuchsia in bloom in the garden at Galilee

Calamities Can Bring…

"Calamities can bring growth and Enlightenment," said the Master. And he explained like this:

    "Each day a bird would shelter in the withered branches of a tree that stood in the middle of a vast deserted plain. One day a whirlwind uprooted the tree, forcing the poor bird to fly a hundred miles in search of shelter—till it finally reached a forest of fruit-laden trees."

    The Master concluded, "If the withered tree had survived, nothing would have induced the bird to give up its security and fly."
Anthony de Mello, SJ

 

 

June 2009

 

Pentecost Now

     "When the Holy Spirit became evident on the Day of Pentecost not everyone listened and understood…many missed out. Rather indicative of so many of life's activities.
     The Spirit still confronts, challenges, changes, consecrates those who dare to listen–trust–respond in their daily living."
Tom Lane, Alive Now!

 

The Ox and the Mule

For some time an old farmer had been plowing with an ox and a mule teamed together; working them pretty hard. The young ox said to the mule, "Let's play sick today and rest a little while." But the old mule said, "No, we need to get the work done, for the growing season is short."

But the ox played sick, and the farmer brought it fresh hay and corn and made the ox comfortable. When the mule came in from plowing, the ox asked how it went in the fields. "We didn't get as much done," answered the mule, "but we did a fair stretch." Then the ox asked, "What did the old man say about me?" "Nothing," said the mule.

The next day the ox, thinking it had a good thing going, played sick again. And when the mule returned from the field very tired, the ox asked, "How did it go today?" "All right, I guess," the mule replied, "but we didn't get much done." Then the young ox asked, "What did the old man say about me?" "Nothing to me," the mule answered, "but he did stop and have a long talk with the butcher."
Anonymous

 

Instrument of Thy Peace

    "God’s love, though it is not limited to us as instruments, nevertheless uses us as instruments, so that those who are in need of it, find it in us. It is possible that some will never find it if they do not find it in us. And it is also possible that some will not believe in it, because they do not find it in us."
Alan Paton

 

 

Even Eagles Need a Push

The mother eagle gently coaxed her off-spring toward the edge of her nest. Her heart quivered with conflicting emotions as she felt their resistance to persistent nudging. "Why does the thrill of soaring have to begin with the fear of falling?" she thought. This ageless question was still unanswered for her.

    As in the nature of eagles, her nest was located high on the shelf of a sheer rock face. Below there was nothing but air to support the wings of each young eagle, "It is possible that this time it will not work?" the mother eagle thought. Despite her fears, the eagle knew it was time. Her parental mission was almost complete. There remained one final task—the push.

    The mother eagle drew courage from an innate wisdom. Until her young discovered their wings, there was no purpose for their lives. Until they learned how to soar, they would fail to understand the privilege it was to have been born an eagle. The push was the greatest gift the mother eagle had to offer. It was her supreme act of love. And so one by one she pushed them…and they flew!
David McNally

 

Calamities Can Bring

    "Calamities can bring growth and Enlightenment," said the Master. And he explained like this:

    "Each day a bird would shelter in the withered branches of a tree that stood in the middle of a vast deserted plain. One day a whirlwind uprooted the tree, forcing the poor bird to fly a hundred miles in search of shelter—till it finally reached a forest of fruit-laden trees."

    The Master concluded, "If the withered tree had survived, nothing would have induced the bird to give up its security and fly."
Anthony de Mello, SJ

 

 

The Oak & the Reeds

    There is an old fable in which the mighty oak tree which stood for over one hundred years finally was blown over by a storm. The tree feel into a river that floated it downstream until it came to rest among the reeds growing along the riverbank. The fallen giant asked the reeds in amazement, "How is it that you were able to weather the storm that was too powerful for me, an oak tree, to withstand?"
    The reeds replied, "All these years you stubbornly resisted the winds that swept your way. You took such pride in your strength that you refused to yield, even a little bit. We, on the other hand, have not resisted the winds, but have always bent with them. We recognized the superior power of the wind and so, the harder the wind blew the more we humbled ourselves before it." 
Anonymous

May 2009

Click here to listen to FLOWERS OF THE RAREST (Queen of the May)

 

A Lesson for Living

     The legendary country singer, Johnny Cash was addicted to drugs in the 1960s and went to jail several times. Cash says he overcame his addiction by renewing his faith. He tells how a shoeshine man taught him a lesson for living back in 1956 but, unfortunately, it took several more years for him to really understand the lesson.
     "I was expecting a fast, snappy job like the young folks do," Cash said, "and he was going about his job real slow. I said to him, ‘You don't seem to be doing too much snapping.'
     "That shoeshine man looked up at me sort of sideways and said, ‘That's the problem with the world these days— there's too much snapping and not enough shining.'"
Johnny Cash

Cleaning Out Our Wardrobes

    There comes a time when we must clean out the wardrobe of our life so that we may have room for items that will enhance our life. Let’s search the wardrobes of our lives and make a trip to the wastebasket.

    Throw away any hatred that may be lurking there and be sure to toss out jealousy, bad attitudes, dishonesty, complaints, sin and hypocrisy.

    Before you finish, throw away that grudge you’ve been carrying against someone. Make room to add love, honesty, forgiveness and kindness–not to mention thankfulness for all God’s blessings. Go on and make room for reverence and respect for God from whom all good gifts come.

    Stand back and look: Your life’s wardrobe is looking better, isn’t it? Take a moment today to spring clean your heart. Ask God to come in and if He finds anything else that should not be there, to take it out so that you can live holy and right!
Anonymous

 

Mommy, Listen to Me!

    A mother and her five-year-old son were talking about what he learned in kindergarten that day. The mother let her mind wander while her son was speaking. He began tapping on her knee and said, "Mommy, listen to me!"

"But I am listening," replied the mother.

"No, you’re not," said her son, "You’re not in your eyes."
Anonymous

We Need to Feel More

"We need to feel more to understand others.
We need to love more to be loved back.
We need to cry more to cleanse ourselves.
We need to laugh more to enjoy ourselves.
We need to establish the valley of honesty and fairness when interacting with people.
We need to establish a strong ethical basis as a way of life.
We need to see more than our own little fantasies.
We need to hear more and listen to the needs of others.
We need to give more and take less.
We need to share more and own less.
We need to realize the importance of the family as a backbone to stability.
We need to look more and realize that we are not so different from one another.
We need to need to create a world where we can all peacefully live the life we choose.
We need to create a world where we can once again trust each other."
Susan Polis Schultz, Blue Mtn. Arts, 1989

 

 

When God Interrupts

    A woman was discussing with her spiritual director what God might be calling her to do with her life and what steps she should take next.

    The director listened carefully and then asked her what were her immediate plans. The woman responded that she had no plans; she would simply wait on God to give her a sign.

    The director asked her to reflect on some Bible passages and how God’s call was experienced by others. At their next meeting, the woman announced that she now had a part-time job, although she felt that God was calling her, ultimately, to something else.

    "What made you decide to get a job?" the director inquired.

    "Well," the woman replied, "I discovered that God interrupts. It seemed to me that every time God called somebody in the Bible to do something, they were already busy doing something else."
Anonymous

The Dismissal Rite

    A C.C.D. teacher asked students in her Confirmation class which part of the Liturgy, or Mass, was the most important part. She was not prepared for the answer from one of the students.

    The youth said, "The Dismissal Rite is the most important part of the Mass."

    "Why do you say that?" asked the teacher.

    The teenager replied, "The purpose of the Eucharist is to nourish us with the Word of the Lord and the Body and Blood of the Lord, so that we may go forth to bear witness to the Lord and to bring the kingdom of God into existence."

    The student continued, "The Eucharist does not end with the Dismissal Rite. In a sense, it begins with it. We must go forth and proclaim to the world what the disciples of Emmaus did. We must proclaim that Jesus is risen. We must proclaim that Jesus lives on."

    The youth was absolutely correct.

    This is the message the world needs to hear. This is the message the world must hear. If we don’t deliver this message to the world, we have failed in our mission as Jesus’ disciples. In a very true sense, the Dismissal Rite is the most important part of the Mass.

Fr. Mark Link, S.J

 

APRIL 2009

 

Why Not Choose Greatness?

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

    We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

    You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the Glory of God within us.

    It’s not just in some of us: it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Nelson Mandela

Wisdom
"Before you speak, listen.
Before you write, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you invest, investigate.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Before you retire, save
Before you die, give."

William Arthur Ward

Wisdom of Leaving Out

The famed architect-designer, Stanford White, once shocked an editor by the high price he charged for a magazine cover design.

    Although he had spent much thought in preparing the design, its classic simplicity caused his customer to wonder at the bill of $500—a goodly sum at the turn of the 1900s.

    "I’d say that was a pretty steep price for such a plain design," said the editor.

    "The price," explained White, "was for knowing what to leave out."

    The wisdom to know what to leave out of our own lives is something worth striving for.
The Christophers

 Wisdom of Leaving Out (2)
Knowledge is knowing that a Tomato is a fruit
Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad!

The Peace of Christ

"The peace of Christ…causes us to live passionate, connected, authentic lives. We will choose endurance rather than avoidance, and integrity rather than conformity. With Christ’s peace, we become people of the resurrection, riding the ups and downs of our particular destiny with the bedrock assurance that every Good Friday moment of our lives will be raised up into an Easter event."
Nancy F. Summners

My Mission
   "God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it—if I do but keep His commandments."
Cardinal Newman

Green Bough & Singing Birds
    A Chinese proverb expresses this truth: "If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come."

    Here are five "green boughs" we should strive to keep in our hearts:

    The green bough of Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is not only contagious, it is attractive. The singing bird of success is drawn toward the green bough of enthusiasm. Where there is enthusiasm, there is excitement, and where there is positive excitement, there is more joy in the job, more sparkle in the eye, and more zest in living.

    The green bough of Kindness. Kindness is the Golden Rule in action. Surely what the world needs now is more kindness. The green boughs of kindness grow from the tree of love, and when we truly love others, kindness is natural and instinctive. We should remember the little girl’s prayer: "God, help the bad people be good…and please help the good people to be nice."

    The green bough of Generosity. Our lives sing with joy when we generously share ourselves, our talents and resources in loving service to others. Generosity is the secret of happiness; it is the golden key that unlocks the gates of joy, fulfillment and life more abundant.

    The green bough of Humor. It has been said that if we learn to laugh at ourselves we will always be amused. The green bough of humor helps us to laugh at ourselves even when we make a faux pas, when we goof up, when we trip over our tongues…

    The green bough of Gratitude. Green boughs of gratitude provide the perfect home for the bluebirds of happiness. With gratitude in our hearts, there can be no room for self-pity, resentment or bitterness. Gratitude attracts more blessings—especially when we humbly and joyfully express our thanksgiving to our God and to those who have encouraged and inspired us.

William Arthur Ward

March 2009

 

quotes to inspire

St Patrick
For most of us the picture of a white-bearded personage banishing a wriggling snake covers a great deal of what we know about Saint Patrick. However, "[t]here were never any snakes in Ireland, and so our saint was under no necessity to banish them. Now the Norse word for toad is paud; coming to Ireland they noticed there were no such creatures there. They heard of a man whose name was Paudrig, and they thought that this meant ‘toad-expeller,’ and out of this misunderstanding came the legend of Patrick’s banishing not only toads but snakes. Of course that helped to add veneration to his name, for the snake was the emblem of evil. And so the most popular of the stories about Ireland’s apostle has a Norse and not an Irish origin.
"We have got to get past both the shamrock and the snake to perceive what sort of man the apostle really was. He was a man of great conviction, great energy, great charity; he combined great visionary power with a practical sense and a soldierly audacity; he could have been a good general and a remarkable poet. He was a saint because he loved men and loved God."
Padraic Colum
                               

"May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you."
Irish Blessing

How to get things done
Don’t put it off a day—start it.
Don’t imagine it as too difficult—start it.
Don’t look for someone else to do it—start it.
Don’t think it over—start it.
And don’t start halfheartedly, put everything you can muster into your start.
Anon

Meet the Shadow    
"Carl Jung used the term Shadow to designate that part of our mind containing those things that we would rather not own up to: traits that we are not only trying to hide from others but also from ourselves, that we are continually trying to sweep under the rug of consciousness. He ascribed the root of individual human evil to one’s ‘refusal to meet the shadow.’"

Lesson from a Turtle
"There was a boy who found a turtle. He started to examine it but the turtle pulled in its head and closed its shell like a vice. The boy was upset and he picked up a stick to try to pry it open.

The boy's uncle saw all this and remarked, 'No, that's not the way! In fact, you may kill the turtle but you'll not get it to open up with a stick.'
The uncle took the terrapin into the house and set it near the fireplace. It wasn't but a few minutes until it began to get warm. Then the turtle pushed out its head, then stretched out its legs and began to crawl. ‘Turtles are like that,' said the uncle, ‘and people, too. You can't force them into anything. But if you first warm them up with some real kindness, more than likely, they will do what you want them to do.'"
Anon

A Balanced Life
  "When patients complete tests at the Mayo Clinic (USA) they are given a card on which there is a diagram in the from of a cross. On each arm of the cross appears a word indicating a main factor in leading a balanced life. The four words: Work, Play, Love and Worship."

Someone else
The church was grief-stricken last week to learn that one of the most valuable parish members, Someone Else, had passed away. This death created a vacancy that would be difficult to fill. Someone Else has been with the church for many years. During all these years, she did far more than a normal person’s share of work. Whenever leadership was mentioned, this wonderful person was looked to for inspiration as well as results.
    Whenever there was a job to do—a committee to chair, or a meeting to attend—one name was on everyone’s list: "Let Someone Else do it."
    Someone Else was also among the largest givers of the church. Whenever there was a financial need, everyone just assumed that Someone Else would make up the difference.
    This beloved church member was a wonderful person, sometimes appearing super-human; but a person can only do so much. Everybody expected too much of Someone Else; depended on her too much.
    Now Someone Else is gone. Who will pitch in to do the things that Someone Else had done? If you are asked to serve on a committee, to assist a service organization, to help out, to donate to the church fund, it is hoped you won’t reply: "Let Someone Else do it." Just who will pick up where Someone Else had left off?
Anon

 

May God Bless You
"May God bless you with unspeakable joy, not only in the world to come, but in this world also.
May your path be bright and full of light everywhere you go.
May God tell darkness that it must flee at your command.
And, I pray your feet will never stumble out of God’s plan.
May the desires of your heart come true.
And may you experience peace in everything you do.
May goodness, kindness, and mercy come your way.
And may you gain wisdom and grow in the Lord everyday."
Anon

Never to be Silent
"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation, We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
Elie Wiesel

Paganini’s Violin
The great violinist, Nicolo Paganini, willed his exquisite violin to Genoa—the city of his birth—but only on the condition that the instrument never be played again. It was an unfortunate condition, for it is a characteristic of wood that as long as it is used and handled, it shows little decline in quality. However, as soon as it is set aside in storage, it begins to decay.
The fabulous, mellow-toned violin became worm-eaten stored in its gorgeous case, valueless now except as a relic. The deteriorating instrument is a reminder that gifts and talents are tools meant to be used, not treasures to be stored up. Likewise, a life withdrawn from love and service to others loses its meaning.
Anon

On Enthusiasm
"Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object.
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

One’s Spirituality
"Everyone has a spirituality, for spirituality is the lifestyle that flows out of what we believe. It is more than prayer or certain religious experiences, it is a entire way of thinking and acting."
Fr. Ed Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac

Flood of Grace
Behold, now is the acceptable time (2 Cor. 6:2).
"Lent…flows in on us with a flood of grace that is ours for accepting. But we may miss it if we fail to realize that grace is hidden in the now of our every day, the now of our ordinary days. ‘Now is the very acceptable time.’ Our good resolutions for Lent need to be concerned with that now. Tomorrow is not a good day to begin. None of us has a promise of tomorrow. Our lives do not exist in yesterday, nor in tomorrow. Now is the only time God gives us for doing anything, the only time we can call our own, the only time in which we really have to live our lives."
Sr. Mary Terese Donze, ASC

Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction
Antoine de Saint Exupery

Love is Patient …
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
I Corinthians 13:4-8)

 

An Advent Examination

"Advent is the perfect time to clear and prepare the Way. Advent is a winter training camp for those who desire peace. By reflection and prayer, by reading and meditation, we can make our hearts a place where a blessing of peace would desire to abide and where the birth of the Prince of Peace might take place.
    Daily we can make an Advent examination. Are there any feelings of discrimination toward race, sex, or religion? Is there a lingering resentment, an unforgiven injury living in our hearts? Do we look down upon others of lesser social standing or educational achievement? Are we generous with the gifts that have been given to us, seeing ourselves as their stewards and not their owners? Are we reverent of others, their ideas and needs, and of creation? These and other questions become Advent lights by which we may search the deep, dark corners of our hearts."
Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac

Memory Awakens Hope
"Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.…
It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope."
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger,(Pope Benedict)

 

Christmas Wisdom
"Christmas is more than a time of music, merriment and mirth;
it is a season of meditation, mangers and miracles.
Christmas is more than a time of carols, cards and candy;
it is a season of dedication and decision."
William Arthur Ward

The Presence of Christmas
"Christmas is not just a season,
Christmas is not just a day,
Christmas is more than a reason
For parties, presents and play.

Christmas is truly the essence
Of joy that the Savior brings;
Christmas is surely the presence
Of Jesus, the Kings of Kings!"
William Arthur Ward

 

Christmas Is For Adults
"The real reason for celebrating Christmas is that it happened once. And that one time changed the world. The infant born that first Christmas grew in wisdom and age and strength; he suffered and died and rose again; and he saved his people from their sins.



This saving feast, for once and for all, has given birth to a special child who becomes the model and pattern for our human growth and wholeness. The real secret of Christmas–if we must treat it as a secret–is that the feast is for…adults!"
Wm. Freburger


Take Time to be Aware
"Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present.
An old abbot was fond of saying, ‘The devil is always the most active on the highest feast days.’
The supreme trick of Old Scratch is to have us so busy decorating, preparing food, practicing music and cleaning in preparation for the feast of Christmas that we actually miss the coming of Christ. Hurt feelings, anger, impatience, injured egos—the list of clouds that busyness creates to blind us to the birth can be long, but it is familiar to us all."
Edward Hays

 

Affirmations of Christmas

I believe that Christmas is more than a time for parties and ornaments; it is a time for remembering Christ and the incarnation of God’s love in human flesh.

I believe there are gifts more important than the ones under the Christmas tree, the things we teach our children, the way we share ourselves with friends, and the industry with which we set about reshaping the world in our time.

I believe that the finest carols are often sung by the poorest voices; from hearts made warm by the wonder of the season.

I believe in the angel’s message that we should not be afraid—that the Child of Bethlehem is able to overcome all anxieties and insecurities.

I believe in prayer and quietness as a way of appropriating Christmas—that if I wait in silence I will experience the presence of the one born in the manger, for he lives today as surely as he lived then.

I believe in going away from Christmas as the wise men went: "another way." I want to be different when these days are past—more centered, more thoughtful, more caring.

And I believe God will help me. Amen.
Anonymous

 

 

A November FeelingAll Saints

November is the season to settle down before the fireplace and look back, to remember and to be grateful. Also, it can be seen as the in-between season, the lull period—post harvest and pre-Christmas. It is the month when the leaves have fallen, and the weather turns gray. November is a time for saints, for poor souls, for veterans and for giving thanks.

The lectionary readings have a "November" feeling to them, an "end time" peal, but filled with hope. This is a time to remember and look back on our life—What kind of memories are there from this past year? What direction is your life now heading? Ask yourself "Where am I now, and where should I be? The real question to be asked in November is not if there is life after death, but is there life before death.

As John H. Rhoads wrote:
"Do more than exist, live.
Do more than touch, feel.
Do more than look, observe.
Do more than read, absorb.
Do more than hear, listen.
Do more than think, ponder.
Do more than talk, say something."

It is written, "God is not a God of the dead but of the living." Are you among the living? Are you alive for God? Anonymous

Autumn
"I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its leaves are a little yellow, its tone mellower, its colors richer, and it is tinged a little with sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor of the power of summer, but the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and is content. -Lin Yutang

On Learning & Wisdom   
The Master was an advocate both of learning and of Wisdom.
 "Learning," he said when asked, "is gotten by reading books or listening to lectures."
"And Wisdom?"
 "By reading the book that is you."
He added as an afterthought: "Not an easy task at all, for every minute of the day brings a new edition of the book!"
Anthony de Mello, SJ

 

Spiritual Reading
"Spiritual reading is the discipline through which we enter the company of the saints in order to glean their wisdom and to receive their guidance toward spiritual maturity. Yet spiritual reading of scripture or other texts does not follow the ‘strip-mining method’ we so often apply to written material. The aim in spiritual reading is not to scour the pages for valuable nuggets of insight with which we can turn a spiritual profit. Rather, spiritual reading is a form of dwelling in the words, listening attentively for what God is saying to us in the unique circumstances of our life."
Anon

Father, We Thank You

"For this new morning with its light,
         Father, we thank you.

For rest and shelter of the night,
         Father, we thank you.

For health and food, for love and friends,

For everything your goodness sends,
         Father, in heaven, we thank you."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanksgiving Prayers

"For the haunting rhythm of our universe,
         we thank you, Creator and Lord.
For the still-reaching reachers of our world,
         we thank you, Creator and Lord.
For giving us a history and a destiny,
         we thank you, Redeemer and Lord.
For becoming yourself, a man among men,
         we thank you, Redeemer and Lord.
For drawing us into the mystery of life and love,
         we thank you, Spirit and Lord.
For touching us with stars and blades of grass,
         we thank you, Spirit and Lord."
Prayer of Christians

 

People are Like…
"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within."
Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

 

 

AUTUMN

O Lord, it is time

The summer was so vast

Put your shadows on the sundials

And in the fields let the wind loose.

Order the last fruits to become ripe

Give them two more sunny days

Push them to fulfillment

And force the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

He who has no house now will not build one

He who is alone will be so for a long time to come

Will stay awake, read, write long letters

And restlessly walk in the park among the blown leaves.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~
(Translated by Charlotte Schmid)

 

Instrument of Peace    
"The gospel is full of reassurances to us, some of them startling. You are salt of the world! You are light to all the world! These words were exciting to those who heard them. Things might be dark but they are to be the light of the world. They were given a new sense of their value as persons. Of these none was greater than Francis of Assisi. He might well have prayed:

To those who have lost their way, let me restore it to
     them.
To those who are aimless, let me bring purpose.
To those who do not know who they are, let me teach
     them that they are the children of God and can be used as His instruments in the never ending work
     of  healing and redemption.

There are therefore two things for us to do. The first is never to doubt that God can use us if we are willing to be used, no matter what our weaknesses. The second is to see that God can use any other person who is willing to be used, whatever his weaknesses, and if need be, to assure him of this truth." Alan Paton

Who Sets Your Standards

    There was an older guy who decided to jog around the local high school football field. As he huffed and puffed along, the team was practicing.
The players soon started running sprints up and down the field. The man told himself, "I’ll just keep running until they quit." So he ran, and they ran, and he ran some more, and they kept running. The old man kept running until he could finally run no longer.
He stopped in exhaustion. One of the players, equally exhausted, approached him and said, "Boy, am I glad you finally stopped, Mister. Coach told us we had to keep running wind sprints as long as the old guy was jogging."
He was watching them; they were watching him. He was letting them set his standard; they allowed him to set theirs.
   

 

  Reverent Attentiveness

  "The very impulse that causes some to look for revelations and unusual signs is present in many, perhaps most, religious people to some degree.…What we really need is not extraordinary signs of this presence in visions and revelations, but a sense of reverent attentiveness to this religious experience as it comes to us in ordinary ways.…As St. Augustine poignantly wrote: ‘The only thing I really fear is Jesus passing by.’" Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR

CLOCKS GO BACK!    

'Spring Forward' and 'Fall Back' - that's how to remember when to change the clocks.
This year, 2008, we 'Go Back' early Sunday morning October 26 - so remember to put your clocks back one hour, officially at 1am GMT (2am BST) or for some of us that will be before we go to sleep on Saturday night!

 

September 2008

 

Please Click on the 'Footprints' link below.
Footprints

Be Patient
"I want to beg you as much as I can, to be patient to all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…Do not seek now answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live with them.
And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then someday without knowing it live along gradually into the answer…
Take whatever comes with great trust, and if only it comes out of your own will, out of some need of your innermost being, take it into yourself…and hate nothing."
Rainer Maria Rilke

Your Thoughts   

Sharpening My Axe
Two lumberjacks were in a tree-cutting contest. Both were strong and determined, hoping to win the prize. But one was hardworking and ambitious, chopping down every tree in his path at the fastest pace possible, while the other appeared to be a little more laid back, methodically felling trees and pacing himself.

The go-getter worked all day, skipping his lunch break, expecting that his superior effort would be rewarded. His opponent, however, took an hour-long lunch; then resumed his steady pace.

In the end, the eager beaver was dismayed to lose to his "lazier" competition. Thinking he deserved to win after his hard work, he finally approached his opponent and said, "I just don’t understand. I worked longer and harder than you, and went hungry to get ahead. You took a break, and yet you still won. It just doesn’t seem fair. Where did I go wrong?"

The winner responded, "While I was taking my lunch break, I was sharpening my axe
Harvey MacKay

A Way of Prayer   
"Our life with God is like a growing, living thing which springs from the seed of the living word of God. Allow that seed to be planted in your life each day through prayer and reading and reflecting on Scripture. In the darkness of today’s world, many have lost all sense of God’s nearness and love…We need to be a light for all those with whom we live, but we can only be that light if we are praying with faith every day
Harvey MacKay

 

July 2008

 

Please Click on the link below for a thought provoking slide show!

http://parentswish.com/site01/big.html

 

"Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not count the cost;
to fight and not heed the wounds;
to toil and not seek for rest;
to labor and not ask for reward, except to know
that I am doing your will."
St. Ignatius of Loyola

"Inspiration is everywhere in life, but we need to recognize it. Whatever strikes a special chord of awareness within us will prompt greater accomplishments .… Anon

Awareness is noticing the blessings that often get overlooked in our busy lives. It is waking up with a song of rejoicing in our hearts and taking that song with us throughout our day. Gratitude for a special blessing can inspire us to look further and discover even more good in our lives. As we are inspired, let us also be inspiring to others. By living our lives according to the truth as we know it, everything we say and do is uplifting." Anon.

"Character is not something you were born with and can’t change like your fingerprint. In fact, because you weren’t born with it, it is something that you must take responsibility for creating. I don’t believe that adversity by itself builds character and I certainly don’t think that success erodes it. Character is built by how you respond to what happens in your life. Whether it’s winning every game or losing every game, getting rich or dealing with times, you build character out of certain qualities that you must create and diligently nurture within yourself.…You’ve got to look for those things in your heart and in your gut. You’ve got to chisel away in order to find them. Just like chiseling away the rock in order to create the sculpture that has previously existed only in your imagination." Jim Rohn – American Philosopher

 

"Having endowed people with the power to make choices, God always respects human freedom. To force people to conform to His will, to order events in such a way as to absolve people of their responsibility, would dehumanize them. For freedom distinguishes human beings from animals.
    The power to make free choices—to exercise the human will—is a precious and terrible power. We can use it to fulfill ourselves or to destroy ourselves. Used rightly, free choice is a share in God’s own creativity." Anon

"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest."
Mark Twain

  • Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today.
  • Never trouble another with what you can do yourself.
  • Never spend your money before you have it.
  • Never buy a thing you do not want because it is cheap, it will be dear to you.
  • Take care of your cents. Dollars will take care of themselves.
  • Pride costs more than hunger, thirst or cold.
  • We never repent of eating too little.
  • Nothing is troublesome that one does willingly.
  • Take things always by the smooth handle.
  • Think so as to please, and so let others if you will have no disputes.
  • When angry, count to 10 before you speak, if very angry, count to 100.
    Thomas Jefferson - American Philosopher

"Today is mine. It is unique.
Nobody in the world has one exactly like it.
It holds the sum of all my past experiences and all my future potential.
I can fill it with joyous moments or ruin it with fruitless worry.
If painful recollections of the past come into my mind, or frightening thoughts of the future, I can put them away.
They cannot spoil today for me." Alcoholics Anonymous

 

 

  • The great awareness comes slowly, piece by piece. The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning. The experience of spiritual power is basically a joyful one. M. Scott-Peck

  • Interview with God

  • As my prayer became more attentive and inward
    I had less and less to say.
    I finally became completely silent.
    I started to listen
    which is even further removed from speaking.
    I first thought that praying entailed speaking.
    I then learnt that praying is hearing,
    Not merely being silent.
    That is how it is,
    To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking.
    Prayer involves becoming silent,
    and being silent,
    and waiting until God is heard. Sören Kierkegaard

  • Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to all people. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.…
        It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope." Cardinal Ratzinger – Pope Benedict
  • What people get admired and appreciated for in community are their soft skills: their sense of humor and timing, their ability to listen, their courage and honesty, their capacity for empathy." M Scott-Peck
  • The choice is up to you. Just choose to live each day as two others of long ago prayed they might live, two others who were surely special messengers of God. Take time to memorize their humble pleas…
    ‘Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    Where there is injury, pardon;
    Where there is doubt, faith;
    Where there is despair, hope;
    Where there is darkness, light;
    and where there is sadness, joy.’
    ‘I shall pass through this world but once, any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect, for I shall not pass this way again.’
    There is a better way to live…Choose to use it!"
    Og Mandino,
  • Going far beyond the call of duty, doing more than others expect…this is what excellence is all about. And it comes from striving, maintaining the highest standards, looking after the smallest detail, and going the extra mile. Excellence means doing your very best—every day, in everything." Anon.

JANUARY 2006

  • "Long after the angels disappear into the heavens, the shepherds return to their flocks, the magi journey home and the great star sets, Jesus remains. The Child in whom we rediscover God’s great love for humanity becomes the adult Redeemer who challenges us to imitate his selflessness and compassion in order that we might transform our world in love…May we allow the miracle of Christmas to continue long after the holiday trappings have been packed away; may we welcome the adult Messiah and his challenging Gospel to recreate our lives, making the peace, justice and hope of this holy season a reality in every season of the new year." CONNECTIONS

 

  • "The month of January is named after the ancient Roman god, Janus. He is depicted as having two faces. One face looks backward into the past; the other looks forward into the future.
        Janus is an appropriate personification of the start of the new year. As we move out of an old year and look toward a new one we can try to be a little like Janus.
        Through remembering we know what we did wrong in the past year and what we did right, and as we look to the new year we have hope that we can do better this year." Complete Speaker’s Almanac (adapted)

 

  • "Hope for the moment. There are times when it is hard to believe in the future, when we are temporarily just not brave enough. When this happens, concentrate on the present…Sink roots into the present until the strength grows to think about tomorrow." Whitman

 

  • Five Simple Rules to Be Happy
 

"Five simple rules to be happy:
     1. Free your heart from hatred.
     2. Free your mind from worries.
     3. Live simply.
     4. Give more.
     5. Expect less." Anonymous

 

  • "We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us." Marcel Proust
  • First, we would do well to emphasize once again the need for meditation in the life of anyone who seeks to make progress in the journey to God. This need is for a meditation that is a prayerful reflection upon the Word of God and also for meditation that, in the centering tradition, brings one into the presence of God within ." Keith Egan
  • "The optimist lives on the peninsula of infinite possibilities;
    the pessimist is stranded on the island of perpetual indecision."
 

"Optimism is a seed sown in the soil of faith;
pessimism is a seed hoarded in the vault of doubt."

"Optimists enrich the present, enhance the future,
challenge the improbable and attain the impossible."
William Arthur Ward

  • "The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary, and even humble, individual—for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battlebetween good and evil is waged, and ultimately won or lost." M Scott Peck

  • A woman was discussing with her spiritual director what God might be calling her to do with her life and what steps she should take next.
    The director listened carefully and then asked her what were her immediate plans. The woman responded that she had no plans; she would simply wait on God to give her a sign.
    The director asked her to reflect on some Bible passages and how God’s call was experienced by others. At their next meeting, the woman announced that she now had a part-time job, although she felt that God was calling her, ultimately, to something else.
    "What made you decide to get a job?" the director inquired.
    "Well," the woman replied, "I discovered that God interrupts. It seemed to me that every time God called somebody in the Bible to do something, they were already busy doing something else." Anon.

  • "Having endowed people with the power to make choices, God always respects human freedom. To force people to conform to His will, to order events in such a way as to absolve people of their responsibility, would dehumanize them. For freedom distinguishes human beings from animals.    
    The power to make free choices—to exercise the human will—is a precious and terrible power. We can use it to fulfill ourselves or to destroy ourselves. Used rightly, free choice is a share in God’s own creativity." Faith Today

  • "Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." Mark Twain

  • There is an old fable in which the mighty oak tree which stood for over one hundred years finally was blown over by a storm. The tree feel into a river that floated it downstream until it came to rest among the reeds growing along the riverbank. The fallen giant asked the reeds in amazement, "How is it that you were able to weather the storm that was too powerful for me, an oak tree, to withstand?"
    The reeds replied, "All these years you stubbornly resisted the winds that swept your way. You took such pride in your strength that you refused to yield, even a little bit. We, on the other hand, have not resisted the winds, but have always bent with them. We recognized the superior power of the wind and so, the harder the wind blew the more we humbled ourselves before it." Anon

  • May you be blessed Movie Please Click to play this beautiful movie
  • "The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary, and even humble, individual—for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged, and ultimately won or lost."
    Change of Heart M. Scott Peck

  • "Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow."
    Time to Grow Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Daily pressures can peeve, provoke, and perturb us;
    private prayers can strengthen, steady, and support us."
    Pressures & Prayer William Arthur Ward

  • Use every letter you write,
    Every conversation you have,
    Every meeting you attend,
    to express your fundamental beliefs and dreams. Affirm to others the vision of the world you want. You are a free, immensely powerful source of life and goodness. Affirm it, spread it, radiate it. Think day and night about it, and you will see a miracle happen: The Greatness of Your Own Life!"
    Strive for Greatness Anonymous

  • Nobody made a greater mistake than they who did nothing because they could only do a little."
    A Greater Mistake Edmund Burke

  • For confidence to arise on earth, it is important that it begin in oneself: to walk with a reconciled heart, to live in peace with those around us. Peace on earth is prepared in the measure that each one of us dares to ask: am I prepared to seek interior peace, ready to go forward in selflessness?…"
    Seek Interior Peace Brother Roger of Taizé

  • In the late 1700s, the manager of a large hotel in Baltimore refused lodging to a man dressed like a farmer. He turned the farmer away because he thought this fellow’s shabby appearance would discredit the reputation of his distinguished hotel guests. The man picked up his bag and left without saying a further word to anyone.
Later that evening, the innkeeper discovered that he had turned away none other than the Vice President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson! Immediately, the manager sent a note of apology to the famed patriot, asking him to come back and be his guest in the hotel. Jefferson replied by instructing the messenger as follows, “Tell him I have already reserved a room. I value his good intentions highly but if he has no room for a common American farmer, then he has no room for the Vice President of the United States.”
 

How often have you been so blind that you’ve pushed people aside because you disregarded their humble circumstances? They may seem to have so little to offer you in return, but, remember, we are exhorted to show a little kindness to the least of these.
No Room for a Farmer Anonymous

December 2006

  • "Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.

    Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict)

  • "We seek help for what we cannot face or accomplish alone; in seeking help, we accept and admit our own powerlessness. And in that acceptance and admission, in the acknowledgment that we are not in control, spirituality is born.
 

Spirituality is Born . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ernest Kurtz

  • "Christmas is not just a season,
    Christmas is not just a day,
    Christmas is more than a reason
    For parties, presents and play.
 

Christmas is truly the essence
Of joy that the Savior brings;
Christmas is surely the presence
Of Jesus, the Kings of Kings!"

The Presence of Christmas . . . . . . . . . William Arthur Ward

  • Pope John Paul II in his Angelus message on 12/19/04 said: "The traditional ‘Christmas tree’ is a very ancient custom which exalts the value of life, as in winter the evergreen becomes a sign of undying life. In general, the tree is decorated and Christmas gifts are placed under it. The symbol is also eloquent from a typically Christian point of view: It reminds us of the ‘tree of life’ (see Genesis 2:9), representation of Christ, God’s supreme gift to humanity.
 

"The message of the Christmas tree, therefore, is that life is ‘ever green’ if one gives: not so much material things, but of oneself: in friendship and sincere affection, and fraternal help and forgiveness, in shared time and reciprocal listening."
Message of the Christmas Tree . . . . . . . Pope John Paul II

 

Bells on Christmas Day

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to all!

And thought how, as the day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to all!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to all!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to all!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good will to all!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to all."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep.
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!
The wrong shall fail,
The right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to all!"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Passport to Life
"A knowledge of the path
cannot be substituted
for putting one foot
in front of the other."

It’s not what we know
that makes our lives better,
but what we are willing
to do with the knowledge.

May you never be willing
to let a map take the place
of the journey.

And may you also be aware
that you are loved beyond measure
and a cherished blessing to me.

May your day be filled with all things good.

 

The Frozen Eagle

Once a proud eagle perched on the tip of an iceberg floating swiftly down the river. The big bird seemed oblivious to the tremendous waterfall that lay ahead. At the same time, a hunter was walking down a path along the river’s edge. Seeing the huge bird perched on the iceberg, the hunter clapped his hands and cried out, "Brother Eagle, fly away, fly away. There is danger ahead!"
    The eagle merely shrugged its great wings as if to say, "Don’t bother me. I know what I’m doing."
    As the iceberg floated closer to the waterfall, the hunter again cried out, "Fly away, Brother Eagle! There is a waterfall ahead!"
    Again the eagle merely shrugged its wings, as if to say, "Don’t bother me. I can take care of myself."
    At the moment, the eagle looked down just in time to see that the iceberg had reached the brink of the waterfall and was about to go over the edge. It spread its mighty wings and prepared for immediate take-off. But the eagle was unable to rise. Its claws were frozen to the ice and it went down with the iceberg.

LENT

"Beyond knowing there is doing, and doing spotlights moral conversion. Moral conversion is turning from advantage to goodness. It is coming to choose and act reasonably rather than pragmatically. The basic thrust of moral conversion is to transcend selfishness.

    …The ground of authenticity, in other words, is transcendence towards honesty and love without restriction. And, that is what religious conversion entails. It is a surrender to Mystery, to honesty and love’s More."
Ground of Authenticity . . . John Carmody, The Progressive Pilgrim

 

WISE MEN AND WOMEN
"Wise men and women are not always silent,
but know when to be."

 

IT COULDN'T BE DONE

"Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
But, he with a chuckle replied
That ‘maybe it couldn’t,’ but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
Somebody scoffed: ‘Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one has done it;’

But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to prophesy failure
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle it in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That ‘couldn’t be done’, and you’ll do it."
Edgar Guest

 

Pacem in Terris

"May He banish from the hearts of all men and women whatever might endanger peace.
May He transform them into witnesses of truth, justice and love.

May He enkindle the rulers of peoples so that in addition to their solicitude for the proper welfare of their citizens, they may guarantee and defend the great gift of peace.

May He enkindle the wills of all so that they may overcome the barriers that divide, cherish the bonds of mutual charity, understand others, and pardon those who have done them wrong.

May all peoples of the earth become as brothers and sisters, and may the most longed-for peace blossom forth and reign always among men and women."
Pope John XXIII (1963)

 

Judgment in All Its Seasons

According to an ancient fable, there was a king who wanted to discourage his four sons from making rash judgments. At his command, the eldest son made a winter journey to see a mango tree across the valley. When spring came, the next oldest was sent on the same journey. Summer followed and the third son was sent. After the youngest made his visit to the mango tree in the autumn, the king called them together and asked each son to describe the tree.

    The first son said it looked like an old stump. The second disagreed, describing it as lovely—large and green. The third son declared its blossoms were as beautiful as roses. The fourth son said that they were all wrong. To him it was a tree filled with fruit—luscious, juicy fruit, like a pear.

    "Well, each of you is right," the old king said. Seeing the puzzled look in their eyes, the king went on to explain. "You see, each of you saw the mango tree in a different season, thus you all correctly described what you saw. The lesson," said the king, "is to withhold your judgment until you have seen the tree in all its seasons."

    The wisdom of this fable might be applied to the circumstances and situations in our lives as well, to withhold judgment until we have a better understanding of all the conditions.

 

April 2008

 

One’s Spirituality
Fr. Ed Hays,
A Pilgrim’s Almanac

"Everyone has a spirituality, for spirituality is the lifestyle that flows out of what we believe. It is more than prayer or certain religious experiences, it is a entire way of thinking and acting."

 

 

Voyage of Discovery
Marcel Proust

"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

 

Don’t Judge the Composer
Source Unknown

When visiting in a parish neighborhood, a pastor stopped at a house and asked the man who lived there to visit his church the next Sunday, mentioning at the same time that the man’s neighbor went to that same church. On hearing this, the man said he would never go to that church because he wanted nothing to do with a religion that would have a man like his neighbor in it. In fact, he said, his neighbor was the worst neighbor he ever had.

The pastor, seeing that the man had a piano, asked the man’s young daughter if she would play a piece by Beethoven that was on the piano. The man said that Beethoven’s music was far too advanced for his daughter. Still the pastor insisted, and the girl gave it a try. Needless to say, she butchered Beethoven.

After the daughter was finished, the pastor said, "Boy, that Beethoven sure wasn’t much of a composer was he?"

On hearing this, the man suddenly understood that he, too, had been judging the music of Christian living by the player rather than by the composer.

Let us all try to be good players, but let us not judge the composer by the player.

  

The Dismissal Rite
Fr. Mark Link, S.J.

Teacher asked students in her Confirmation class which part of the Liturgy, or Mass, was the most important part. She was not prepared for the answer from one of the students.

The youth said, "The Dismissal Rite is the most important part of the Mass."

"Why do you say that?" asked the teacher.

The teenager replied, "The purpose of the Eucharist is to nourish us with the Word of the Lord and the Body and Blood of the Lord, so that we may go forth to bear witness to the Lord and to bring the kingdom of God into existence."

The student continued, "The Eucharist does not end with the Dismissal Rite. In a sense, it begins with it. We must go forth and proclaim to the world what the disciples of Emmaus did. We must proclaim that Jesus is risen. We must proclaim that Jesus lives on."

The youth was absolutely correct.

This is the message the world needs to hear. This is the message the world must hear. If we don’t deliver this message to the world, we have failed in our mission as Jesus’ disciples. In a very true sense, the Dismissal Rite is the most important part of the Mass.

 

My Mission
Cardinal Newman

"God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it—if I do but keep His commandments."

 

 

 

 

 

January 2008

 

A Prayer for the New Year

Come, Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Risen Christ,
be with us today and always.
Be our Light, our Guide, and our Comforter.
Be our Strength, our Courage, and our Sanctifier.

May this new year be a time of deep spiritual growth for us,
a time of welcoming your graces and gifts,
a time for forgiving freely and unconditionally,
a time for growing in virtue and goodness.

Come, Holy Spirit,
Be with us today and always. Amen.

**********

"The most powerful thing you can do to change the world, is to change your own beliefs about the nature of life, people, reality to something more positive…and begin to act accordingly."
A New Year Pledge . . . . Shakti Gawain

**********

Take twelve fine, full-grown months; see that these are thoroughly free from old memories of bitterness, rancor and hate, cleanse them completely from every clinging spite; pick off all specks of pettiness and littleness; in short, see that these months are freed from all the past—have them fresh and clean as when they first came from the great storehouse of Time. Cut these months into thirty or thirty-one equal parts. Do not attempt to make up the whole batch at one time (so many persons spoil the entire lot this way) but prepare one day at a time.

    Into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, work (some people omit this ingredient and so spoil the flavor of the rest), hope, fidelity, liberality, kindness, rest (leaving this out is like leaving the oil out of the salad dressing—don’t do it), prayer, meditation, and one well-selected resolution. Put in about one teaspoonful of good spirits, a dash of fun, a pinch of folly, a sprinkling of play, and a heaping cupful of good humor.
Recipe for a Happy New Year . .. Anonymous

**********

A New Year Thought

"Long after the angels disappear into the heavens, the shepherds return to their flocks, the magi journey home and the great star sets, Jesus remains. The Child in whom we rediscover God's great love for humanity becomes the adult Redeemer who challenges us to imitate his selflessness and compassion in order that we might transform our world in love. . . May we allow the miracle of Christmas to continue long after the holiday trappings have been packed away; may we welcome the adult Messiah and his challenging Gospel to recreate our lives, making the peace, justice and hope of this holy season a reality in every season of the new year."

**********

 

 

 

 

DECEMBER 2007

"Advent, like its cousin Lent, is a season for prayer and reformation of our hearts. Since it comes at winter time, fire is a fitting sign to help us celebrate Advent…If Christ is to come more fully into our lives this Christmas, if God is to become really incarnate for us, then fire will have to be present in our prayer. Our worship and devotion will have to stoke the kind of fire in our souls that can truly change our hearts. Ours is a great responsibility not to waste this Advent time."
Fire of Advent . . . . Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac,

**********

I believe that Christmas is more than a time for parties and ornaments; it is a time for remembering Christ and the incarnation of God’s love in human flesh.

I believe there are gifts more important than the ones under the Christmas tree, the things we teach our children, the way we share ourselves with friends, and the industry with which we set about reshaping the world in our time.

I believe that the finest carols are often sung by the poorest voices; from hearts made warm by the wonder of the season.

I believe in the angel’s message that we should not be afraid—that the Child of Bethlehem is able to overcome all anxieties and insecurities.

I believe in prayer and quietness as a way of appropriating Christmas—that if I wait in silence I will experience the presence of the one born in the manger, for he lives today as surely as he lived then.

I believe in going away from Christmas as the wise men went: "another way." I want to be different when these days are past—more centered, more thoughtful, more caring.

And I believe God will help me. Amen.
Affirmations of Christmas: Anonymous

**********

"The real reason for celebrating Christmas is that it happened once. And that one time changed the world. The infant born that first Christmas grew in wisdom and age and strength; he suffered and died and rose again; and he saved his people from their sins.

This saving feast, for once and for all, has given birth to a special child who becomes the model and pattern for our human growth and wholeness. The real secret of Christmas–if we must treat it as a secret–is that the feast is for…adults!"
Wm. Freburger, "The Secret of Christmas,"

**********

"Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present.
    An old abbot was fond of saying, ‘The devil is always the most active on the highest feast days.’
    The supreme trick of Old Scratch is to have us so busy decorating, preparing food, practicing music and cleaning in preparation for the feast of Christmas that we actually miss the coming of Christ. Hurt feelings, anger, impatience, injured egos—the list of clouds that busyness creates to blind us to the birth can be long, but it is familiar to us all."
Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac

**********

"Luke’s Gospel account of the Christmas event is full of activity…And yet, in the middle of the frenetic action, here is this woman wrapped in mystical silence… She demonstrates the necessity of a quiet place within ourselves at Christmastime—that place where we are most ourselves in relation to God. It is a place of silence, not because it is untouched by all the activity of our lives, but because it is capable of wonder. Every prayer begins with silent wonder before it turns to words. Our first response to God is dumbstruck awe at who he is and what he has done for us."
Wm. Frebuger, "Making Christmas a Saving Event,"

**********

"There is an old Jewish-Christian tradition which says: God sends each person into this world with a special message to deliver, with a special song to sing for others, with an act of love to bestow.
    No one else can speak my message, or sing my song, or offer my act of love. These are entrusted only to me. According to this tradition, the message may be spoken, the song sung, the act of love delivered only to a few, or to all the folk in a small town, or to all the people in a large city, or even to all those in the whole world.
    It all depends on God’s unique plan for each person. To which we might add: The greatest gift of God, one would think, is the gift of life. The greatest sin of humans, it would seem, would be to return that gift, ungrateful and unopened."
A Special Message to Deliver - 'sowing seeds aplenty'

**********

"Meister Eckhart once said: ‘What good is it that Christ was born 2,000 years ago if he is not born now in your heart?’

"Lord, we do far too much celebrating your actual coming in our hearts. I believe in God, but do I believe in God-in-me? I believe in God in heaven, but do I believe in God-on-earth? I believe in God out there, but do I believe in God-with-us?
"Lord, be born in my heart. Come alive in me this Christmas! Amen."
Christmas Prayer Living Faith

**********

November 2007

Remembering our Deceased

Found in the dead soldier’s shirt pocket, over his heart, a newspaper clipping which the young man had apparently always carried with him. His buddy opened it, read it and cried again. The clipping said so much about what his friend believed about death and life.

So he sent the clipping home to the dead soldier’s parents, that they might be comforted by what their son believed, that his faith might help strengthen their faith, the clipping read something like this.

"We are standing on a shore. A large sailing ship is about to pull out. Friends and relatives of ours are standing on the deck, waving goodbye, throwing streamers, calling to us, calling our names. And we call to them and to each other. ‘Look, there’s Grandma…there’s Uncle Joe…there’s Uncle Bill.’ A bell sounds. The ships begins to move away.

"We stand silently for a very long time and watch as the ship goes further and further away until, finally, the mast is just a vertical pencil line on the distant horizon. Then it too goes down, until we can no longer see it. And we sigh, ‘Oh, she’s gone.’

"But gone from where? Gone from our sight. That’s all.

"For at the very moment we sigh, ‘Oh, she’s gone,’ another cried on another shore is jumping up and down, laughing and yelling and pointing excitedly out to sea saying, ‘Look! She’s coming. Look, the ship Is coming home! Look! There’s Grandma…there’s Uncle Joe…there’s Uncle Bill.’"

The ship is coming home. There is another shore, another dimension in which we have already begun to live. We are filled with the Spirit of our Risen Savior—forever.

***************

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within."
Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

 

Listening

The man whispered, “God, speak to me.”
And a meadowlark sang. But the man did not hear.

So the man yelled, “God, speak to me!”
Thunder rolled across the sky. But the man did not listen.

The man looked around and said, “God, let me see you.”
A star shone brightly. But he noticed it not.

And the man shouted, “God, show me a miracle.”
And a life was born. But the man was unaware.

So, the man cried out in despair, “Touch me, God, and let me know that you are here!”

Whereupon God reached down and touched the man.
But the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.

Moral: Don’t miss out on a blessing because it isn’t packaged the way you expect.

 

Psalm 23 - Explained

The Lord is my Shepherd
That’s Relationship!

I shall not want
That’s Supply!

He makes me to lie down in green pastures.
That’s Rest!

He leads me beside the still waters.
That’s Refreshment!

He restores my soul
That’s Healing!

He leads me in the paths of righteousness.
That’s Guidance!

For His name sake
That’s Purpose!

Yea, though I walk through
the valley of the shadow of death.
That’s Testing!

I will fear no evil.
That’s Protection!

For You art with me
That’s Faithfulness!

Your rod and staff they comfort me,
That’s Discipline!

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
That’s Hope!

You anoint my head with oil,
That’s Consecration!

My cup overflows.
That’s Abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life.
That’s Blessing!

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord.
That’s Security!

Forever!
That’s Eternity!
Source Unknown

 

We pray to you O God

We cannot merely pray to you, O God,
     to end war;
For we know that You have made the world
     in a way
That we must find our own path to peace.
Within ourselves and our neighbor.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God,
     to end starvation;
For You have already given us the
     resources
With which to feed the entire world,
If we would only use them wisely.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God,
     to root out prejudice;
For You have already given us eyes
With which to see the good in all people,
If we would only use them rightly.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God,
     to end despair,
For You have already given us the power
To clear away slums and to give hope,
If we would only use our power justly.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God,
     to end disease;
For You have already given us great minds
With which to search out cures and healing,
If we would only use them constructively.

Therefore we pray to You instead, O God,
For strength, determination and will power,
To do instead of just pray,
To become instead of merely to wish."

 

Sincerity

"I wish I were…

Big enough honestly to admit

all my shortcomings;

 Brilliant enough to accept praise

without it making me arrogant;

Tall enough to tower above deceit;

Strong enough to welcome criticism;

Compassionate enough to understand human frailties;

Wise enough to recognize my mistakes;

Humble enough to appreciate greatness;

Staunch enough to stand by my friends;

Human enough to be thoughtful of my neighbor;

And righteous enough to be devoted to the love of God."
The Wall Street Journal

 

 

 

 

 

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