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Found With Joy ~ The Parable of the Lost Sheep

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Found With Joy ~ The Parable of the Lost Sheep

24th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Many years ago I was privileged  to work at a dairy.  My primary job was I was the feeder.  I had to be sure the stalls were full of feed for cows in the barns and that for those out in pasture that they had their needed feed.  But I also had other tasks, one of which was to bring the fresh calves and their mamas  from the calving pasture.  Normally it was a fairly simple task of leading the calf with mom following close behind, usually hollering.  But if a calf was born too many hours before I would bring them in they might have found their legs.  And what was usually a fairly simple job would become much more complicated.  If a calf wandered off mom would normally be close behind and often be fairly easy to spot among the hills of grass and trees.  But there would be those who would wander off and end up in some secluded rough ravine.  They still had to be found and brought in, safely, to the dairy.  I wish I could say that when finding these wanderers I did so with joy.  But often it was irritation and a sense of you stupid calf what were you thinking??? And then there was always the protective mother cow who was sure I was there for reasons that were not good.  But I would retrieve the calf, Sometimes on a rope, sometimes carried, with mom hollering close behind and with joy we would reach the milk  pens where they needed to be.  I share this story to help us focus on but one of the parables in our Gospel reading today.  For it is in the parable of the lost sheep we are reminded, we can learn and experience what is a very urgently needed lesson of WHY Christ is here “…to seek and to save the lost”. [Lu. 19.10]

To realize the immense importance of this truth we need to understand the context.  Jesus was being confronted , with intense disdain, by the scribes and pharisees because he was actually eating.. sharing with..SINNERS!!!  Our Lord’s fellowship with those considered as “losers” was scandalous.  All propriety and tradition dictated that such people were to be avoided, disdained and judged as unworthy of any respect or dignity.  But Jesus wouldn’t abide with such ignorant nonsense.  So our Savior responds to their judgments with the parables shared in the Gospel.  In this earthly story with an heavenly meaning Jesus, the Shepherd of our souls, expresses the WHY of God the Father in sending  His Son, to find those who are lost.

GOD SEEKS ~ the sheep who is lost. That one sheep, of value known only to the shepherd must be found so He seeks the wanderer.  So God LISTENS!  For the cries, the laments of a lost and perhaps wounded soul.  God LOOKS to those places where the sheep, our souls do not belong, without rancor or disgust, God SEEKS with a love hungering for the finding, for reconciliation.  And God FINDS that which is lost, not a loser, but one who wandered  off in ignorance through unbelief , perhaps wounded now but God FINDS, with JOY.  So often we focus upon what we think is the most important, our attitude, surely of sorrow, penance, humility but in doing so we cannot not ignore God’s feelings of finding the lost…great JOY!

GOD CARRIES ~ Finding the lost sheep the shepherd, Jesus, now CARRIES the lost one, with JOY back to where he belongs.  Perhaps wounded, clearly weary of the wanderings in the world the sheep is safe upon the shoulders of Him who would soon carry a Cross to reach all those who are lost.  The shepherd did not question the sheep about his repentance.  The shepherd did not lecture the sheep about his sinfulness or bad choices. 

Christ carries each of us to the place of healing, of mercy of home with Him.  That place we were created and reconciled to be.  The place where the direction, focus of the sheep will now be upon He who loves us where we are …and brings us to where we are meant to be, with God.  And as this journey of reconciliation occurs so does the rejoicing in Heaven, of the angels and saints for the lost sheep is home.

Today may we realize, Jesus, Present in the Word and in His Body and Blood longs to set out from the  Scriptures to journey from this Tabernacle and altar in and with us that He may seek and save those who have wandered off.  Jesus longs for us to experience and share in WHY HE is here.

St. Paschal Baylon

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Here is the cyber-version of my homily for this 6th Sunday of Easter, May 17, 2009, The Feast Day of St. Paschal Baylon:

The Redwoods of these north coast mountains of California have awed many for generations with their stature, beauty and strength. Yet if you have lived or walked amidst these fragrant giants you have hopefully realized that they are but the largest members of a much fuller community. One of the most beautiful members of this verdant environment is the Redwood Orchid. Small, often hidden by the larger, more well known companions, it can be found in hidden glades in the moist Spring time bringing a violet beauty under the emerald canopy overhead. The little Redwood Orchid is a humble yet excellent introduction to the lesson from the Scriptures in our Mass readings today. It is also an appropriate introduction to a hidden, simple saint who’s life was a profound lesson of the call of our Risen Lord.
May 17th is the Feast day of St. Paschal Baylon (1540-1592). This simple Franciscan lay brother never advanced further than being the porter at his Loreto monastery. Born to a poor Spanish family he was a shepherd without formal education. Yet he taught himself to read and write with the special purpose of being able to pray the Little Office of Our Lady. Paschal Baylon was appointed the Patron Saint of Eucharistic Congresses and Associations by Pope Leo XIII. If remembered, he is often thought of for his deep devotion and love for Christ expressed in the Blessed Sacrament. His deep longing and prayer for this communion with Christ was a part of his life even as a young shepherd. It grew to become a life of fervent prayer with our Eucharistic Lord. But St. Paschal’s life was far more than a life of prayer. He lived a life of faithful service, especially for the poor and needy. He, although uneducated by worldly standards, also came to be known for his courageous and boldly gentle defense of his faith in the face of real persecution. This balance of loving devotion and service, for the love of God, is the heart of the message we see in our readings.

Chosen to Love: “God is Love.” Our Epistle today shares these three most powerful Words of Scripture. Often quoted, less often lived, the depth of meaning starts to dawn as we accept the context…”and God sent His Son to pay for our sins”. Knowing our condition, yet seeing the worth of the soul God had created the Father calls us to His Son.
People, of all nations, as Peter affirmed in our first reading, are chosen, are called to Love, to God. It is into the infinite embrace of the Crucified Savior we start to grow in the freedom of being..chosen…the freedom of being chosen by and to… Love. Paschal Baylon realized he was called, that he was chosen, out of his sin and this world..to the Loving Presence found in the Body and Blood of Christ. Paschal also realized this call was for all humanity and lead to his life living the Commandment.

Commanded to Love: Often when we think of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament we think of it as a distinct practice of piety. We may relegate it to a contemplative effort best suited to religious or those who…like to pray. Sometimes those who practice Eucharistic devotion may be tempted to see this as a hallmark of their love for God. Sadly, it may lead to a condition of being so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good. St. Paschal, who spent hours in rapt prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, would fervently disagree. It was but the furnace from which he carried forth the fire of God’s love for the poor, his brothers or even those who opposed his faith. This love for God of which Christ commands us this day, and always, is but a summation and source of the love we are to abide in and share with each other. The command of God’s holy, fearless love fulfills all the lesser commandments or issues with which we may become distracted. St. Paschal lived out his love for the Eucharist Christ in his service and love of others. This included his fellow Franciscans, the poor and needy as well as those perhaps his enemies. Once, in holy obedience, he ventured on a trip into a part of France that was, at the time under strong anti-Catholic control. Hugeonots, opposed to the Church more than once confronted Paschal on his journey with assaults and threats. Confronted by a learned Protestant scholar he was challenged about belief in the Blessed Sacrament. The learned scholar was confounded and silenced when this simple monk defended and explained this Biblical truth with a bold yet gentle courage. Paschal did not compromise his convictions or his love for those who did not agree with him. He simply sought to live as His Risen Lord had called him to do.

Abiding in Love: With St. Paschal, our Blessed Mother, St. Peter and all the saints we are chosen to abide..to LIVE in this love that is….Christ. As we live, listening to the voice of Christ in the Scriptures we hear His mercy, guidance, correction and peace. As we learn to hear God’s voice in each other, our family and the poor or wounded we hear His call to.. love. As we receive His Sacred Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist we are fed.. with Christ.. with Love. As we come to pray before His Presence in the Blessed Sacrament we discover, with St, Paschal the quiet peace, joy and strength abiding in His Presence. (We are chosen to be filled with His joy and the joy of the Lord is our strength).

St. Pascal Baylon died at the age of 52. Numerous accounts describe the moment of his death as the bells were being rung for the Consecration during the High Mass in his monastery. This little orchid of the saints calls to us today to abide and live in the Love that is Christ.

CALLED to JOY ~ 4th Sunday of Easter

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This holy Mass began as Father prayed our Collect:  “Almighty and ever-living God lead us to share in the joys of heaven so that the humble flock may reach where the brave Shepherd has gone before.”  That prayer and our readings from the Word  of God clearly help us to realize  God Calls us to Joy to, as our Psalm proclaims:  Sing (in word and action) Joyfully to the Lord!”

Following our Risen Lord this season of Easter we share a journey fraught with great challenges.  Our readings from the Acts of the Apostles speak of times of great blessing coursing though trials of persecution, and internal turmoil in the Church but through it all they “were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit”.

St. John in the Book of Revelation speaks to us of those Christians, having survived times of great distress, are worshiping God in the beauty of holy joy. These lights from God’s Word shine on our short Gospel and bring us to understand:  Jesus our brave Risen Shepherd calls us to follow Him in joy. 

The Gospels speak repeatedly of our Good Shepherd.  Anyone who has worked around sheep or livestock know well that voices and manners of anger, hate and fear will not work to bring these creatures to their needed place with any degree of health and well being.  So it is with us.  Yes Jesus, our Good Shepherd knows and warns, guides us from the perils and evils that may abound.  But God calls  in, through and to Himself in joy.

The great Jesuit scientist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said:  “Joy is the most infallible sign of the Presence of God.”  (fruit of obedience and the Holy Spirit) Jesus calls us to follow and grow in His joyfully holy Presence.  This is not a joy of a TV style silly happiness or of ever easy and cheerful circumstance.  It is a joy rooted deep in the love of God that enables the soul to know, even in what the storms and crosses life may bring that joy of God  grows in the truth that God created us, knows us and calls us..to His healing embrace.

The great 16th century saint and doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila lived in a time of great challenge for the faithful.  Many in the Church had settled into lives of ease and neglect of the pathway of God.  Her own Carmelite Order was struggling with spiritual weakness and lack of faith.  Called by God to reform her order and in many ways the greater Church she became a great saint of passionate, contemplative love for God.  But there was a distinct aspect of her witness for her Savior.  She had a profound sense of humor and recognition of the need for God’s gift of humor and joy.  One of her famous quotes was:  From silly devotions and sour-faced saints, good Lord deliver us.”

In our faith of today so often inundated with the messages of deep sadness, anger, fear and confusion many are the temptations, the voices, that would call us to despair, doubt and to turn away from the Lord and His Church.  It is for each of us to realize deep within our soul the voice of our Good Shepherd calling us to joy.

Nothing in life, the world, our soul surprises God.  He knows what we face every day of our life.  God created us,  Jesus calls us, to follow and, as the Gospel proclaims, to be known by God.  It is as we grow ever closer to He who died on the Cross and conquered death and sin we are filled with His joy. Let us, with His holy saints resolve to follow Him and proclaim and share in the joys of heaven, now and for all eternity.

Divine Mercy in the Church Today

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Divine Mercy Sunday ~ 28 April 2019

Jesus, I trust in you.

Lord, as I think about, pray about that simple, holy prayer and the graces you shared with Sister Faustina I am moved to believe You are calling your people to greater trust, to move beyond images and prayers  so comfortable to mercies and graces so powerful and needed.

Jesus, Savior, I trust in you.  Have mercy on your people wounded by sin and scandal.  Heal those scarred by the sins of others and by the lies offered by bitterness and unforgiveness.  Jesus help us to use the stones we are tempted to cast upon those we judge to, instead, build bridges of mercy and hope, for all.

Jesus, Lord, I trust in you.  Your Body is challenged with divisions and strife when  your Liturgy becomes times and places where many are busy judging if others are praying in the ways and words they judge others should be using.  Jesus help us to truly love and worship your Real Presence in Word and Eucharist and….in each other.

Jesus, Shepherd of our souls, I trust in you.  The pride and comfort we take in our tidy, comfortable God boxes is excluding us from the abundance of life and faith you seek us to share. Forgive us for quenching your Holy Spirit who would guide us to grow in The Truth that makes us free.  Lead us from practices and traditions not rooted in your holy, redeeming love.  Lead us Holy Shepherd in those paths of righteousness for Your sake.

Jesus, I trust in you.

 

Holy Thursday ~ Feast of the Lord’s Supper

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John 17:

[20]”I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word,[21] that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  [RSV]

This Holy Thursday we solemnly remember and celebrate Jesus giving us the most Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist, the gift of His Body and Blood.   Words, paintings, images cannot contain or fully express the infinite graces and mercies God provides for us all in this gift, to all who will believe in Him.

This Holy Thursday I am especially mindful of the thoughts of Jesus Himself that holy night before He went to the garden and His passion.  As He was gathered with His disciples He shared that Passover and instituted what we have come to celebrate as the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, Holy Communion.  The synoptic Gospels all give clear accounts of Jesus breaking the bread and sharing the cup.  But in John’s Gospel, written many years later, we are allowed to listen to the further words Jesus spoke, we are able to essentially listen to the heartbeat of God as shared by the disciple who leaned upon His breast.

Jesus gives the clear example of our being servants in the washing of the feet.  He then goes on to teach, clearly, our need to abide in Him, in the Living Word and to love God and each other as He loved us. Christ then provides the clear promise of the empowering and guiding graces of the Holy Spirit to enable us to be, to become, what He created, saved and calls us to be, His people, His Body.  (John 13 – 16).

This passionate dialogue is then concluded by our Lord’s prayer in the full text of the seventeenth chapter.  He prays for those who would live through the next harrowing hours.  He prays for us, those who would come to believe through their witness.  Then Jesus concludes this prayer, just prior to going to the Garden of Gethsemane, with the words beginning this post….[20]”I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word,[21] that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  [RSV]

As I reflect upon this prayer and then as I see so many divisions and so many intent on building these divisions and strife I am so sorrowful.  The perils of clericalism, the perils of arguments over traditions and liturgies, the perils of judging all those sinning differently than the preferred norms.. all these divisions feel to me as mockings of Him who prayed, as lashes upon His back, as nails pounded into His Holy Body.

Jesus, forgive us, have mercy on us, we know not what we do.  We know not You as we should.

SACRIFICE ~ A Lenten Reflection

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[St. Peter’s Parish Lenten Retreat ~ 23 March 2019]

                                                                       SACRIFICE

I Introduction:

“Present your bodies a living sacrifice..” Romans 12:1. God calls us through His Word to share as living sacrifices with Christ. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms this vocation as we read:   1323 “At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.’”  & 1368 The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the Church. the Church which is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself to his intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. the lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value. Christ’s sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with his offering.

In the catacombs the Church is often represented as a woman in prayer, arms outstretched in the praying position. Like Christ who stretched out his arms on the cross, through him, with him, and in him, she offers herself and intercedes for all men.”

Within the specific vocation we have we are called to fully be these living sacrifices in Christ.  The degree of our surrender to Christ, in love and faith, will determine the fullness of victory and joy we experience in His resurrection.  The season of Lent allows us to grow in our conversions, our embrace of Christ and His holy Cross and to grow in our sharing of His Passion and resurrection.    And it is in the Paschal Celebration, the Sacrifice of the Mass we find the steps of renewed conversion and consecration to our Lord.

II                                           LIVING SACRIFICES ~ Elements of our call

Quietly let yourself enter and be with the disciples, with Jesus in the Upper Room on the Night of His Passion .  This was in the short hours before He went to the Garden of Gethsemane and shared the Sacrifice of His Passion on the Cross.  The other Gospels give us the account of the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist.  John’s Gospel give us insight into the Heart of the Savior as He lives His redeeming passion.  [John 13-17]

You will note that this outline on the graces of Sarifice follow the Liturgy of the Mass.  Jesus was sharing so much more than was realized with the disci[les then, and with us now.

1) Cleansing – The Washing of the Feet, the Cleansing of self/ego

the service of God and others

The Penitential Rite

John 13:1-16, 34-35 Note:  About failure, of self, of others John 13:36-38

2) Listening, Lectio Divina, to God’s Word.

Hearing, living His new commandment, Love one another

FAITH, listening in love

PRAYER ~ Responding to God’s Word

John 14:1;12-14; 23-24;  15:7-13

3) Preparing the Gifts ~ What do we bring to God?

Talents, blessings and sorrows and weaknesses

John 15:5, 16-17

4) Invocation and Epiclesis

Seeking and trusting the Promise, the power, the Presence of the Holy Spirit

John 14:26-17; 16:7-12

5) Eucharist

I Cor. 11: [23]For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,[24] and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” [25] In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” [26] For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Wheat – Crushed and milled

John 13:26

Wine – Harvest and Crush

John 15:1-5

Entering the Wounds of Christ

John 20:[26]Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.”[27] Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” [28] Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Communion – Eternal bonds

John 17:20-23

6) Praise and Thanksgiving

John 17

7)  Further Steps:

Let us present ourselves as livings sacrifices to God

Allowing His cleansing

Listening in faith and love to His Word

Presenting our gifts

And in receiving His Body and Blood

sharing His sacrifice for His Kingdom,

For the praise and glory of God.

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Epiphany ~ The Baptism of Our Lord

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A Hymn for the Church in this time…

“When Jesus comes to be baptized,

He leaves the hidden years behind,

The years of safety and peace,

To bear the sins of all mankind.

 

The Spirit of the Lord comes down,

Anoints the Christ to suffering,

To preach the word, to free the bound,

And to the mourner, comfort bring.

 

He will not quench the dying flame,

And what is bruised he will not break,

But heal the wounds injustice dealt,

And out of death his triumph make.

 

Our everlasting Father, praise,

With Christ, his well-beloved Son,

Who with the Spirit reigns serene,

Untroubled Trinity in One.”

 

Hymn from Office of Readings, Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord; Melody: Saint Venantius; Text Stanbrook Abbey, 1971

Advent ~ To See God, To see Love

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The Second Reading from the Office of Readings, Thursday, 2nd Week of Advent, speaks powerfully of the hunger of the human soul to see God, to see the Beloved.

From a sermon by Saint Peter Chrysologus, bishop. [Sermo. 147:PL 52, 594-595]

Love desires to see God

When God saw the world falling to ruin because of fear, he immediately acted to call it back to himself with love. He invited it by his grace, preserved it by his love, and embraced it with compassion. When the earth had become hardened in evil, God sent the flood both to punish and to release it. He called Noah to be the father of a new era, urged him with kind words, and showed that he trusted him; he gave him fatherly instruction about the present calamity, and through his grace consoled him with hope for the future. But God did not merely issue commands; rather with Noah sharing the work, he filled the ark with the future seed of the whole world. The sense of loving fellowship thus engendered removed servile fear, and a mutual love could continue to preserve what shared labor had effected.

God called Abraham out of the heathen world, symbolically lengthened his name, and made him the father of all believers. God walked with him on his journeys, protected him in foreign lands, enriched him with earthly possessions, and honored him with victories. He made a covenant with him, saved him from harm, accepted his hospitality, and astonished him by giving him the offspring he had despaired of. Favored with so many graces and drawn by such great sweetness of divine love, Abraham was to learn to love God rather that fear him, and love rather than fear was to inspire his worship.

God comforted Jacob by a dream during his flight, roused him to combat upon his return, and encircled him with a wrestler’s embrace to teach him not to be afraid of the author of the conflict, but to love him. God called Moses as a father would, and with fatherly affection invited him to become the liberator of his people.

In all the events we have recalled, the flame of divine love enkindled human hearts and its intoxication overflowed into men’s senses. Wounded by love, they longed to look upon God with their bodily eyes. Yet how could our narrow human vision apprehend God, whom the whole world cannot contain? But the law of love is not concerned with what will be, what ought to be, what can be. Love does not reflect; it is unreasonable and knows no moderation. Love refuses to be consoled when its goal proves impossible, despises all hindrances to the attainment of its object. Love destroys the lover if he cannot obtain what he loves; love follows its own promptings, and does not think of right and wrong. Love inflames desire which impels it toward things that are forbidden. But why continue?

It is intolerable for love not to see the object of its longing. That is why whatever reward they merited was nothing to the saints if they could not see the Lord. A love that desires to see God may not have reasonableness on its side, but it is the evidence of filial love. It gave Moses the temerity to say: If I have found favor in your eyes, show me your face. It inspired the psalmist to make the same prayer: Show me your face. Even the pagans made their images for this purpose: they wanted actually to see what they mistakenly revered.

New Steps ~ Reflections Following a Stroke ~ Part 1

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(Photo Source: Internet, specifics unknown)

On Wednesday, November 21, 2018 I had started my day as usual.  After an early breakfast with my wife I had gone to my study to finish preparing for the morning Bible Study at our neighboring parish while she finished getting ready to go to her job as Librarian at a Catholic High School.   Bible Study would follow Morning Mass at which I was sacristan and served as deacon.  I felt fine.

Until I stood up to take care of an outside chore.  I felt weak and dizzy.  But as I had been having spells of vertigo I thought this would pass.  However after walking, weakly, to the outside steps leading up to the upper terrace I realized I could not make those steps.  My companion Golden Retriever, Murray was with me and knew things weren’t right.  I went back in the house, sat in the study for a few moments and thought I would try again, this time taking an old wood cane that was a family heirloom.  I wasn’t improving.

I went back inside and sat, resting,  while my wife had taken Murray and his older Golden Retreiver brother for a short walk.  Denial is a difficult part of the journey.  Upon her return I said I was feeling unwell and thought I would call the doctor.  I was told to come to the Emergency Room.  The half-hour ride was one of dizziness, uncertainty and a growing sense all was not well.  Upon entering the ER I quickly found myself on a gurney while I heard being announced, “Stroke Alert in the ER”.  The hours in the ER as doctors and nurses did their needed tasks I found myself flashing back fourteen years earlier to my previous visit as a vehicle accident victim with a crushed left arm.  The sense of deja vue was not pleasant.  However it brought with it the memory of knowing God’s Presence at a very painful time and His call to “Offer it up.

I had learned over the years since that the offerings that God was seeking were more than just the crushed arm.  So while the medical journey progressed my journey of faith sought too as well.  I learned that my stroke, while serious, could have been much worse.  But I also learned that due to the delay in my realizing what was happening and reaching care I had possibly hindered my recovery. (Quick Stroke Treatment)  While I had not lost speech or cognitive function I was weak and impaired on my left side.  The medical team was unsure of prognosis early on.  For the next 24 hours I would encounter numerous, tests, CT Scans, an MRI, and many visits by nurses and doctors.

I was feeling very overwhelmed.  I was deeply troubled for what this was doing to my wife and famly.  I was worried for the parishoners of which I care deeply.  I was realizing this could be the end of my service as a permanent deacon and in the work of caregiver for other family members.

But I sensed, too, a profound opportunity to grow in prayer, grow closer to Jesus my Beloved.  So I sought to “offer it up” anew.  Long ago I had begun learning the holy poignant beauty of our Lord’s sacred wounds and of my vocation to bring my own small wounds of soul, spirit and body to those He received in Love.  So amidst the crush of care in the ER those hours I withdrew to Him.  It was in those moments I was reminded of another time and place of prayer.

As a young man I had encountered and been converted to the Christian faith while living and working at a Redwood state park.  After my shift I would go, every day to my place of prayer in the Rewdoods and listen to His Word and talk with Him in His garden.  It was their one quiet evening I sensed His question to me:  “Will you trust me?”  I thought, well of course, why not?  Little did I realize what an adventure of faith that question would bring.  An adventure of mercy, forgiveness and God’s love that would always lead His simple servant far beyond his little abilities.   So, once again, 48 years later, I will trust Him.  I will offer this up.

Ad maiorem Dei gloriam.

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