Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Grandma's Hands

Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands. When I sat down beside her, she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat, I wondered if she was okay.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was okay. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. 'Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking,' she sa id in a clear voice strong.

'I didn't mean to disturb you, Grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands, and I wanted to make sure you were okay,' I explained to her.

'Have you ever looked at your hands?' she asked. 'I mean, really looked at your hands?'

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.

Grandma smiled and related this story:

'Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled, and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life. They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor.

'They put food in my mou th and clothes on my back. As a child, my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.

'They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band, they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse.

'They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand.

'They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well, these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

'These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of life. But more importantly, it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when He leads me home. And with my hands, He will lift me to His side, and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ.'

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my grandma's hands and led her home.

When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and husband, I think of Grandma. I know she has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God. I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.

When you receive this, say a prayer for the person who sent it to you, and watch God's answer to prayer work in your life. Let's continue praying for one another.

Passing this on to anyone you consider a friend will bless you both. Passing this on to one not yet considered a friend is something Christ would do.

-Author Unknown

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Big C -

Being a Deacon – a servant of God – does not make you immune to the BIG C!
Tom and I have begun a journey we have traveled with many other people – both family and friends. We received the news last week from Tom’s doctor – he has prostate cancer. In deep recesses of our mind we knew this day would come but knowing that it is a real possibility does not lessen the blow when you receive the news. Processing the information received becomes a full time job – it is mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally draining. Trying to educate yourself about test results and possible treatment is a daunting task. This is the rest of your life you’re making a decision about and you don’t want to make a mistake.
Trying to pray for God’s guidance instead of shaking your fist at Him and screaming “WHY” is difficult. Oh, yeah me and the Big Guy have had words over this – but ultimately I know He will be there by our side as we walk this path and we will need all the grace He has to offer.
My only hope is that I can be the strong support that Tom needs. Tom is the only person in the world that I have ever leaned on completely and never had to worry about let me fall. Everyone talks about how strong I am – how I take charge and make things happen – have to say I have been told more than once that I can be a bit intimidating. Well, I am able to be all of those things because I know that Tom has my back, that no matter how bad the day has been he will be there when I get home to just let me be me. He is truly the Wind Beneath my Wings and there have been times when he has had to work hard to keep me up in the air. He has never complained and in all the years we have been married he has never raised his voice to me. Hey, he cooks and goes grocery shopping too – yes, yes I know how lucky I am.
When I count my blessings I count Tom twice. That is why I do not want to have my time with him shortened by even one day. The good news is that they doctors seem to think they have caught the cancer in the early stages. We will know more once the surgery is complete and all biopsies returned.
Please, keep us in your prayers.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Quiz about deacons - How much do you know about being a Catholic Deacon

A Quiz About Deacons

How much do you know about the permanent diaconate? Here's a special challenge for you: Take the following quiz about deacons and their role. The answers just might surprise you!


1. Deacons are ordained clergy.

2. There have always been permanent deacons in the Roman Catholic Church.

3. A married deacon is expected to place the Church as a priority above his wife and family.

4. The wife of a deacon is called a deaconess.

5. A single or widowed deacon is expected to remain celibate the rest of his life.

6. The deacon works for the bishop of the diocese he serves, not the priest of the local parish.

7. Deacons serve the Catholic Church primarily through the liturgy of the Mass.

8. Lay ministries are not needed in parishes with a deacon.

9. Deacons do not have the same formation as priests.

10. There are more deacons in the United States than in all other countries combined.

Here are the answers to the quiz:

1. TRUE. There are three levels of holy orders in the Catholic Church. The diaconate is the first level; it functions as the service ministry of Christ. In other words, deacons are servants, called to embody the work of Christ in service of justice, the Word and the altar. There are as many ways of serving as there are deacons. All deacons can baptize, witness marriages, bring the viaticum to the dying, and preside at
funerals. They proclaim the gospel and may serve as the homilist at mass. Like John the Baptist, they lead a prophetic life of service for the benefit of the Church.

The priesthood is the second level of holy orders. A priest is ordained a deacon prior to being ordained a priest. Priests stand in the place of Christ himself as they celebrate the sacraments of Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Anointing of the Sick. They carry a spiritual responsibility for the community of faith they serve. Through the sacraments and ministries of the Church, priests manifest the presence of Christ in the world.

Bishops are ordained to the fullness of holy orders. They fully convey the leadership of Christ as Prophet, Priest and King. They shepherd the churches entrusted to their care (with the help of priests and deacons), and safeguard the gospel that has been passed down to us from the Apostles themselves. They lead their dioceses in communion with the Pope and all the other bishops of the world.

2. FALSE. To be fair, this is a trick question! There have always been deacons in the Church. In Acts of the Apostles, the apostles assign the service ministries of the Church to seven deacons. Several saints in the early Church were deacons, some of whom later became bishops, like St. Athanasius. In general, up until 500-600 A.D., their duties were similar to those of today's deacons. They were especially instrumental in helping the Church spread across Europe.

The permanent diaconate gradually disappeared during the Middle Ages. Monasteries and convents were providing charity originally associated with the service of deacons. The liturgical role of the deacon received greater emphasis over works of charity. Gradually, the diaconate became a transitional step to priesthood.

Vatican II restored the office of the permanent diaconate. There were three main reasons for this action. The restoration would return to the Church the full complement of ordained ministries handed down from the Apostles. The new deacons would confirm and highlight the work of the Holy Spirit already present in the Church. Finally, deacons would bring sacramental service to areas where priests are scarce.

3. FALSE. A married man who is ordained a deacon in the Catholic Church is expected to honor his first commitment in the sacrament of marriage, with the Church's blessing. The Church will not ordain the man unless his wife gives her consent in writing. A married deacon often must juggle a secular job, his family responsibilities and his service as deacon. This is not a vocation for the faint of heart!

The relationship between marriage and holy orders is an interesting one. In Eph 5:22-32, the marriage between a man and a woman is compared to the marriage between Christ and his Church. The passage, in effect, says that each one must serve the other in love. Christ came to serve rather than be served. The man has already been a deacon (Greek diakonia means "to serve") to his wife, and she to him. Thus, his ordination to the diaconate is an affirmation of the Christian service evidenced in his marriage.

The unity of the deacon and his wife is a sign to the entire parish of the unity of Christ with his Church. Often, the deacon's wife serves the parish or local community in a concrete way herself. After ordination, the deacon and his wife may work together in various ways to build up the Kingdom of God. The beauty of the diaconate is that the question of exercising "power" is replaced with the solid emphasis upon service. Those who would see the wife of a deacon as "used" and not appreciated are missing the point. Christ humbled himself to union with us. In a very real way, the deacon and his wife both embody this divine humility.

4. FALSE. (But it was true at one time.) The wife of a deacon today is not called a deaconess. She should be referred to as "Mrs. Jones", or "Louise", if you are on familiar terms. She remains a lay member of the parish. Some deacons' wives lament that people treated them differently after their husbands were ordained. This need not be so.

In the early church, the wife of a deacon was referred to as a deaconess. (Deaconesses, single or married, were responsible for preserving modesty during female baptisms.) However, married deacons (and married priests in the eastern rites) were expected to practice celibacy. Canon 13 of the Council of Tours (567 AD) states:

"If a presbyter be found with his presbytera or a deacon with his deaconess, or a subdeacon with his subdeaconess, he must be considered excommunicated for a full year and deposed from every clerical office, and know that he is considered among the laity."

5. TRUE. Single men ordained to the diaconate, whether preparing for the priesthood or not, must take a vow of celibacy. They are not allowed to marry. Deacons who are widowed must also observe the norm of celibacy. However, the widow of a deacon may marry with the Church's blessings.

The reason for this is simple. Those ordained to the service of Christ and His Church are called to consecrate themselves to this work with an undivided heart. The sacrament of matrimony and the sacrament of holy orders must not be in competition. A married man is ordained a deacon with his wife's consent. The wife usually participates in the formation and discernment process. This is meant to safeguard against possible friction after ordination.

The virtue of chastity is expected in both married and unmarried deacons. Chastity refers to pure, self-giving love between a man and his spouse. This pure love brings forth physical and spiritual fruit. Married deacons usually have children, the physical fruit of chastity. Bishops, priests and single deacons are celibate in order to devote their fruitfulness to the Kingdom of God. Their spouse is the Church. The Catechism puts it nicely: "accepted with a joyous heart, celibacy radiantly proclaims the reign of God." (1579)

6. TRUE. Only the bishop is allowed to ordain a priest or a deacon. Thus, the deacon has a direct relationship to the bishop. It is the responsibility of the bishop to ensure that deacons are placed in parishes and ministries where their talents and special charisms will bear fruit. In the economy of sacramental order, bishops and priests were first deacons. Their knowledge of the needs of the diocese are crucial to the success of the diaconate.

Placement of deacons should reflect the needs of the faith community.

At the same time, deacons who are placed within a local parish will obviously want to work harmoniously with the pastor and the bishop. Priests, and bishops, do not stop being deacons when they are ordained to the next level of holy orders. They still serve. A deacon is not a mini-priest, nor a glorified altar-boy. By serving the servant, the bishops, priests and deacons will ground their relationship within the humble love of Christ.

7. FALSE. It may be that you only see the deacon serving the Church on Sunday during the Mass. Most deacons serve the Church throughout the week in a variety of challenging and wonderful ways. Many deacons are involved in the pastoral care of the ill and dying. Other deacons are spreading the good news of Jesus concretely in soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other social service agencies. Still others reach out to addicts and convicts in prisons and mental health clinics.

Parish-based deacons help to encourage lay ministry within the parish, and actively promote service to the world. Indeed, a deacon is expected to help a parish encounter and address the needs of the local community. In many dioceses, priests who request a deacon to be appointed to their parish are on a waiting list. We can only expect this trend to continue, with the shortage of priests growing yearly.

8. FALSE. The main function of the deacon is to imitate Christ as a sign and sacrament of service. Parishes, and deacons, are called to be Christ's hands, feet and mouth in the world. Most people will acknowledge that often our parishes fall far short of this goal. The focus of the deacon is to serve in such a way that encourages each and every Christian to imitate Christ.

Lectors, lay eucharistic ministers, acolytes, and other lay persons need not feel threatened by the presence of a deacon. The deacon is not a lay person, he is a member of the clergy. His primary focus is to highlight needs that are not being met within the life of the community. Strong lay participation in a parish may negate the need for a deacon. (And this would delight the deacon, you can be sure!) The exception to this may be parishes with no priest. There have been deacons assigned to such parishes in recent years.

9. TRUE. The formation programs are separate. Deacons undergo a formation that takes approximately three - five years; formation for a priest is generally a year or two longer. Deacons and priests learn many of the same things, such as the study of the bible, church history, interpersonal dynamics, liturgics, and theology. However, deacons and priests are preparing for distinctly different forms of service. Also, the deacon must learn to balance the demands of family, secular job and formation.

The sacrament of holy orders is irrevocable. It is extremely important that the discernment of a call be confirmed prior to ordination. In most dioceses, the number of deacon candidates accepted for ordination is a small percentage of those who apply for admission to the program.

10. TRUE. There are over 11,000 deacons in the United States, and about 20,000 deacons world-wide. When the permanent diaconate was restored, it was expected to grow fastest in third world countries. However, the most notable growth has been in the United States and Germany.

There are several reasons for this growth. The Church in America is blessed with excellent educational and financial resources. The enthusiastic reception of Vatican II reforms in the United States gave added impetus to the proliferation of vocations to the diaconate. The spiritual need of the Church in America has never been greater. I like to think that God has raised up deacons in America to remind us that the power of the Holy Spirit is stronger than the forces of evil in our midst.

How did you do? Here's the grading scale:

10 out of 10 correct: Wow! You must be a deacon or the wife of one!

At least 8 correct: Very good. Your knowledge of the diaconate needs to be shared with friends and family!

At least 5 correct: Not bad-- some of the questions were tricks, anyway! You might have learned a thing or two from this test.

Less than 4 correct: Maybe those trick questions were too unfair! In any case, you might be interested in the following books: The Deacon in the Church, by Lynn Swanson (Alba House (800) 343-ALBA); Permanent Deacons: Who They Are and What They Do by Henry Libersat (booklet from Liguori Publications available in most Catholic bookstores); Permanent Deacons: Guidelines on their Formation and Ministry (Publication 974-2, USCC, (800) 235-8722.)

Taken from the May 14, 1995 issue of "Catholic Twin Circle." For subscriptions contact: Catholic Twin Circle, P.O. Box 260380, Encino, CA 91426-0380, (800) 421-3230.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Have you ever lied aked the Lord - Yes, Lord - I forgive you

One day, a man, his heart heavy with grief, was walking in the woods. As he thought about his life this day, he knew many things were not right. He thought about those who had lied about him back when he had a job.

His thoughts turned to those who had stolen his things and cheated him. He remembered family that had passed on. His mind turned to the illness he had, that no one could cure. His very soul was filled with anger, resentment, and frustration.

Standing there this day, searching for answers he could not find, knowing all else had failed him, he knelt at the base of an old oak tree to seek the one he knew would always be there. And with tears in his eyes, he prayed:

"Lord- You have done wonderful things for me in this life. You have told me to do many things for you, and I happily obeyed. Today, you have told me to forgive. I am sad, Lord, because I cannot, I don't know how. It is not fair Lord, I didn't deserve these wrongs that were done against me and I shouldn't have to forgive. As perfect as your way is Lord, this one thing I cannot do, for I don't know how to forgive. My anger is so deep Lord, I fear I may not hear you, but I pray you teach me to do the one thing I cannot do:
Teach me to forgive ."

As he knelt there in the quiet shade of that old oak tree, he felt something fall onto his shoulder. He opened his eyes. Out of the corner of one eye, he saw something red on his shirt. He could not turn to see what it was because where the oak tree had been was a large square piece of wood in the ground. He raised his head and saw two feet held to the wood with a large spike through them.

He raised his head more, and tears came to his eyes as he saw Jesus hanging on a cross. He saw spikes in His hands, a gash in His side, a torn and battered body, deep thorns sunk into His head. Finally he saw the suffering and pain on His precious face. As their eyes met, the man's tears turned to sobbing, and Jesus began to speak.

"Have you ever told a lie?" He asked?

The man answered - "Yes, Lord."

"Have you ever been given too much change and kept it?"

The man answered - "Yes. Lord." And the man sobbed more and more.

"Have you ever taken something from work that wasn't yours?" Jesus asked?

And the man answered, "Yes, Lord."

"Have you ever sworn, using my Father's name in vain?"

The man, crying now, answered - "Yes, Lord."

As Jesus asked many more times, "Have you ever"? The man's crying became uncontrollable, for he could only answer - "Yes, Lord".

Then Jesus turned His head from one side to the other, and the man felt something fall on his other shoulder He looked and saw that it was the blood of Jesus. When he looked back up, his eyes met those of Jesus, and there was a look of love the man had never seen or known before.

Jesus said, "I didn't deserve this either, but I forgive you."

It may be hard to see how you're going to get through something, but when you look back in life, you realize how true this statement is.

Read the following first line slowly and let it sink in.

If God brings you to it - He will bring you through it.

I have had a rough couple of weeks - due to the death of several wonderful and much loved people in my life and the news that a few more now suffer from health problems - this showed up in my mailbox right on time - Jesus has been reading my emails again.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Letter from Satan - HELL


I saw you yesterday as you began your daily

You awoke without kneeling to pray. As a matter
of Fact, you didn't even bless your meals,
Or Pray before going to bed
Last night.

You are so unthankful, I like that about you.

I cannot tell you how glad I am that you have not
changed your way of living,you are mine.

Remember, you and I have been going steady for
Years, and I still don't love you, Yet.
As a matter of fact, I hate you, because I hate

He Kicked me out of heaven, and I'm
Going to use you as long
As possible to pay Him back.

You see, GOD LOVES YOU and HE has great plans in store for you.

But you have yielded your life
To me, and I'm going to make your life a living
That way, we'll be together twice. This will
Really hurt God.

Thanks to you, I'm really showing Him who's boss in your
life with all of the good times we've had.

We have Been watching dirty movies,
Cursing people out,
Telling dirty jokes,
Being judgmental,
Back stabbing people,
Disrespecting adults,
And those in
Leadership positions.
No Respect for the Church,
Bad attitudes.

SURELY you don't want to give
All this up.

Come on, Fool, let's burn together forever. I've
Got some hot plans for us.
This is just a letter
Of appreciation from me to you.
I'd like to say "THANKS" for
Letting me use you for most
Of Your Foolish Life.

You are so gullible, I laugh at you. When you are
Tempted To Sin, you give In.

HA HA HA, you make me sick.
Sin is beginning to take its toll on your life.
You look 20 years older, and now, I need new blood.
So go ahead and teach some children how to
All you have to do is smoke, get drunk or drink
Cheat, gamble, gossip,
Fornicate, and live
Being as selfish as possible.
Do all of this in the presence
Of children and they will do it too.
Kids are like that.

Well, I have to let you go for now. I'll be
Back in a couple of seconds to tempt you again.
If you were smart, you would run
somewhere, confess your sins,
And live for God with what little bit
of life that you have left.

It's not my nature to warn
Anyone, but to be your age and
Still sinning, it's becoming a bit
ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, I still hate you.

See you soon - Satan

IF you live your life like there is no HELL - you better be right!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lent is ending - Are you changed?

Catholic’s are an Easter People – yes we love Christmas and the birth of Christ signals the beginning of all that will form our beliefs. But if there was no Easter – the resurrection – Christmas would simply be a beautiful story. It is only through His death and resurrection that our salvation is possible.

So, tonight we will celebrate the Easter Vigil and those that have been attending RCIA classes for the pasted year will be welcomed into the Church. Some will be baptized and others will enter the Church by their profession of faith – having been baptized prior into other religions. It will be a night for much celebration throughout the Catholic community. In Atlanta alone we will be welcoming almost 2,000 New Catholic’s into the Church. As adults they will receive 3 of the 7 sacraments tonight – Baptism, Conformation and Eucharist. Needless to say Lent has changed these New Catholic’s. They have been attending classes for many months – studying the Catholic doctrine. Preparing themselves through scripture reading and prayer.

Has Lent changed you?

Many of us have observed Lent through the three traditional pillars of Lenten observance which are prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Prayer: More time given to prayer during Lent should draw us closer to the Lord.

Fasting:Fasting can help us realize the suffering that so many people in our world experience every day, and it should lead us to greater efforts to alleviate that suffering.

Abstaining from meat traditionally also linked us to the poor, who could seldom afford meat for their meals. It can do the same today if we remember the purpose of abstinence and embrace it as a spiritual link to those whose diets are sparse and simple. That should be the goal we set for ourselves—a sparse and simple meal. Avoiding meat while eating lobster misses the whole point!

Almsgiving: It is a sign of our care for those in need and an expression of our gratitude for all that God has given to us. Works of charity and the promotion of justice are integral elements of the Christian way of life we began when we were baptized.

Now we come to the night that we ask ourselves – Did Lent change me – Have I grown closer to the Lord or have I simply spent the pasted 40 days going through life as usual?

My prayer for you is that in some way the celebration of Lent has made a difference in your life and that you will continue to live out your Lent all year.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Thanks my friend - look for the gem

A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn't look lik e much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the clay balls bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.

He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone!

Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left. Then it struck him.

He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!

It's like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn't look like much from the outside. It isn't always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it.

We see that person as less important than someone more beautifu l or stylish or well known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person.

There is a treasure in each one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships be cause the gems were hidden in bits of clay. May we see the people in our world as God sees them.

I am so blessed by the gems of friendship I have. Thank you for looking beyond my clay vessel.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Stations of the cross -

Christ Speaks: These fourteen steps that you are now about to walk.
I walk with you.
Though you are you and I am I, yet we are truly one – one Christ
And therefore my way of the cross two thousand years ago and your “way” now are also one.
But note this difference. My Life was incomplete until I crowned it by my death. Your fourteen steps will only be complete when you have crowned them by your life.

1 Jesus Is Condemned

Christ Speaks: In Pilate’s hands, your other self, I see my Father’s will. Though Pilate is unjust, he is the lawful governor and he has power over me.
And so the Son of God obeys.
If I can bow to Pilate’s rule because this is my Father’s will, can you refuse obedience to those whom I place over you?

I reply: My Jesus, Lord, obedience cost you your life. For me it costs an act of will – no more – and yet how hard it is for me to bend.
Remove the blinders from my eyes that I may see that it is you whom I obey in all who govern me.
Lord, it is your.

2 Jesus Takes His Cross

Christ Speaks: This cross, this chunk of three, is what my Father chose for me.
The crosses you must bear are largely products of your daily life. And yet my Father chose them, too, for your.
Receive them from his hands.
Take heart, my other self, I will not let your burdens grow one ounce too heavy for your strength.

I reply: My Jesus, Lord, I take my daily cross. I welcome the monotony that often marks my day, discomforts of all kinds, the summer’s heat, the winter’s cold, my disappointments, tensions, cares.
Remind me often that in carrying my cross, I carry yours with you. And though I bear a sliver only of your cross, You carry all of mine, except a sliver in return.

3 Jesus Falls

Christ Speaks: The God who made the universe, and holds it in existence by his will alone, becomes a man, too weak to bear a piece of timber’s weight.
How human in his weakness is the Son of God. My Father willed it thus. I could not be your model otherwise.
If you would be my other self, you also must accept without complaint your human frailties.

I reply: Lord Jesus, how can I refuse?
I willingly accept my weaknesses, my irritations and my moods, my headaches and fatigue, all my defects of body, mind and soul.
Because they are your will for me, these “handicaps” of my humanity, I gladly suffer them.
Make me content with all my discontents, but give me strength to struggle after you.

4 Jesus Meets His Mother

Christ Speaks: My mother see me whipped. She sees me kicked and driven like a beast. She counts my every wound. But though her soul cries out in agony, no protest or complaint escapes her lips or even enters her thoughts.
She shares my martyrdom – and I share hers. We hide no pains, no sorrow, from each other’s eyes. This is my Father’s will.

I reply: My Jesus, Lord, I know what you are telling me. To watch the pain of those we love is harder than to bear our own.
To carry my cross after you, the sufferings of my dear ones – the heartaches, sicknesses, and grief of those I love.
And I must let them watch mine, too.
I do believe – for those who love you all things work together unto good.

5 Simon helps Jesus

Christ Speaks: My strength is gone; I can no longer bear the cross alone, and so the legionnaries make Simon give me aid.
This Simon is like you, my other self. Give me your strength.
Each time you lift some burden from another’s back, you lift as with your very hand the cross’ awful weight that crushes me.

I reply: Lord, make me realize that every time I wipe a dish, pick up an object off the floor, assist a child in some small task, or gibe another preference in traffic or the store; clothe the naked, teach the ignorant, or lend my hand in any way – it matters not to whom – my name is Simon. And the kindness I extend to them I really give to you.

6 Veronica Helps Jesus

Christ Speaks: Can you be brave enough, my other self, to wipe my bloody face?
Where is my face, you ask?
At home whenever eyes fill up with tears, at work when tensions rise, on playgrounds, in the slums, the courts, the hospital, the jails – where suffering exists – my face is there. And there I look for you t wipe away my blood and tears.

I reply : Lord, what you ask is hard. It calls for courage and self-sacrifice, and I am weak. Please, give me strength. Don’t let me run away because of fear.
Lord, live in me, act in me, love in me. And not in me alone – in all of us – so that we may reveal no more your bloody but your glorious face on earth.

7 Jesus Falls Again

Christ Speaks: This seventh step, my other self, is one that tests your will. From this fall learn to persevere in doing good.
The time will come when all your efforts seem to fail and you will think, “I can’t go on”.
Then turn to me, my heavy-laden one, and I will give you rest.
Trust me and carry on.

I reply: Give me your courage, Lord. When failure presses heavily on me and I am desolate, stretch out your hand to lift me up.
I know I must not cease, but persevere in doing good.
But help me, Lord. Alone there’s nothing I can do. With you , I can do anything you ask.
I will.

8 Jesus Consoles the Women

Christ Speaks: How often had I longed to take the children of Jerusalem and gather them to me. But they refused.
But now theses women weep for me and my heart mourns for them – mourns for their sorrows that will come.
I comfort those who seek to solace me.
How gentle can you be, my other self? How kind?

I reply: My Jesus, your compassion in your passion is beyond compare.
Lord, teach me, help me learn. When I would snap at those who hurt me with their ridicule, those who misunderstand, or hinder me with some misguided helpfulness, those who intrude upon my privacy – then help me curb my tongue.
May gentleness become my cloak.
Lord, make me kind like you.

9 The Third Fall

Christ Speaks: Completely drained of strength I lie, collapsed, upon the cobblestones. My body cannot move. No blows, no kicks, can rouse it up.
And yet my will is mine. And so is yours.
Know this, my other self, your body may be broken, but no force on earth or in hell can take away your will.
Your will is yours.

I reply: My Lord, I see you take a moment’s rest then rise and stagger on. So I can do because my will is mine.
When all my strength is gone and guilt and self-reproach press me to earth and seem to hold me fast, protect me from the sin of Judas – save me from despair!
Lord, never let me feel that any sin of mine is greather than your love. No matter what my past has been I can begin anew.

10 Jesus Is Stripped

Christ speaks: Behold, my other self, the poorest king who ever lived. Before my creatures I stand stripped. The cross – my death bed – even this is not my own.
Yet who has ever been so rich?
Posessing nothing, I own all – my Father’s love.
If you, too, would own everything, be not solicitous about your food, your clothes, your life.

I reply: My Lord, I offer you my all – whatever I possess, and more, my self.
Detach me from the craving for prestige, position, wealth.
Root out of me all trace of envy of my neighbor who has more than I. Release me from the vice of pride, my longing to exalt myself, and lead me to the lowest place.
May I be poor in spirit, Lord, so that I can be rich in you.

11 Jesus Is Crucified

Christ Speaks: Can you imagine what a crucifixion is?
My executioners stretch my arms; they hold my hand and wrist against the wood and press the nail until it stabs my flesh. Then, with on heavy hammer smash, they drive through – and pain bursts lika a bomb of fire in my brain.
They seize the other arm; and agony again explodes.
Then raising up my knees so that my feet are flat against the wood, they hammer them fast, too.

I reply: My God, I look at you and think: Is my soul worth this much?
What can I give you in return?
I here and now accept for all my life whatever sickness, torment, agony may come. To every cross I touch my lips.
O blessed cross that lets me be – with you – a co-redeemer of humanity.

12 Jesus Dies

Christ Speaks: The cross becomes a pulpit now – “Forgive them Father . . . . .
You will be with me in Paradise . . . . . .
There is your Mother . . . . . . There . . . . . . your son . . . . .I thirst . . . . .
It is complete.”
To speak I have to raise myself by pressing on my wristis and feet, and every move engulfs me in new waves of agony.
And then, when I have borne enough, have emptied my humanity, I let my mortal life deptart.

I reply: My Jesus, God, what can I say or do?
I offer you my death with all its pains, accepting now the time and kind of death in store for me. Not by a single instant would I lengthen my life’s span.
I offer you my death for my own sins and for those of all humanity.
My God! My God! Forsake us not. We know not what we do.

13 Jesus Is Taken Down

Christ Speaks: The sacrifice is done. Yes, my Mass is complete; but not my mothers’s and not yours, my other self.
My Mother still must cradle in her arms the lifeless body of the son she bore. You, too, must part from those you love, and grief will come to you.
In your bereavements think of this: A multitude of souls were saved by Mary’s sharing in my Calvary. Your grief can also be the price of souls

I reply: I beg you, Lord, help me accept the partings that much come – from friends who go away, my children leaving home, and most of all, my dear ones when you shall call them to yourself.
Then give me grace to say: “As it has pleased you, Lord, to take them home, I bow to your most holy will. And if by just one word I might restore their lives against your will, I would not speak.” Grant them eternal joy.

14 Jesus is Buried

Christ speaks: So ends my mortal life.
But now another life begins for Mary, and for Magdalen, for Peter and for John and for you.
My life’s work is done. My work within and through my church must now commence.
I look to you, my other self.
Day in, day out, from this time forth, by my apostle – victim – saint.

I reply: My Jesus, Lord, you know my spirit is as willing as my flesh is weak.
The teaching you could not impart, the sufferings you could not bear, the works of love you could not do in your short life on earth, let me impart, and bear, and do through you.
But, I am nothing Lord. Help me!

Christ Speaks: I told you at the start, my other self, my life was not complete until I crowned it by my death. Your “way” is not complete unless you crown it by your life.
Accept each moment as it comes to you, with faith and trust that all that happens has my mark on it. A simple fiat, this is all it takes; a breathing in your hear, “I will it, Lord.”
So seek me not in far off places, I am lose at hand. Your workbench, office, kitchen, these are altars where you offer love. And I am with you there.

Go now! Take up your cross and with your life complete your way.

Clarence Enzler

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Jesus Loves you BUT I am his favorite!

While watching a little TV on Sunday, I watched a
church in Atlanta honoring one of its senior pastors who had been retired many
years. He was 92 at that time and I wondered why the church even bothered to ask
the old gentleman to preach at that age.

After a warm welcome, introduction of this speaker, and as the applause quieted
down, he rose from his high back chair and walked slowly, with great effort and
a sliding gate to the podium. Without a note or written paper of any kind he
placed both hands on the pulpit to steady himself and then quietly and slowly he
began to speak....

"When I was asked to come here today and talk to you, your pastor asked me to
tell you what was the greatest lesson ever learned in my 50-odd years of
preaching. I thought about it for a few days and boiled it down to just one
thing that made the most difference in my life and sustained me through all my
trials. The one thing that I could always rely on when tears and heartbreak and
pain and fear and sorrow paralyzed me... the only thing that would comfort was
this verse.........

"Jesus loves me this I know.
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
we are weak but He is strong.....
Yes, Jesus loves me...
The Bible tells me so."

When he finished, the church was quiet. You actually could hear his foot steps
as he shuffled back to his chair. I don't believe I will ever forget it.

A pastor once stated, "I always noticed that it was the adults who chose the
children's hymn 'Jesus Loves Me' (for the children of course) during a hymn
sing, and it was the adults who sang the loudest because I could see they knew
it the best."

"Senior version of Jesus Loves Me"

Here is a new version just for us who have white hair or no hair at all. For us
over middle age (or even those almost there) and all you others check out this
newest version of Jesus Loves Me.


Jesus loves me, this I know,
Though my hair is white as snow
Though my sight is growing dim,
Still He bids me trust in Him.

Though my steps are oh, so slow,
With my hand in His I'll go
On through life, let come what may,
He'll be there to lead the way.

When the nights are dark and long,
In my heart He puts a song.
Telling me in words so clear,
"Have no fear, for I am near."

When my work on earth is done,
An d life's victories have been won.
He will take me home above,
Then I'll understand His love

I love Jesus, does He know?
Have I ever told Him so?
Jesus loves to hear me say,
That I love Him every day.

God bless you!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cornea Transplant - looking through the eye of a donor

Three years ago I had a corneal transplant, in many ways it was a life changing experience. Because of an injury I received at birth I had known for many years that one day I would either be totally blind or have to have surgery. So, it came as no real surprise when the decision was made that the time had come for the transplant. The surgery is done as an outpatient, is painless and other than the fact that you are awake the entire time is pretty uneventful. The recovery time is hellish and seems to last forever. The stitches to attach the new cornea remain in your eye for a year or more and every time you blink you can feel them. Needless to say I made it through the surgery and recovery, while life changing this is not what changed me the most.
In order for me to receive a new cornea someone had to make the decision to be an organ donor. Yes, someone had given me the ultimate gift. Before death they made the unselfish decision to donate their organs so that others could have a better life.
When I was told that it was time for the transplant I delayed the surgery for several months in order to get my “mind” right. I am sure most of you will not understand the thought process I had to go through in order to accept this precious gift. All that I could think was – someone has to die so that I can see. While I was grateful that the procedure was available it was still not easy to come to the point that I could accept it graciously. This was not life or death surgery like a heart transplant and I think that maybe why it was so hard for me to accept – I could live with site in only one eye.
After much prayer I did receive the transplant and every day I am thankful to the person that made the decision to be an organ donor.
If you are not an organ donor please consider taking the necessary steps to become one. Thank goodness in death we will not need any of our earthly “parts” but there just might be someone that is still on this journey that does.

Remember Me

"The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital busily occupied with the living and the dying. At a certain moment a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.
"When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine. And don't call this my deathbed. Let it be called the Bed of Life and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.
"Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby's face or love in the eyes of a woman.
"Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless pain,
"Give my blood to the teen-ager who was pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his grandchildren play.
"Give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week
"Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body and find a clay to make a crippled child walk.
"Explore every comer of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that, someday, a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window.
"Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.
"If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all prejudice against my fellow man.
"Give my sins to the devil, give my soul to God.
"If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you.
"If you do all I have asked, I will live forever!"
-- by Robert N. Test.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lord - it's me again

Our Father

Who Art In Heaven.


Don't interrupt me. I'm praying.

But -- you called ME!

Called you?
No! , I didn't call you.
I'm praying.
Our Father who art in Heaven.

There -- you did it again!

Did what?

Called ME. You said,
"Our Father who art in Heaven"
Well, here I am. What's on your mind?

But I didn't mean anything by it.
I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day.
I always say the Lord's Prayer. It makes me feel good,
kind of like fulfilling a duty.

Well, all right.
Go on.

Okay, Hallowed be thy name . .

Hold it right there. What do you mean by that? By what?

By "Hallowed be thy name"?
It means, it means . . good grief,
I don't know what it means!
How in the world should I know?
It's just a part of the prayer.
By the way, what does it mean?

It means honored, holy, wonderful.

Hey, that makes sense.
I never thought about what 'hallowed' meant before.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in Heaven.

Do you really mean that? !

Sure, why not?

What are you doing about it?

Doing? Why, nothing, I guess.
I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control,
of everything down here like you have up there.
We're kinda in a mess down here you know

Yes, I know; but, have I got control of you?

Well, I go to church.

That isn't what I asked you.
What about your bad temper?
You've really got a problem there, you know.
And then there's the way you spend your money --
all on yourself.
And what about the kind of books you read?

Now hold on just a minute!
Stop picking on me!
I'm just as good as some of the rest of those people at church!

Excuse ME. I thought you were praying
for My will to be done. If that is to happen,
it will have to start with the ones
who are praying for it.
Like you -- for example.

Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups.
Now that you mention it, I could probably name some others.

So could I

I haven't thought about it very much until now,
but I really would like to cut out some of those things.
I would like to, you know, be really free.

Good. Now we're getting somewhere. We'll work together -- You and ME.
I'm proud of You.

Look, Lord, if you don't mind,
I need to finish up here.
This is taking a lot longer than it usually does.
Give us this day, our daily bread.

You need to cut out the bread.
You're overweight as it is.

Hey, wait a minute! What is this?
Here I was doing my religious duty,
and all of a sudden you break in
and remind me of all my hang-ups.

Praying is a dangerous thing.
You just might get what you ask for.
Remember, you called ME -- and here I am.
It's too late to stop now.
Keep praying. ( . . pause . )
Well, go on.

I'm scared to.

Scared? Of what?

I know what you'll say.

Try ME.

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

What about Ann?

See? I knew it!
I knew you would bring her up!
Why, Lord, she's told lies about me, spread stories.
She never paid back the money she owes me.
I've sworn to get even with her!

But -- your prayer --
What about your prayer?

I didn't -- mean it.

Well, at least you're honest
But, it's quite a load carrying around all that bitterness
and resentment isn't it?

Yes, but I'll feel better as soon as I get even with her.
Boy, have I got some plans for her.
She'll wish she had never been born.

No, you won't feel any better.
You'll feel worse.
Revenge isn't sweet.
You know how unhappy you are --
Well, I can change that.

You can? How?

Forgive Ann.
Then, I'll forgive you;
And the hate and the sin,
will be Ann's problem -- not yours.
You will have settled the problem
as far as you are concerned.

Oh, you know, you're right.
You always are.
And more than I want revenge,
I want to be right with You . . (sigh).
All right all right . .
I forgive her.

There now! Wonderful! How do you feel?

Hmmmm. Well, not bad. Not bad at all!
In fact, I feel pretty great!
You know, I don't think I'll go to bed uptight tonight.
I haven't been getting much rest, you know.

Yeah, I know.
But, you're not through with your prayer are you? Go on.

Oh, all right.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Good! Good! I'll do that.
Just don't put yourself in a place
where you can be tempted.

What do you mean by that?

You know what I mean.

Yeah. I know.

Okay! .

Go ahead. Finish your prayer.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.

Do you know what would bring me glory --
What would really make me happy?

No, but I'd like to know.
I want to please you now.
I've really made a mess of things.
I want to truly follow you.
I can see now how great that would be.
So, tell me . . .How do I make you happy?

YOU just did.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The best is yet to come - so keep your fork


There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live.

So as she was getting her things "in order", she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible. Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

"There's one more thing," she said excitedly.

"What's that?"came the pastor's reply.

"This is very important," the woman continued. "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand."

The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say.

"That surprises you, doesn't it?" the woman asked.

"Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request," said the pastor.

The woman explained. "In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.' It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming...like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!"

"So, I just want people to see me there in the casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, "What's with the fork?"

Then, I want you to tell them:

"Keep your fork....The best is yet to come".

The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye.

He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did.

She KNEW that something better was coming. At the funeral people were walking by the woman's casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand.

Over and over, the pastor heard the question,
"What's with the fork?"

And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died.

He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

He was right.

So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you oh so gently, that the best is yet to come.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

To my sisters in the Lord -

T o my sisters in the Lord...

There comes a time in every woman's life when she has to take a close look at herself. Not at her circumstance, not at what she did, not how unfair life is, or at who made you do it. She has to just look at herself in all her glory and imperfection. Have you ever admired a woman who has been through changes in her life? Or have you made up in your mind that she is just messed up. Before you make this mistake, take a closer look. A woman who has endured the most unusual life is someone of wisdom, someone who has been chosen by God to go through things that have made her stronger.

Think of all the great women in the Bible: Mary Magdalene, Ruth and Naomi, the woman with an issue of blood, and Esther, to name a few. Mary was a prostitute, a very uneasy woman. But by the time Jesus was done with her, she was His closest follower. Esther was unfortunate in marrying an abusive man, but by the time God was done with her, she had married one of the wealthiest men in the land.

Women are so quick to beat the next one down instead of trying to hold her up. Before you wonder, 'What's up with her?' ask yourself, 'What's up with me?' That woman could be my mother, sister, aunt, in-law, stepmother, niece, grandmother, great-grandmother, neighbor, friend, or co-worker, etc. That woman could be ME.

Women are the carriers of life, not the channels of death. Let's build and encourage each other, as did Ruth and Naomi. Encourage and love, forgive and forget.

May the peace and love of Christ be upon you!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lord, my cross is too heavy

We complain about the cross we bear but don't realize
it is preparing us for the dip in the road that God can see and we can't.
Whatever your cross, whatever your pain,
there will always be sunshine, after the rain....
Perhaps you may stumble, perhaps e ven fall;
But God's always ready, to answer your call....
He knows every heartache, sees every tear,
a word from His lips, can calm every fear...
Your sorrows may linger, throughout the night,
But suddenly vanish, dawn's early light...
The Savior is waiting, somewhere above,
to give you His grace, and send you His love...

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

We never know who we will touch - Hospice

I spent the day with an old friend that is making her journey for this life to the next. Yes, she has family but it seems they are all too busy to sit by the bed of a old women that wants nothing more than to go home to be with her Lord. Everyone wants to be around when a baby is born but no one wants to hold the hand of someone that is dying. I am not passing judement on anyone, everyone handles death in their own way. I consider it a privilage to be a part of a persons final journey. We never know what way we will touch someone unless we are open to where God leads us. God does not always call those that are prepared but He will prepare those He calls.

When I got home this afternoon a bit upset that people refuse to do what is right for others I found this email in my box. Guess God knew what I needed!
When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, and then drive away.
But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.
So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.
There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. "It's nothing", I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated".
"Oh, you're such a good boy", she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"
"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.
"Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice".
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long." I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.
"What route would you like me to take?" I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.
We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now"
We drove in silence to the address she had given me.It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.
"Nothing," I said
"You have to make a living," she answered.
"There are other passengers," I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said.
"Thank you."
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?
What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.
But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Thank you, my friend...
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Life as a Deacon's wife is not dull - to say the least!

I decide to start off the New Year with a light hearted blog. I have written before about my many adventures as a Deacon’s wife. Well, Sunday night Mass was definitely an adventure! I was enlisted to be the alter server (the person that assist the deacon and priest during Mass, we wear a white alb and sit off to the side of the altar). This is not a problem as we often do not have anyone show up on Sunday night – I don’t blame the kids that are assigned this duty – THEY CAN”T DRIVE.
It was the feast of the Holy Family and Father wanted to use the incensor – LOTS of incense. Father’s theory is “if they ain’t coughing we ain’t used enough incense”. We have a beautiful new incensor but Father prefers the old one. I was in charge of the incensor – the coals had been lit and we were ready to head down the aisle. Father was giving me instruction on how he wanted me to swing the incensory as we entered the church. He wanted me to use the old 1-2-3 loop over top. I told him Tom would have a heart attack if I did that; just let me use the standard side to side. Farther said just watch me do it – it is not hard. With that he goes 1-2-3 and as the incensor rounded the top of the loop it FLEW off the end of the chain, hit the floor the coals jumped out and started rolling down the middle of the sacristy leaving a trail of burning carpet along the way. Father is already vested and could not get his alb moving in the right direction to be of much help. I knew not to grab the incensor or attempt to pick up the coals bare handed. So, I am running around trying to find the bucket we use to put Holy Water in – my greatest fear was that the smoke from the carpet would set of the sprinkler system. Can’t imagine what the folks in the pews would have thought as they sit there prayerfully waiting for mass to start and suddenly it is raining - indoors!
I finally found something to put water in, doused the five spots that were smoking in the carpet. I grabbed a towel and started trying to soak up some of the ash and water while the sacristan is jumping around yelling “That is one of the good towels; don’t use that one it is a good towel”. At this point I would have ripped off my alb and used it to assure that the FIRE was out. Once satisfied that the sacristy would not erupt in flames we headed out to begin mass.
The music begins to play – I am carrying the cross and as I take my first step down the aisle Father whispers “I am going to tell Father (pastor) that you started the fire”. Well, I almost tripped over my own feet – then he finishes with “Cause he loves you more than me”.
We made it through Mass without any further incidents. I emerged with yet another story to add to my raptor of “Life as a Deacon’s wife”!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Did you follow a star to a empty stable - are you wise enough to know what to do

This is the notes from Sunday's Homily - I was very moved by what Fr. Ed said. I think we so often follow our own stat and end up at a empty stable and have no idea what to do. In no way could I inprove on Father's words.

What a disappointment the Magi must have experienced when they looked down on
Bethlehem from a nearby Judean hill after having traveled miles by camel. They had
followed a star, expecting a palace or perhaps a stately mansion but discover that the star had come to rest over a stable. Following stars and finding stables is common in our human experience. Haven’t you at some time in your life fixed your gaze on some lofty star only to find it led to a stable?

A young man graduates from high school full of great dreams and expectations about
the future only to wake up one day and discover himself enmeshed in the very
drudgery that he had promised himself he would avoid.

A woman comes to retirement age. She thinks of all the good things she's going to be
able to do. After a few weeks, however, she begins to discover that retirement is not
exactly what she thought it would be.

At some time all of us in our lives follow a star only to discover a stable. The
problem is how to turn that stable into a moment of salvation. What is it that enables wise men to turn the stables of life into victory?

First, they look for God in that stable. We could not have blamed the Magi if they
had just turned back toward home when they saw their journey’s end in a stable.
Joseph, the favored son of the patriarch Isaac from the Old Testament story, with a
coat of many colors was kidnapped from his home and betrayed by his brothers, sold
to slave traders, and put in prison. Can one suppose that during all that humiliation he could see where God was taking him? Joseph turned it all around and eventually rose in the hierarchy of Egypt to become the pharaoh’s advisor. When Joseph’s brothers stood before him in fear, he calmed them with these words: “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”

Can you look at your own disappointments and see God’s power and purpose? Look
for God in that stable?

Second, the wise men offer their best to God.
Renoir, the French artist, was afflicted with acute rheumatism, and suffered most of
his life with that incurable malady. For many years he was forced to paint while
sitting in a chair. A friend noticed one day that the artist was forcing himself to paint, through almost blinding pain. “You have painted enough,” said the friend. “You are established as one of the top artists of France and Europe. Why must you go on,torturing yourself like this?” Renoir hardly looked up at him from his canvas. He said, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”

Third, because of what happens in the stable, the wise men took a different direction home. This is always what happens when you encounter God and attempt to give him your best; he will chart out a new direction for your life. Disappointment can be the best thing that ever happens to you if it helps you to grow. The difference between mediocrity and greatness is that those who are great learn from their experience; when they’ve dusted themselves off, they’re better people for their experience.

Have you followed a star only to arrive at a stable? If then, look for God there. You
may be surprised by what you find. Offer your best to God and He will use it in his
Kingdom. When you leave, go home by another way; don’t do what the Herods in
this world ask you to do. These are the secrets of wise men of every age when they
follow a star and find a stable.

I would like to close with a poem, titled appropriately “Anyway”.
• People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway!
• If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good
• If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed
• The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway!
• Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway!
• The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest
people with the smallest minds. Think big anyway!
• People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for some underdogs
• What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway!
• People really need help but may attack you if you help them. Help people
• Give the world the best you have and you will get kicked in the teeth. Give the
world the best you have anyway!

Despite the setbacks, disillusionments and changes thrown in their path, the story of
the Magi is of persistence, dedication and flexibility with a profound measure of
faith; not bad for three individuals who had no vested interested in a Messiah
themselves. How good a Magi would you have been
Fr. Ed

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

We all fall down -

We have all heard the expression “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. While this might be true in most cases it is not so with God. God is the only person that I know that will allow us to make a second impression as many times as necessary. No matter how many times we say “I promise” then fail to keep that promise God forgives us, welcomes us back and allows us to once again make a “first impression”. The difference between us and many of the Saints is that while they continued to fall down along their journey they always got up – often we fall down and give up.
My challenge for you in 2008 is “keep getting up”. St. Peter has always been my hero! He was always the one to answer Jesus call first and the first to fall down and still he was given the keys to heaven – this give me hope that I have a chance to one day sit in the presences of my Lord.
Happy New Years and my God grant you a special portion of His grace in the coming year.

Look back and thank God.
Look forward and trust God.
Look around and serve God.
Look within and find God!"

"I asked God, 'How do I get the best out of life?' God said,
'Face your past without regrets. Handle your present with
confidence; and prepare for the future without fear!'"