Good Friday – What did Jesus say to you?

Meditation for Good Friday – use your imagination and contemplate what happens in the Garden of Gethsemane:

Relax and breathe in the healing light of Christ – Breathe out the tension in your spirit.  Know that you are in a safe place; no harm can come to you here; relax in Christ.  Open  your heart.

You are at the  Garden of Gethsemane.  You are standing nearby, watching as Jesus kneels to pray, while the apostles are huddled together – nearly falling asleep.

You can see how distressed Jesus is over what he is about to face.  He doesn’t want to take the cup that is before him – he knows of its bitter taste and he knows what is coming – but he says anyway, “Abba…..not my will, but your will Father.”

What are you feeling as you watch Jesus in his desolation?  He knows that his friend Judas will come and give him a fatal kiss of betrayal.  He knows that his disciple will betray him soon, not once, but 3 times.

Watch him as he looks around at the sleeping disciples.  And then he turns and sees YOU standing there.  See the pain and anguish in his eyes as he cries tears of blood.

Then he says, “The hour as come”.  Now he is ready to go and do his Father’s will.  He gets up and walks toward you – as he comes near you, he leans in toward you and whispers, “I do this just for you.”

How do you respond to Jesus?  Go to your own Garden of Gethsemane – Jesus is there.  Reflect on a time when Jesus asked you to drink from a cup you didn’t want to drink.  What are you feeling?  Tell Jesus about your fear, reluctance and even anger about having to take this cup before you.  Ask him for the courage to accept your cup and say your own Yes to the Father.

Listen to what Jesus says to you.  Receive his love and comfort.  Thank him for being there with you.  Feel him walking with you toward the cup, just as he promised.

Breathe deep.  Leave your Garden of Gethsemane, taking with you the gifts of love, peace, healing and forgiveness.   Remember:  Resurrection always follows Crucifixion!

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Advent Mission – Come and be blessed!!!

If you missed my series in October, you have another chance to hear it and grow your relationship with God.

I will be repeating it in an Advent Mission at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church parish in New Iberia.  It will be December 4-5-6 at 6:00 in the Parish Life Center.  Come join me and lets grow our faith in Christ together!!  What a great birthday present you can give to Jesus – your presence!!!

Here is the summary of what we will cover for the 3 nights:

Dec 4:  God Invitation/A Life of Prayer:  You will have an opportunity to discover how your heart prefers to pray as you discern his will for your life.

Dec 5:  Mercy/Forgiveness:  As we look at sin and how much we are forgiven, we learn about God’s mercy and forgiveness; and learn how to cooperate with the grace his gives.

Dec 6:  Jesus and his Life:  We’ll get to know Jesus as friend, confidant and the gifts he bless us with in abundance.

During these turbulent times in our church we need to remember why we are Catholic and who we serve.  Let’s grow in Christ together, get to know our intimate God and discover his will for our lives.

I invite you to join me as I share my faith and invite you to grow yours.  Let’s make this a special Advent season by deepening our relationship with the Lord!!

To Priests/Deacons/Seminarians

I address this to priests/deacons/seminarians of my Diocese to express my support and trust in you and my love for my Catholic faith.  Being a Catholic all of my 66 years, I was taught to treat our parish priest with respect.  Priests were holy men who deserved our full attention and obedience – similar to what we were taught about God.  I trusted all of you to always teach me to right way to live my life and how to treat others.  Like Jesus, you were the example to follow and to my young eyes, would do no serious wrong

The purpose of this writing is to communicate to you how much I, and I believe everyone in the pews, need your unwavering faithfulness to your vocation as our shepherd, pastor and spiritual leader.  I would ask that each of you look at where you in your own walk with the Lord and discern if you have strayed from your call or are being tempted beyond your ability to resist.  Please do not allow the false spirit to rob you of your faith or by means of your weakness, of ours.  The crisis we are finding in the church today will no doubt shake the faith of some people.  As for me and my family, we know full well who we serve – Jesus and no other.  However, we do need good, faithful spiritual leaders to guide us and keep us strong in standing faithful to the gospel.

I want you to know that I am praying for you and your vocation; that it remain pure and not be tainted by any temptation.  If you have fallen prey to sin by the false spirit, pray for forgiveness and remove yourself from the pulpit.  The healing process needs to begin and continue until our church is whole.  I believe that God is calling for a renewed conversion of everyone in the church today, for those in the pew and especially for you who stand at the pulpit.  To those of you who have not sinned, keep yourself safely in God’s protective embrace and do not stray from it.

To the young priests and seminarians; the faith of my grandchildren is in your hands.  When you baptize them, you must be able to stand true to the baptismal promises you ask us to make.  I don’t want them to experience the disappointment, sadness and even anger I feel during these times of crisis.  So, I would ask you to discern carefully your motive in answering a call to the priesthood.  Is it truly a call from God or a pursuit to a worldly lifestyle you might be attracted to?

I have been a Spiritual Director for the past 13 years.  Never have I heard of such pain, sadness and disappointment in some of our shepherds who have fallen prey to sin, whether proven or otherwise.  You may be unaware of how much your parishioners look to you and observe your behavior.  You really do set the example and when you fail to live up to the gospel message you preach to us, it is difficult to reconcile and feels very hypocritical.  You must stand faithful if you are to be true to your vocation.  I offer these words to you in a spirit of love and spiritual admonition.

We need our priests to be true disciples and good models of Jesus.

Malachi 2:7  For the lips of the priest are to keep knowledge, and instruction is to be sought from his mouth because he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts. 

I will always remain true to my Catholic faith.  I choose to stand faithful and pray big for each of you during these times of cleansing and healing in our church.  I also pledge my prayers and support to you who are true to your vocation and never lose sight of it.

God Bless You!

 

Prayer Only for Today

I came across this beautiful prayer several days ago in the Magnificat Year of Mercy Companion book.  I’ve been praying it and would like to offer it for your reflection.

Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.

Only for today, I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in my behavior; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.

Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.

Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.

Only for today, I will devote ten minutes to some good reading, for good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.

Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.

Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure that no one notices.

Only for today, I will make a plan for myself; I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.

Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.

Only for today, I will have no fears.  In particular, i will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness.

(Pope John XXIII)

 

You’re going to the Nativity…are you ready?

I invite you into an imaginative contemplation using the style taught by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Ignatius teaches us to enter a scene in scripture as an observer, as one of the people in scripture or as in the contemplation I offer here as yourself. We take part in the scripture scene and hear the message God has intended for us,
So, take a quiet moment away from the shopping, decorating, cooking, and all the Christmas preparations and come to the nativity. There is a young girl there about to have a baby and she needs your help. You can decide which person you are called to be – the innkeeper, the husband, the girl, a passerby, an observer, or maybe the innkeeper’s wife.
This contemplation begins with the innkeeper telling the husband that he has no more rooms. All the rooms in his inn are filled with people who have come to Bethlehem in order to fulfill their requirements of the census called by Herod.
The husband is turning to leave, when the innkeeper tells him he can use their stable behind the inn. There are animals in it but it’s all he has to offer. The husband is grateful and accepts, glad to have the shelter.
As the husband leaves the innkeeper’s wife comes in, having just walked by the girl on the donkey, heavy with child.
She tells her husband ” How could send that man to the stables, didn’t he tell you his wife was going to have a baby, and it might be as soon as tonight?”
The husband replied “No, he didn’t tell me anything about a wife.”
So, his wife goes to gather her best linens and tells him “I’ll be in the stable with that couple. They are about to become a family. That young girl looks so tired and frightened. I bet this is her first child. I’m going help her so don’t look for me for a whole. I’m staying with her for as long as she needs me.”
The innkeeper’s wife goes to the stable just as the couple are settling in. She helps to gather straw and sets up a makeshift bed for them as she notices the girl is beginning to go into labor.
“Rest easy my lady, I’m here and I’m not leaving you. I can help you. I’ve had two babies of my own and know what to do.” instructs the woman.
They introduce themselves to each other. They talk about their lives, their husbands and mostly about their faith. As the night wears on, the woman is mid-wife to the young woman, Mary who has not become her friend.

(Imagine for yourself what that conversation would have been like. What would you like to say to her; to ask her? How would you care for her? )

As the baby is born, the older woman is wondering where all the music is coming from – seems to be coming from the sky – the heavens! She wonders who these three men are and where they came from. They say they came to worship their King. She looks at her new friend, Mary, and wonders at all this. As she begins to understand the meaning of this night, Mary takes her Son from the manger and offers him to the woman.
“May I introduce you to Jesus, my son, your King?” says Mary as she hands her son to the woman.

Ponder the scene:
Do you accept Jesus right away or is some hesitation to accept this precious gift? If you accept him, look into his eyes and allow him to see into your heart and love you unconditionally, just as you are! If there is hesitation, ask Jesus to show you why and heal whatever resistance there may be so that you can enjoy the fullness of his love!

Merry Christmas Mary, my friend. Thank you for bringing Jesus to me!

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Are you missing the banquet?

Our parish priest gave a great homily this Sunday.  He told a true story about a family coming onto the boat with bread and cheese for a long voyage.  Their were a proud family and kept to themselves, not willing to mingle with other passengers.  They stayed in their rooms and ate sparingly of their bread and cheese, wanting it to last till they reached their destination.  During the course of the trip, they grew restless and were hungry for better, more nourishing food.  On the last day of the voyage, the son begged his father to go up on deck to look around before they landed.  He said yes and the son dashed out, longing for a better view of the ship.

After several hours, the son had not returned; so the father decided to go look for him.  When he found him sitting at a large banquet table with a plate piled high with meats, vegetables and deserts – eating his fill.  The father imagined spending his first days on land in prison because he could not pay for all the food his son was consuming.

“Hey Father, come, eat; it’s all free” the son yelled as soon as he saw his father.  The captain brought me here.  He said all this food has been served every day and it is all included in the price of our tickets.

ARE YOU SETTLING FOR BREAD AND CHEESE, WHEN YOU COULD BE FEASTING ON THE BANQUET OF THE LORD?

Jesus paid the price of our ticket to paradise and he provides divine food for our journey.  His banquet is ours for the receiving each time we attend mass.  Do you miss mass on Sunday?  How about mass during the week?  If so, could you be settling for mere bread and cheese when you could be feasting on the food your body and soul desires?

HOW ARE YOU FEEDING YOUR SPIRIT – WITH BREAK AND CHEESE OR WITH THE FOOD OUR LORD PROVIDES THAT WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU THIRSTY OR HUNGRY?

What are my gifts?

Pray about this and journal…….What spiritual gifts do I have?

This past Sunday, Father talked about the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit.  We each have our own unique gifts that come from the same source, the Holy Spirit of God.  He reminded us of them, asked us to remember our own gifts and asked us if we are using them wisely in service to God and his church.  These gifts are:  Wisdom, Knowledge, Counsel, Fortitude, Understanding, Piety and Fear of the Lord.

Pray and Journal:   Which ones are you able to receive and claim as your own? How are you using these gifts in your own life?  Would others recognize your use of these gifts, or do you keep them hidden and unused?

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