Saturday, July 31, 2010

Forgive others as you wish to be forgiven.

7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. 14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matthew 6:7-15)

Jesus is saying that it is in our own best interest to forgive! He is not talking about what is in the best interest of the person who needs to be forgiven. We are the ones who God is trying to protect. We are the ones who receive the most benefit from forgiveness, not the other person. A spirit of unforgiveness complicates and compromises our daily walk with God. Forgiving others releases us from anger and allows us to receive the healing we need. The whole reason God has given us specific direction is because He does not want anything to stand between us and Him. God's love for us is beyond our comprehension. Forgiving others spares us from the consequences of living out of an unforgiving heart.
Forgiving others does not carry with it a single decision that we need to ponder. God has not qualified one sin as being more grievous to Him than another and He has not qualified one sin committed against us as warranting forgiveness and another not. He is saying to forgive everyone, always, and do it immediately, just as we wish to be forgiven.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Faith needs no special credentials.

1When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this, 5because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue." 6So Jesus went with them.
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
9When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel." 10Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well. (Luke 7:1-10)

The story of the believing centurion is probably the best example of great faith in the New Testament. Jesus was so impressed with the centurion’s faith, he remarked that he had not found such great faith in Israel, the entire Jewish nation. One might think that such faith should have emerged from one of the religious leaders of the day, such as the Scribes or Pharisees, most of whom had been students of the scriptures from their early youth. But this man was not even a Jew, but a gentile. To make matters more unique, he was a soldier in the Roman army, whose military occupation of Palestine was viewed with disdain by most Jews.

Ironic as it may seem, it isn’t always the religious leaders, ministers, or theologians who aspire toward spiritual things. Often, it is the unsuspecting layman, the housewife, the farmer, the soldier or other humble, common people who demonstrate great faith in God. We must never lose sight that the Gospel is a simple message which has no respect of persons, nor requires any special credentials to believe it.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mercy for all.

38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
(Matthew 5:38-42)

The phrase "eye for an eye" meant under Hebrew law that if damages were incurred due to a person's action or negligence, that person would be required to undergo penalties equal to the damages incurred. This law limited the penalty so that they were equal to the action committed. This was a huge step in ancient law because normally the penalties were far greater than the crime. You could say the the law permitted no more than an eye for an eye.
That was a huge step forward in criminal justice for these ancient people.
Now Jesus comes along and says that in order to be a follower of his, you gave to avoid seeking retribution at all, forgive, and give more than you originally had been forced give. Jesus expects his followers to be merciful and forgiving.
If we were all to actually follow this law of Jesus, we would have no more fighting, no more killing, no more hate, etc, and this life on earth would be a paradise. Isn't that what we are wanting to happen after we die? Don't we expect to go to a place where everyone loves; a place of peace and beauty?
The question I ask is how will we live in a paradise after we die, when we have not begun to learn how to live like that in this world? How will we be able to have a relationship with God after we die, if we have not begun to establish it here? Will we somehow be changed after we die? Maybe so. However, it occurs to me that we have to begin practicing the love here on Earth, during our lifetime. No, earthly life is not and never will be a paradise. There are many trials and tribulations that we will face during our lifetime. But it is in this lifetime that we learn to love God and be merciful to one another. We will not be perfect at it, but we can at least make the effort to live in God's paradise now, and rely on God to do the rest.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jesus must be first in our lives.

32"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn " 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'
37"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
(Matthew 10:32-38)

This is a difficult passage. Jesus is not telling us that we cannot love our relatives and friends. He is telling us that God must come first in our lives.
I think that this is why he is telling us this. If we love God and feel God's love for us, we cannot help but have love for others. This is because if we are Jesus centered, we will treat others as Jesus treated others.
Jesus loved his mother, Mary, and made sure that she would be provided for, when he was dying on the cross. He loved God and was doing the will of God, but still was concerned for his mother's well being.
It is the same for us, we must be centered on God. We too, must be willing to do God's will. However, in doing God's will, we cannot help but to be of service to others.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What did Jesus mean by this?

First read this.
Here are two translations of the same Scripture passage.

New International Version (©1984)
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:19)
New Living Translation (©2007)
And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven." (Matthew 16:19)

Now read this.

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, Chairman of the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), responded to a clarification from the Vatican that raised the attempted ordination of a women to a “more grave delict,” or a Church crime that is always referred to the Holy See, in a July 15 statement.
U.S. Bishops’ Doctrine Chairman Welcomes Vatican Clarification On Ordination and Praises The Work Of Women In The Church.
Part of the archbishop’s statement follows: (I encourage to go to the USCCB website for the rest of the statement.)
The Vatican’s clarification today of the seriousness with which it holds offenses against the Sacrament of Holy Orders is a welcome statement.
The seven sacraments are an integral and identifying part of the Catholic Church and the faith life of each Catholic. To feign any sacrament would be egregious. The Catholic Church through its long and constant teaching holds that ordination has been, from the beginning, reserved to men, a fact which cannot be changed despite changing times.

First of all it is the "Roman" Catholic Church that is making this statement. Second of all there are other groups who are also Catholic in teaching who do not agree with "Rome" in this matter.

"a fact which cannot be changed despite changing times"

I would like to focus on this part of the statement. My question to Rome is why can't it be changed when Jesus told Peter that it could. Jesus gave the leaders in the church the power and the ability to make rules, not just forgive sins, as we commonly think. If they can make rules, then they can change rules. I think that the problem is not that it cannot be changed; the problem is that Rome does not want to make this change. Let's call a spade a spade here.

I will restate that part of "Rome's" statement to say what is true.

"a fact that the Roman Catholic Church does not want to change despite changing times"

So I challenge Rome to "permit" or "loose" this discriminatory practice. They have been given the power to do this by Jesus himself. There are women who have been ordained "priests" in these other denominations of the Catholic Church; and they are done in apostolic succession, despite Rome's claim to the contrary; and they are preaching the same gospel of Jesus.

I will ask all of you the question.

Would he allow women to be priests? Would he say that he does not want women to be priests, only men?

I will let you think about that.

With peace and hope,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Monday, July 26, 2010

In Jesus there is hope.

19and many of (A)the Jews had come to (B)Martha and Mary, (C)to console them concerning their brother.

20(D)Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but (E)Mary stayed at the house.

21Martha then said to Jesus, "(F)Lord, (G)if You had been here, my brother would not have died.

22"Even now I know that (H)whatever You ask of God, God will give You."

23Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."

24Martha said to Him, "(I)I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."
25Jesus said to her, "(J)I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,
26and everyone who lives and believes in Me (K)will never die. Do you believe this?"
27She said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are (L)the Christ, the Son of God, even (M)He who comes into the world." (John 11:19-27)
I think at times we all need to be reminded that Jesus has the power to overcome death; that he has the power to overcome everything. So what does that mean to us as Christians? It means that when we are faced with monumental obstacles, pain, and sorrow, we can turn to Jesus for help and he will be able to comfort and help us. It is when we try to face difficult situations, or devastating sorrow by ourselves that we may begin to experience feelings of hopelessness. It is at the times of greatest trouble in our lives that we should turn to Jesus. The wonderful part of this is that Jesus wants us to come to him. We will not be turned away.

Peace and love.

"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

God's Treasure of Love

44"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. (Matthew 13:44-4)
Seeking for hidden treasure has fascinated people for many centuries.
When banks were unknown, people buried their valuables in the earth.
It is surprising that the greatest of all possibilities has no attraction for most of earth's residents. God's treasure of love is fabulous,but we fail to recognize.
Let's face it, earths treasure (money, power, prestige etc) only satisfies us for a short period of time, it runs out, and then we look for more treasure. We do not recognize the treasure that greets us in the morning as we rise, and is with us when we sleep. If we feel God's love, there is nothing that we need. God's love is bountiful, it never runs out, so we do not have to go out and look for more. God's there with us always, but we must be aware of what a treasure that is.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Before you were born, God knew you.

4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying,
5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
6 "Ah, Sovereign LORD," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child."
7 But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD.
(Jer 1:4-8)

Knowing that it was God who knew us, and formed us, and called us into life, is the foundation of our existence. When everything else around us is not making sense, this truth can give us the grounding that we desperately need to go on. We are all looking for a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. Many people have not received this affirmation from their parents, but it was not their parents who knew them before they were conceived, but God. It was God who formed each one of us in our mother's womb and called us to life. It was God who set us apart for His divine purposes and plans.
I am grateful that God formed me and called me into life. However, I did not always feel that way. There was a trust factor missing in my life that only God could help me to experience. Many times the people in our lives let us down. This could be our parents, spouses, siblings, or friends. This sometimes leaves us with the feeling that we are fearful of trusting. People may disappoint us and hurt us, but God will never do that. We can always count on God to be there with us, no matter what the circumstance or situation. We can always trust that loves us.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The closest female Apostle of Jesus.

10Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"
"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." 14At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."
16Jesus said to her, "Mary."
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).
17Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' "
18Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.
(John 20:10-18)

Mary Magdalene is mentioned in the lists of Jesus’ female companions that appear in the four Gospels. Some believe that Mary Magdalene was an important figure among the female Apostles, perhaps even their leader and a member of Jesus’ inner circle.
The Scriptures do not say she was a prostitute, although that was the common understanding of her in my Roman Catholic school teachings. There is really no mention of her background in the Scriptures other than Jesus casting seven demons out of her. There is some thought that the word "demons" signify physical ailments and not demonic possession.
Mary Magdalene’s role in the canonical gospels is small; in noncanonical gospels like Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip and the Acts of Peter, she plays a prominent role, often asking intelligent questions when all the other disciples are confused. In these gospels, Jesus is depicted as loving her more than any of the others because of her understanding.
Mary Magdalene is not mentioned often in the canonical gospel texts, however, she does appear at key moments and has become an important figure for those interested in the role of women in early Christianity as well as in Jesus’ ministry. She accompanied him throughout his ministry and travels. She was a witness to his death, which according to Mark, appears to be a requirement in order to truly understand Jesus’ nature. She was a witness to the empty tomb and was instructed by Jesus to carry the news to the other disciples. The risen Jesus appeared to her first in all four cannonical gospels, signifying her importance to him and also as an indication of the importance of women in general to the ministry of Jesus.
Mary Magdalene is recognized as a Saint in the Catholic Church and the celebration of her feast day is July 22.

Peace and love,

"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Are we clean on the inside?

37When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised.
39Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

Jesus is asking those who invited him over for a meal to take a look inside of themselves. They were spending a great deal of time, energy, and worry over being clean outside. While there is nothing wrong with that, the bigger issue was on the inside, Were their hearts were clean? Knowing them and their values, he challenges them to do something that would reveal just who they were, inside and out. He spoke to their greed. While they may look religious and righteous on the outside, he knew that greed was consuming them on the inside. In our age, Jesus' challenge still stands. We must take a look on the inside of ourselves. The monster on the inside for a lot of us today is still the same: greed. It is funny how some things never change.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

God desires mercy, not sacrifice.

9As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
10While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

12On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:9-13)

Here is the heart of the matter. Jesus mission was to invite and compel sinners to return to a relationship with God. He had not come to judge but to save. Inviting and compelling others takes time and it takes a relationship. Jesus was not worried about his standing with the God or what people might think. He was sure that if these sinners were never given the chance to turn to God then they would be forever lost.
His words were based on God’s words to the Prophet Hosea long ago.

“”For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings" (Hosea 6:6)

Like most religious people who try hard to keep the rules, to fight temptation and to stay within the laws of God the religious leaders had developed a distaste, even a loathing for those that were profane, gross, crude or irreverent. Sinners were enemies of the ways of God. As our society struggles with the balance of personal freedoms and moral duty we feel the same assault as well. There is a battle going on. So the question is, do we handle this battle like the religious leaders of Jesus time, or do we handle this battle as Jesus handled it.
Jesus chose to show mercy to all those who asked it of him, regardless of their sins, in the very presence of those that had worked so hard to obey the rules all their lives, to do the right thing, to follow after God.

It is our duty as followers of Jesus to follow his example in the ways of mercy. It can be through our example of mercy and acceptance that someone turns back to God. People flocked to Jesus because he showed genuine compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness. We can do no less if we call ourselves Jesus' followers.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rely on Jesus.

1Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone."
4Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent.
5He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
(Mark 3:1-6)

When life deals you a bad hand, you still can win. If you have Jesus, what you do with the hand determines your success. How do you handle it? Do you walk away from God? Number one, stay in the game with Jesus and do not quit. This game is life, stand in the game of life and do not be afraid of situations. Stand and do what God told you to do. Do not be a coward. If you do not stand, it is over; be who you are. Stretch forth, give it to God. Whatever the problem, Jesus can fix it. Jesus restores, whatever your needs are. Stand when things are not popular and he can handle life’s bad hands. With Jesus, we will always have a winning hand.

“I must rely on You, Lord, in everything that I do, for I know with absolute certainty that Your words are trustworthy and true. My trust in You must not falter as my strength is drawn from You. You give me the power and courage to conquer each day anew. To live my life for you, Lord, is to keep you in my heart and to make you the Master of my soul, knowing that you will never depart. Let all that is within me give You praise and glory each day, and may I never fail to thank you for the blessings sent my way.”

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

As "church" we are followers of Jesus. The "church" is not Jesus!

Acting through the will of Jesus, the Catholic Church as a community has done many good things. This is a testimony that Jesus is with us (his church). It is through Jesus that this good is being done. We cannot take the credit for ourselves. No woman and no man can say that they follow Jesus perfectly. This is because we are not perfect. It is arrogant to think that any human follows Jesus perfectly. This is why we must always be asking for Jesus help to guide our paths. We cannot we left to always do what is good on our own.
It is because we cannot rely upon our own goodness that we cannot turn a blind eye when the church (and we are the church, not only Rome) does or says things in contrast to the will of Jesus. Just as we must constantly look at our own motives and actions to see if we have done what is right in the eyes of God, so must we as the church.
Just remember how many times Jesus spoke harshly to the religious leaders of his own time.
The Catholic Church is not Jesus. The Catholic Church is us. We make mistakes. We sin. We fail to always do what is right. We fail to live up to the teachings of Jesus.
Therefore when it is apparent that we as the church of Jesus has done what is wrong or has said what is wrong, it is the duty of women and men of good conscience to speak about it, in order to change it. The freedom to speak out must always be allowed. We must always remember our example of how to live, what to do, what to say, and how to treat people is Jesus. No human can take his place. Humans can be in error. We can make mistakes. Therefore, the Catholic Church can be in error.
It is people of good faith, acting and speaking through the power of the Holy Spirit that can correct the error.
We must never be afraid to speak or to listen to the truth. We must never be afraid to admit our mistakes. We must always act and speak with love. We must always rely on Jesus to show us the way. Jesus is who we follow. The Catholic Church is just the imperfect community who tries to follow and sometimes fails. The real sin is in believing that we make no mistakes.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Where is the love of Jesus in all of this.

Media Release
Vatican Miscategorizes Women's Rights Advocates with Child Abusers
International Catholic organizations issue statement denouncing the oppression of women and the inadequate response to child sex crimes

Friday, June 16, 2010
Yesterday, the Vatican issued a clarification of its canonical procedures for how dioceses should handle priests who sexually abuse children. As part of the statement, they have added that the "attempted ordination of a woman" has now been added to the list of "delicta graviora," or most serious crimes in church law, alongside the sexual abuse of minors.

This morning, twenty-seven international Catholic organizations issued the following joint statement in response:

We, the undersigned, express our solidarity with Catholics who continue to seek equality, including those who practice feminist ministries and those who are ordained. We know these women and men to be firm in their faith and courageous in their work as they seek an inclusive and accountable church, undeterred by threats of excommunication or other canonical penalties. In addition, we stand with our brother priests and bishops who are also being threatened by this new policy for their support of women's equality in the church. Furthermore, we take great offense that good faith struggles for gender equality could be misunderstood as a sacrilege and placed on par with the sexual abuse of children. In 1976, the Vatican's own Pontifical Biblical Commission concluded there is no valid scriptural reason for denying ordination to women. Therefore, we welcome such efforts to expand the scope and variety of ministry and we celebrate women's faithfulness despite huge institutional obstacles.

We are gravely disappointed that the Vatican would largely repackage its sexual abuse policy norms from 2001 in yesterday's re-issued statement without adding many meaningful changes to canonical procedures on how to handle the sexual crimes of its religious leaders. We stand with survivors in calling for the release of the names of all credibly accused Catholic religious leaders and for the Vatican's immediate adoption and implementation of global child protection policies. Nothing less is adequate to the crying needs of a community torn asunder by its own leaders' crimes.

Catholic Organization Signatories

Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC), USA
Patrick B. Edgar, D.P.A., M.Div., President

BASIC (Brothers And Sisters In Christ), Ireland.
Contact: Una Ruddock
+353 1 621 6816

Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director,

Call To Action, USA
Jim FitzGerald, Executive Director

Catholics for Choice- Canada
Rosemary Ganley, Coordinator

Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, USA
Paula Ruddy, Bernie Rodel, Michael Bayly, Co-chairs
(612) 379-1043

Catholic Network for Women's Equality, Canada
Paula MacQuarrie, Coordinator

Contact: William Manseau

Corriente Somos Iglesia, Spain
Raquel Mallavibarrena, Coordinator
+34 649332654

Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir, Mexico
Maria Consuelo Mejia, Director
+5255 5658 1163

Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir, Spain
Mar Grandal, President
352 88946

8th Day Center for Justice - Women's Group, USA

Femmes et Hommes en Eglise/Genre en Christianisme, France
Danielle Penuel-Monneron, President
(0)2 33 90 78 10

Institute for Feminism and Religion, Ireland.
Mary Condren, Th.D., Director

Interreligious Convention of European Women Theologians
Lee Wax, Coordinator
0044-208 884 0476

Kerk Hardop, Netherlands
Marleen Wijdeveld, President
Isaac Wüst, Editor-in-Chief

National Coalition of American Nuns, USA
Contact: Donna Quinn

Noi Siamo Chiesa (Italian Section of IMWAC), Italy
Contact: Vittorio Bellavite

Nous sommes Aussi l'Eglise, France
Lucienne Gouguenhem, Vice-President
33 1 45 88 04 92

Pax Christi Maine, USA
Bill Slavick, Coordinator

Conatct: Gloria Ulterino

Roman Catholic Faith Community Council of the Federation of Christian Ministries
William J. Manseau, Evelyn Hunt, and Thomas Quinn, Co-Chairs

Roman Catholic Women Priests, Europe-West.
I. Riedl, Coordinator
0049-089 845 830

Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc
Contact: Alice Iaquinta

Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), USA
Mary E. Hunt and Diann L. Neu, Co-directors
301 589-2509

Women's Ordination Conference, USA
Erin Saiz Hanna, Executive Director

WomenPriests.Org, International
Therese Koturbash, Coordinator
+44 (0)1923 779 446

The rules list the attempted ordination of a woman as a "grave crime" to be handled according to the same procedures as sex abuse – despite arguments that grouping the two in the same document would imply equating them.

"The idea that women seeking to spread the message of God somehow defiles the Eucharist reveals an antiquated, backward church that still views women as unclean and unholy," said Erin Saiz Hanna, executive director of the Women's Ordination Conference, a U.S.-based organization that works to ordain women as priests, deacons and bishops.

Pope Benedict has said the question of ordaining women – often raised as an antidote to the priest shortage and to bring about more gender equality – is not up for discussion.

The Vatican in 2007 issued a decree saying the attempted ordination of women would result in automatic excommunication for the woman and the priest trying to ordain her. That is repeated in the new document, adding that the priest can also be defrocked – a permanent punishment, whereas an excommunication can be lifted if the person expresses sorrow for what he or she did.

Scicluna defended the inclusion of both sex abuse and ordination of women in the same document as a way of codifying two of the most serious canonical crimes against sacraments and morals that the congregation deals with. Also included are other sacramental crimes, including desecrating the Eucharist and – for the first time – heresy, apostasy and schism.

Clerical abuse is "an egregious violation of moral law," Scicluna said. "An attempted ordination of a woman is grave, but on another level: It is a wound, it is an attempt against the Catholic faith on the sacrament of (holy) orders. So they are grave, but on different levels."

I think that first of all it is outrageous that the Vatican took this long to publicly acknowledge that the abuse of children by male priests was a sin against church law. It is, however, a step in the right direction toward following Jesus.
But it seems to me a greater disgrace that the Vatican has declared that the ordination of women to the priesthood share equal gravity to the sin of pedophilia. A woman priest is somehow a sin against the sacraments? A sin against the Eucharistic?
What would Jesus say to that? Would Jesus really say that women are somehow not worthy to say the sacred words of consecration? Would Jesus say that women are not worthy to hear the confession of someone in need of God's forgiveness? Would Jesus say that women are valued less by God than their male counterparts? Is a woman's soul not equal to that of a man's soul? Did Paul not tell us that we are all equal in the eyes of God?
So,is this issue about Jesus or about control? Is it about ministry or is it about power? I don't recall seeing any depiction of Jesus in a tall, jeweled hat and red shoes being carried by many servants. I do seem to remember a story of Jesus riding into town on the back of a donkey.
It appears that the Roman Catholic Church is no longer a church of Jesus, but instead a church being taken over by the powers of Satan.
Remember the scripture passage about Jesus being in the desert for 40 days and the devil coming to tempt him? Our Roman Church seems to have succombed to the temptations of power, and riches and prestige that Jesus turned away from.
We cannot let this evil continue to rule the Roman Catholic Church. It is time that men and women of good conscience stand up for Jesus’ message of love that is equal for all. We must get rid of the Pharisees and Scribes who seem to be running the Roman Church. The pope and all the cardinals, bishops, and priests who subscribe to this evil must be made to resign. The church must be given back to the lovers and followers of Jesus. I believe that both women and men can serve (and I mean "serve"!!!!) God's people together whether they be priests, deacons, religious, or laity; whether they be married or single; whether they be gay or straight; whether they be rich or poor.
I intend to seek ordination myself as a married grandmother. If excommunication is my punishment, it really doesn't matter. I will never be excommunicated from the love of Jesus. Jesus came to love the outcasts and he himself became an outcast. With Jesus as my example, I can do no less!!

Jesus, please protect all those who wish to serve you and care for your people. Give support to those who are persecuted and looked down upon. Foster the call to ministry for your people, male and female. Help all of us to remain strong and dedicated to you even when everyone we know turns away. With you, we have everything. Without you, we have nothing.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Jesus is the Christian Ethical and Moral Foundation

The Beatitudes
" Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 5:1-10).

Jesus came to free the spirit of people from the chains of sin that bound the spirit. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explains what it means to have the spirit of true disciples.

Paul describes this powerful transformation in Christ in Ephesians.
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:1-5).
The first part of the Sermon on the Mount, commonly called the Beatitudes, sets forth the spiritual dimensions of the gospel law. The control of the external person depends on the nature and strength of the inward person. The impeding force of God’s power moves through people, as they become partakers of these divine qualities. Of these qualities, Peter spoke in his second letter.
"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (2 Peter 1:3-4).

A repeated and key word in this text is blessed. According to Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, this word indicates the nature of that which is the highest good. The book of Revelation uses blessed seven times. The beatitudes describe those who receive this highest nature of goodness, used twice of God . A highest nature, goodness, is coupled with a divine reward, based on a disposition of heart.
As Christ lives in us, we are able to overcome the world. When people persecute us, we rejoice: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:11-12).
That we will suffer persecution is certain. Paul wrote in 2 Tim 3:12,
“Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
The first response from a human point of view might be to strike back. Yet, with the spirit of the Beatitudes living in us, we adopt the spirit of Christ. Jesus did not strike back, no matter what was done to him. I think we forget that. Our example of how to live lies with Jesus alone. No one else before him and no one after him has ever shown us a better, more loving, more compassionate, more forgiving, way to live our lives. Though the people we love may let us down, we can never be disappointed if we follow Jesus.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jesus' call to love

31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. (Matthew 25:31-40)

Do you find it hard to be loving sometimes?
How is Jesus the perfect example of love?
How can we become more like Jesus?

It is easy to say love your enemies and do good,and God will reward you in heaven. Jesus showed us how by washing the feet of his friends and giving his life to us what it means to really love.
When we talk about loving one another like Jesus loves us we find that it is not always that easy to do. We look at Jesus and see how perfect he is and then look at our own lives and see how we fall so short. Jesus knew that living a life of love would be difficult for us.
That is why he gave us the Holy Spirit to help us to become like him. Love is the fruit of the Spirit. When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit lives inside of us. Because the Holy Spirit is inside us, she helps us to love, just like Jesus. The next time that you find it hard to be loving towards someone ask the Lord to help you, and he will!

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What message did Jesus come to bring us?

What were the main points of Jesus message?

1.Kindness seems to be the message that Jesus wanted to precede him, to disarm people so that they would not fear him.
2.Everything about Jesus spoke of simplicity, being born in a stable, living an unknown existence, showing nothing out of the ordinary except when some need called forth his extraordinary power to heal or to comfort.
3.He concerned himself with relationships, with his Father and with the people. Jesus said to love one another (John 15:9-17). Transformation comes about through relationship. God's actions came about due to a desire to be in relationship. God loves us and wants to be in relationship with us.
4. He also said that the kingdom of God is here! We are called to live in God's kingdom now. Why does Christ's teaching seem so confusing? It is confusing because his message was not merely aimed at conveying information. It sought to precipitate something more important: the spiritual transformation of the hearers.
5.Jesus' message was simple. You do not have to be a great scholar who has dedicated one’s life to religion with its traditions and practices or have an accurate understanding of religious teachings. You only have to be a person who cultivates love, compassion, and forgiveness towards others (Matthew 5:13-34).
Jesus cut through all the nonsense concocted through the centuries and touches the very core of what religion really is: our relationship with God. The person who is pleasing to God is focused on God and sensitive to all the pain and hurt that surrounds them. The accuracy in belief and disciplining human weakness are not important, but what is important is to love God and to care for others in need. These were teachings that were critical to Jesus. This was the Good News.
6.Jesus Loves People! He displayed a relaxed casualness that was disarming to people. People enjoyed being with Jesus. This is why he always attracted large crowds. He did not act piously or preach harshly to them. They were attracted to him because they sensed in him a joy and peacefulness that was unusual, and felt he really liked them. His own goodness was what ultimately inspired them to change their lives (John 14:6)
7.Jesus preached a detachment from material possessions (Luke 18:24-29). His attitude seemed to be that freedom from material possessions could be very liberating. It is important to maintain a detachment from whatever possessions we may have, and not allow ourselves to become so concerned with them that they become a serious distraction from our relationship with God. The promise of peace was a promise Jesus wanted to share with His followers (John 14:27).
8.Jesus showed little concern for the religious doctrines, customs, and rituals of the religious leaders. He did share his identity, and his relationships with the Father and the Holy Spirit, but this sharing of his inner life was the expression of his love. The doctrine of Jesus was in the relationships he was sharing (Matthew 15:29-38). He shared his unique understanding of God, and the relationship that God’s children should have with one another. Deepening of our intimacy with God and caring for one another was the religion of Jesus.
9.Jesus reveals to us a God who is wholly different from the vindictive and punishing God to which we were introduced in our youth (John 16:25-28). He was a God that Jesus knew intimately. Jesus expresses tenderness in his relationship with his Father. But most of all, Jesus prayed with expectation. He knew the Father heard his prayers and would respond.
10.Jesus did not focus his message on sin (John 8:1-11). He took people where they were at, not emphasizing their past mistakes. With Jesus, everyone had a new beginning. His approach was to teach love, love of God, and love of neighbor and everyone was a neighbor. It was a positive message about love and relationship.
11.Even though Jesus set up His Apostles as leaders to bring his message and healing to others, it did not mean that he was limiting himself to channel all of his love and healing only through those who were originally chosen (Mark 9:38-41). He let his Apostles know that he was free to choose whomever he wished to carry his message to others. He instructed the Apostles to just do their work, be humble about it, and do not judge the spiritual health of anyone other than themselves.

What message did Jesus bring for you? Think about it.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Connecting with God. What Is Lectio Divina?

12One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. (Luke 6:12)

Lectio divina means holy or sacred reading. Lectio is slow, contemplative praying of the scriptures, which leads us to union with God. The roots of Lectio can be found in the Jewish synagogue where the haga, or meditation on the Hebrew Scriptures, is practiced by rabbis and their disciples. Origen is given credit for coining the Greek term that in Latin is known as lectio divina.
Praying with lectio divina is a four-step process. Following an initial reading of a passage of scripture, the first step, called lectio (reading), was to allow a phrase or word to arise out of the text and to focus on it. The second step, called meditatio (meditation), was to ponder the words of the sacred text. The spontaneous movement of the will in response to these reflections was the third step, known as oratio (prayer). The fourth step, contemplatio (contemplation), was the practice of resting in God’s silence. Sometimes a fifth step is added to lectio, called operatio, or action. It is the moment when we end our prayer and return to daily life.
When beginning lectio divina, it is important to read the scripture passage out loud slowly at least twice, the first time for familiarity, the second time to enter more deeply into the text. We then try to notice what feelings or images arise. We must allow the Spirit to expand our ability to listen and to open ourselves to a fuller experience of scripture. When we rest in this experience for some time, it may be possible to hear God’s Word speaking to us in this moment.
After a time, as insight deepens, we will be moved to respond and say yes to God. We must take some time to explore how God is present to us and has called us to look at something in our circumstances. We may be led to speak from our hearts, write in a journal, or express our experience through some artistic medium or movement.
There are two very important aspects of lectio divina that we practice in order for our pray experience to be satisfying. The first is contemplation, which is a time for resting in the presence of the One who has spoken to us intimately and personally. We must stop all the busy activities of our lives and take quiet time to be in this moment. The other quality we need to develop is that of deep listening. Deep listening is a process of attuning ourselves to the presence of God.
We cannot be doing several things at a time for this type of prayer to be satisfying. We must stop what we are doing and take the time to be with God, just as we would if we were to have a friend or relative coming to visit. We need to spend quality time with God.
While praying with lectio divina, the ancients identified four senses of scripture: literal, allegorical, moral, and unitive. Modern biblical scholars focus primarily on the literal sense of scripture. As we pray with scripture and interiorize its message, we move into the allegorical sense. We begin to realize that the scriptures are about us. The allegorical approach shows us how each scripture passage is a multifaceted message that speaks directly to our hearts and lives. When we begin to live by scripture, we are engaging the moral sense, allowing it to inform, expand, or shift our sense of what is right and good. The moral sense leads us to the unitive level of scripture. This fourth level is reached when we are deeply immersed in God’s Word. We have assimilated the sacred texts and they have become a part of us.
Listening is the foundation that supports each step of praying lectio divina. To listen deeply, there needs to be silence and space. God is Word to us, a source of powerful communication inviting us into a deeper relationship. To hear God’s Word, listening must involve the whole person. The principle undergirding lectio divina is that God inspires each word that appears in the text, and that God continues to speak through that word.
The regular practice of lectio divina cultivates in us the ability to listen in a more intentional way. As we listen to God speak, we are called to be aware of our own patterns of resistance.
Communication is an essential aspect of relationship. Lectio divina invites us to become aware, to be the listeners we were created to be, and to listen for the sounds of God speaking to us in new ways.
We need to be humble. Humility in this sense means to be grounded in our earthiness and connected to the truth of who we are. We come to talk to God and to develop relationship with God by opening up our true selves to Him. There is no pretense or pretending. God accepts us as we are, we must learn to do the same and accept ourselves. God tells us that we are valuable as we are.
Conversation is a commitment to falling more and more in love with God. The practice of lectio divina challenges us to let go of our agendas and make room for God to surprise us with our truth and the truth of others. We commit not only to speak to God, but also to listen to him. Normal conversation goes both ways and in our desire to develop a relationship with God, we must both speak and listen.
The fundamental stance of the person of faith is to listen. When we practice listening, we become more and more aware of the internal and external things that distract us. We listen with the ear of our heart. The word heart does not simply refer to a physical organ or the seat of our emotions. It also includes other layers of meaning, such as inner understanding, feelings, will, desire, conscience, and the seat of courage.
In lectio divina, we need to learn to:
“Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10)
Solitude focuses on presence. It is often helpful to create a transition ritual to mark a time of prayer and silence. We must pray to the Holy Spirit to enlighten and inspire us.

In the silence, God speaks to us.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Forgiveness Does Not Have to Be Asked for .

Forgiveness includes all people and all grievances. Perhaps, humankind is more amenable to forgive a brother than to forgive others. The ethical standard of the Lord required us to forgive all people.
In Mark 11:25, the Lord taught, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” The word, anyone, of this passage, extends our forgiveness to all people. Christians are to forgive all people before they pray asking God to forgive them.
In Col 3:13, Paul teaches that we are to forgive whatever grievances we have: “ Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” God holds Christians to the high standard where they are to forgive everyone whatever the grievances. Of course, that is exactly what Christians receive from Him.
Forgiveness Does Not Have to Be Asked for. All of us commit sins against one another. A slight, a harsh word, a debt overlooked, all of these and more happen in all human relationships. Often we stand back, offended, waiting for the husband or wife, friend or neighbor, or Christian brother or sister to make the first move.
John teaches that we should pray for the one committing the sin and God will forgive him. Do not wait to be asked to forgive is the lesson. John wrote: " If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death" (1 John 5:16-17). The sins to which John refers are willful, continual, and sometimes against the Holy Spirit.
Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” John used love and hate to separate the children of God from the children of the devil. In 1 John 3:10, he wrote: “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”
Even God does not forsake completely those who are evil and unrighteous giving them the sun and rain to sustain their lives. The ethical and moral standard of Jesus is clear, and the result of maintaining it is clear: love your enemies and do good to them.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Christian Spirituality must be expressed in community.

34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35)

An important aspect of Christian spirituality is how it is expressed within the Christian community. The positive aspect of formal religion is the sharing of a common religious language that is created, the language of symbols and traditions created in the community of believers. The act of faith, like every act in one’s spiritual life, is dependent on language and therefore on community. Only in the community of spiritual beings is language alive. In community, we learn love, forgiveness, compassion, and hopefully acceptance.
The negative aspect of religion is when what is created is a predominate attitude of intolerance among the believers. These include the official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church concerning its exclusive possession of the truth, the negative way in which Protestant fundamentalism looks at all other forms of Christianity and religion. This intolerance is a source of idolatry because it puts the rules of the religion ahead of God. No longer is the religion an expression of the community’s love for God; instead the religion becomes of ultimate importance.
The visualization of Christianity is expressed by the symbol of the Cross of Christ. However, the Christian churches sometimes neglect the meaning of this symbol by making it the object of worship, and not the sacrifice of Jesus who is represented by this symbol. A fundamental principle to be understood is that no church has the right to put itself in the place of God, nor should it make a symbol the object of worship.
Another important aspect of Christian spirituality is the understanding that Jesus did not come to bring us a new religion. Jesus came to bring us a new way of life. This new way of life requires that it be shared with others. This new way of life must be shared within the community.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Spiritual Direction

19Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ."
21They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?"
He said, "I am not."
"Are you the Prophet?"
He answered, "No."
22Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"
23John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.' "
24Now some Pharisees who had been sent 25questioned him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"
26"I baptize with water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know. 27He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie." (John 1:19-27)

The early history of the practice of spiritual direction is evidenced in the New Testament. St. John the Baptist is often considered the model for those who would later enter the monastic life. His withdrawal to the desert, his ascetic discipline, his call to repentance, his instruction about how to live a godly life, his humility, and his pointing to Christ as the one who brings the presence of God to the world, all show elements of Christian spiritual direction. The one who would give spiritual direction must first be one who has experienced the path down which she is leading others. Scripture gives evidence of spiritual guidance in the time of Jesus and the earliest days of the Christian community. People were not just taught about Christianity, they were helped to live Christianity.
We define Christian spiritual direction as help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship. Spiritual direction is a form of soul care and its practice has been rediscovered throughout the Christian community due to the growing experience of spiritual emptiness. There is an overwhelming need in the Christian community to experience God more personally.
Cultivating an awareness of God’s presence is the foundation of the practice of spiritual direction. The whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of a person’s life, to get behind the façade of conventional gestures and attitudes which one presents to the world, and to bring out one’s inner spiritual freedom, one’s inmost truth, which is what Christians call the likeness of Christ in one’s soul. This is an entirely spiritual thing, for the work of rescuing the inner person from automatism belongs first of all to the Holy Spirit. In spiritual direction the goal is to seek discernment of how the Holy Spirit is leading a particular person’s life but at the same time to recognize that God has already revealed much of what we need to know. The spiritual director helps us to learn to recognize that revelation.

Are you looking to deepen your relationship with God? Not sure how to improve your prayer life? Spiritual direction is available.

"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Kingdom of Heaven is near.

5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' (Matthew 10:5-7)

In this Scripture passage we see Jesus sending out the twelve to "go to the lost sheep of Israel". He tells them to preach the message that the "kingdom of heaven is near". He did not tell them to preach that if you are good, you will go to heaven. He says that the kingdom of heaven is near. In other Gospels he is seen to say "the kingdom of God is at hand".
What does all that mean?
It means that we live in God's real estate right now. We do not have to die to be with God; we do not have to die to experience God's love; we do not have to die to live in "the kingdom". We are already in the kingdom of God. We just do not know how to live in the kingdom. Kingdom living means loving as God loves. Kingdom living means having compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and caring for everyone.
In his ministry to us, Jesus laid out a way of life, a way of living in the kingdom. He did not come to set up a new religion. He did not bring architectural plans for great cathedrals. He did not bring a new set of rules and regulations. He did not limit his love to only a select few. He came to free us from the prisons we have created for ourselves. He came to demonstrate the true meaning of God's love. He came to show us how to love and care for one another.
The church is us. The foundation is Jesus. The kingdom is at hand because Jesus is always with us.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Have just a little faith.

20He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20)

The parable of the mustard seed shows us that God does not have impossible expectations of us. We do not have to be perfect. We do not need to have alot of faith. God can work within us even if we have only the tiniest amount of faith. We can always trust that God will come to us where ever we are, and no matter how little faith we may have.
Jesus was trying to tell His friends that we do not have to understand everything when we have faith in God. He will take the little bit that we understand and help us to grow. The more we learn about God and how much he loves us, the more we grow, like the mustard seed. We change and become something more beautiful. However, we do not change of our own efforts. We change because of the love God has for us. As we change, our faith grows. As our faith grows, we change.
Through God's help we become the best we can be.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We need God; we need one another.

Psalm 115
1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.
2 Why do the nations say,
"Where is their God?"
3 Our God is in heaven;
he does whatever pleases him.
4 But their idols are silver and gold,
made by the hands of men.
5 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but they cannot see;
6 they have ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but they cannot smell;
7 they have hands, but cannot feel,
feet, but they cannot walk;
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.
9 O house of Israel, trust in the LORD—
he is their help and shield.
10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD—
he is their help and shield.
11 You who fear him, trust in the LORD—
he is their help and shield.
12 The LORD remembers us and will bless us:
He will bless the house of Israel,
he will bless the house of Aaron,
13 he will bless those who fear the LORD—
small and great alike.
14 May the LORD make you increase,
both you and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
16 The highest heavens belong to the LORD,
but the earth he has given to man.
17 It is not the dead who praise the LORD,
those who go down to silence;
18 it is we who extol the LORD,
both now and forevermore.
Praise the LORD.

Many people today are "kind of into" a lot of different things. It is not uncommon, for instance, to hear someone say, "I am spiritual but I am not religious; or I do not like organized religion; or I can pray anythere". Today many people between the ages of 18 and 30 believe you do not need any church or synagogue to be religious. Most also add, "Do you think that going to church really makes a difference to God?" Obviously it makes no difference to them, and in our world that becomes a short leap to saying that of course it likewise makes no difference to God. Why, after all, would God be much different from us? However, we are made in God's image, God is not made in our image. God is all about community and relationships. We may have our own personal relationship with God, but we need to share God's love in community, caring for one another.
It is very easy for us, in this modern highly technological world, to believe that we have arrived at this stage of technological sophistication all by ourselves and that we no longer need God or that we never needed God. We fail to realize that it is God who has given us our intellect and free will which has enabled us to develop our understanding of science and improve our technology over the ages. Most of our technological advances were designed by community effort.
But God continues to patiently wait for us to acknowledge our need for his love and care, and to understand our need for one another. The false gods of money, power, and technology, actually come as gifts from God. The fact that we become impressed with our own importance does not keep God from coming to our aid when we are in need. We can be comforted in the knowledge that God is not like us. God is better than us; God is more compassionate than us; God is more forgiving than us; God is more loving than us. God is not someone of our own creation. We are the creation, God is the Creator. God does not need us to survive, we need God.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Monday, July 5, 2010

May God give us Wisdom

17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Eph 1:17-23)

A clever person once said that “the only constant thing about life is change”. Things or people may come and go but change is always here. That’s what makes it so hard to know how to live. By the time you’ve adjusted to one change the situation has changed already. What we need is wisdom to know how to react or respond to those trials that come upon us.
It may be changing circumstances at work where we feel less and less valued.
It may be changes in our family situations that bring us hurt and pain. It may be changes in our health that were unexpected. It could be anything that brings us stress and a sense of anxiety or even panic.
We should never be afraid to as God for wisdom. God will never reproach us when we come to him for help. He takes us right where we are, and begins to work in us, to guide us and to heal us, as we open ourselves to him and to the wisdom he gives us.
As we go through our day and experience the trials and tribulations of the world, we must remember that God walks with us. We should never be afraid to ask God to give us the wisdom to cope with and to help us through our troubles. With God, these too shall pass.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

God loves a cheerful giver.

6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written:
"He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever." 10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.

We should feel joy in our heart when we give. As St. Paul says, we should not give grudgingly, nor out of obligation. Perhaps you have heard it said, "Give until it hurts." However, in giving to God and His Church, we say "Give until it feels good."
Therefore, if we cannot seem to feel good about our giving, it's probably because we are not giving generously and sacrificially. Our pain or discomfort may be due to the fact that we separate ourselves from God's love when we give grudgingly or out of obligation.
God loves a cheerful giver. Give because you want to give. Give because you want to please God. Give because you see a need in others that you can fill with your giving. As followers of Jesus who gave everything he could give, we give in love and in gratitude for the gifts that God has given us.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Take up Your Cross!.

25Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'
31"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:25-33 )

Letting go means to die to false gods we have turned to and chosen in our lives. These false gods could be power, money, addictions, or our defects of character such as resentments and human insecurities. At one point in my life, following Jesus more closely meant letting go of some of my stubborn pride that I became aware of through the honest feedback of a friend.
Letting go is accompanied by taking up a cross. If Jesus is the disciples’ center, then the cross is their way. The cross is the symbol of leading a persistent and peaceful life in a violent world. This is not a life of avoiding difficulties. They are to move into those places where no semblance of kingdom living can be found and bring the kingdom possibility. To follow Jesus is to use him as a rock to stand on and then put their shoulder to the wheel of the world. When the world refuses to move, the disciples receive its stubborn refusal into their bodies, as did Jesus. Carrying the cross means taking on the healing of the earth in the most radical way. This following of Jesus should not be mindless. The disciples are to think abut what it entails. A decision should be made with all the practical wisdom of a cost-conscious builder and a battle-hardened king.
The Eucharist that we celebrate is not only a participation in the healing love and forgiveness of Jesus made present to us through Word and Sacrament. It is also a commitment to follow Jesus on the road into the kingdom, by letting go of our negative attitudes and hurtful behaviour, and by picking up whatever cross fits into our lives on a daily basis.
Therefore, have faith, let go, take up your cross, and follow Jesus into the kingdom. You will not be sorry.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Friday, July 2, 2010

The God of all Surprises

4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."

5Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."
6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" (Luke 5:4-8)

A surprise is something unexpected, unanticipated, unforeseen. That is exactly what happened that day out there on Lake Gennesaret. Peter and his partners had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. Jesus tells Peter, to push the boat out further into the deeper water, and you and your partners let down your nets for a catch". Peter informs Jesus that they had been busting their guts all night but hadn't caught a thing, but he said, "If you say so, I will let down the nets".

Peter did not believe for one minute that he would have any more luck than he had before. After all, who was the experienced fishermen here? Peter did this sort of thing for a living, day in, day out, and he knew when the fishing was bad. Ask any fisherman. There are certain conditions that are just not good for fishing and you can try your hardest but you won't catch a thing. But out of respect for Jesus, he would do as he said.

What a surprise Peter got. It might have been the worst night for fishing, but what a catch. When they finally hauled this catch on board, it was so great that the boats began to sink. For a fisherman like Peter who knew all about fishing and the skills needed to bring in a good catch, this would have been mind blowing. All these fish when the fish were not biting.

Jesus surprised his disciples many times. He surprised the local church people by eating with sinners and tax collectors; Jesus surprised on lookers with his words "Your sins are forgiven"; He surprised his disciples with parables about the kingdom of God that emphasised that it is the small and the least, those who serve others, who are the greatest in the Kingdom of God; he surprised the women on Easter morning when they discovered that he had risen from the dead.

In fact when you think about it the God of the Scriptures is a God of surprises. Look how he chose a shepherd boy named David to be the king of Israel; remember God's surprising patience with the people of Israel who were always whinning and complaining even though they had been surprised by God's generosity and never-ending love so many times. Imagine how surprised the people of Israel were when Moses lifted up his arms and the water of the sea parted to allow them to escape from the pursuing Egyptians.

Perhaps the greatest surprise of all is that even though you and I keep on doing things that hurt God and make him sad, even though we keep on doing our own thing and selfishly look after ourselves before anyone else, surprise of all surprises, God keeps on loving us. In fact, he loves us to the degree that he sent his only Son to die for us. Now that is a surprise. When someone keeps on aggravating us we would hardly do something nice for them, let alone give our life for them. But there you have the surprising love of God at work.

Do you get the feeling that God is trying to tell us something here? Jesus is telling us through the story of the miraculous haul of fish and every other surprising event in the Scriptures, that followers of Jesus should always be ready for God's surprises. Just as Peter was surprised by what Jesus did, we are to be ready for the surprising things that the Lord will do in our lives. All we have to do is listen to what Jesus says to us,
believe his promises,obey his Word, even if we do it reluctantly like Peter, and then be ready for the surprises that God works in our lives.

At times our reasoning will tell us that what we are being asked to do, and the project that is being suggested, is doomed to failure. We can be like Peter and say, it will not work because I have been there and done that before. There is no rhyme or reason why this should succeed. However, it has been proven again and again, that God surprises us with what he can do in spite of what we think we can do.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Be forgiving and compassionate to one another

21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:21-32)

We must be kind,compassionate, and forgiving. This is how we will live in God's kingdom. Everyone will be kind, compassionate, and forgiving. That starts right here in this life. How will be know how to live in God's kingdom after we die,if we don't learn how to do it while we are here alive on Earth? This is God's kingdom as well as the afterlife is
God's kingdom.
We are to learn to live in God's kindgom now. Jesus came with the message that "the kingdom of God is at hand", meaning, that this is the kingdom of God. We don't have to wait until we die to join the kingdom. Jesus came to show us the tools of kingdom living.
In this passage from Scriptures, Paul tells us to refrain from being angry with one another. We must be forgiving, as God is forgiving of us. Who of us has not done something to anger another. Who of us has not done something that we know will disappoint God? When we do wrong to one another, we wish to be forgiven. We want God to be kind and compassionate and forgiving of our human weaknesses. Yet, we forget that we also have a responsibility to forgive those who have been unkind to us.
Do we forgive others as easily as we ask forgiveness from God? Do we expect God to forgive us and have no understanding that we need to forgive others? Do we live a double standard of compassion, kindness, and forgiveness? Do we feel that where we deserve forgiveness and compassion, others do not deserve these things?
We should not ask for that which we are unwilling to give ourselves. We must gain an awareness of our own faults, transgressions, hurts, and unkindness. We must be willing to give to others the same things we desire for ourselves. We must look to God's goodness and kindness for us, to understand how we need to treat others.
Kingdom living requires us to go beyond our weaknesses, with the help of God, and become forgiving and compassionate of others, as God is forgiving and compassionate of us. It is only in this way do we truly image God to none another. So, when we think that we cannot forgive someone for injuring us, just think what would happen if God took the same attitude.

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)