Friday, July 25, 2014

Making Discernment!!!

From the Hermitage


Dear Friends,

Ask!  Ask!  Ask!  Yes, it will be given, as David said in the words of Psalm 126 in today's responsorial psalm.  Are we like David who realized how often he asked of Yahweh?  And like David, do we utter our own psalm of thanksgiving?  How do we mix up a batch of discernment?

However, there will be those petitions that seem to go unanswered or rejected as we read in the gospel today.  The mother of James and John begged Jesus to allow her sons to be seated on each side of Jesus when he would again be with the Father.  How mother-like for her to be caring for her sons' future in the Kingdom of God!  Yet, as Jesus said to her:  this is not in the Father's plan!

Yes, yes.  There will be times of seeming rejection or being ignored by God because we only see with human eyes and are moved by a human heart.  Good ol' humanity!  But when those unanswered prayers seem to bother us, it is time to recall yesterday's gospel:  having ears but not hearing, having eyes but not seeing.  Discernment, discernment is so important.

In making my breakfast "smoothie" this morning, I was thinking about discernment while mixing, spinach, apple, tart cherry juice and cucumber.  A little of this and a little of that:  a healthy breakfast. The same with discernment:  mixing in a half a cup of prayer, a full cup of quiet, two tablespoons of thanksgiving and four cups of patience!  These are the makings of discernment in my recipe book!

For another way of reflecting on today's reading, there is a  MOVING STORY prepared by a younger Jesuit priest working at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.  Always a good stop in shopping for prayerful thoughts.  Thanks, Fr. Duffy.

Oremus pro invicem!

Fr. Milt

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Exercising Faith Muscles

From the Hermitage


Dear Friends,

In the first two readings we are reminded that faith is a practice that is not always easy or quickly achieved.  Faith is like any seed or young plant that we place in the soil:  it needs attention and care.  Faith is not something we can take for granted.  We must work at strengthening it especially in the culture that surrounds us today.

Most people today encounter challenges at home, at work, with family, with friends, with colleagues, yes, even with our Church and her Pastors!  When those moments of anxiety develop, it is very easy to lose that relationship with God - Father, Son or Holy Spirit.  How many people have found their faith tested in the last few weeks with the downing of a passenger plane, the disappearance of another plane this morning.  As well when we listen to those who lives are challenges by illness or poverty, some people will turn from God, questioning is promised support.

Remember this:  faith is your relationship with God.  In a society such as ours, we must remind ourselves that we cannot always have life the way we want it.  These experiences or moments demand of us another trip to the spiritual exercises.  We need to make sure we turn to our personal trainer, Jesus, or a favorite saint who can intercede for us with our God.  We must remember faith is not something we always have in our wallet or purse.  We must work at strengthening that relationship with God.

Oremus pro invicem.

Fr. Milt

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

He Gives What We Need

From the Hermitage


"Ah, Lord God!" I said,
"I know not how to speak; I am too young."

"But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirty fold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear."

Dear Friends,

First, I do hope that you understand that my absence from these pages has come about because of a new assignment that has fallen upon my shoulders.  I have assumed the Administratorship of the parish where I have been living for the last several years.  So, as you can imagine, the last few weeks have been days of special attention and care to wonderful parishioners and a very loyal staff.  I do ask that you remember my needs in your prayers during the days and weeks ahead as I confront the challenges that are mine.  Despite my many years in priesthood and administration, I do feel somewhat like Jeremiah.  Little did I ever consider at the age of 73, I would experience a call to return to parish leadership.

Of course it is wonderful to be reminded that God wants to use me once again to lead his people.  There are moments some mornings when I put my feet on the floor on awakening when I question my sanity!  Yet, I realize how blessed I have been to be called to priesthood and to leadership roles to serve the people of God.  Whenever I have those thoughts or feelings of reluctance, I must remind myself that my God is always present to give each of us whatever it is that we might need in the tasks that he has asked of us.  Whether priest, faithful spouse or dedicated and sacrificing parent, when God calls us to serve, he will always be present for us.

Consider yourself as the seed that Jesus spreads on the soil.  What we seek to do for God, all of us share a vocation to serve the Lord despite the kinds of soil that we may have to encounter.  But we must never forget that somewhere in our callings, we will find ourselves working in good soil.  Our efforts will not go unrewarded.  We must never fail in trusting our God.

Oremus pro invicem ... now more so than before!

Fr. Milt


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Go Out: Where Today?

From the Hermitage



Dear Friends,

New Evangelization.  What does it mean for us today?  "Go to the lost sheep of Israel."  Who is that for me and you today?  How many of us know that we have family members or friends who have found it in their hearts to leave our Catholic faith.  Of course they maintain, usually, that they continue their relationship with Jesus Christ.  For that we can say, "Thanks be to God."

It is family and friends that we are called to evangelize.   We are called to learn why they left the Church.  "What am I to do about it?"  This might be the question that we should be asking ourselves.  And, furthermore, just how am I to go about it?  It is so much easier to talk about it with friends and relatives who have remained faithful to our religion.  To bring the matter up to those who have turned away frequently results in an argument or feelings of insult.

First of all, we can take the time for serious prayer on behalf of those who have left our Church.  Afterwards, it is a matter of communications.  Change cannot come about if there is no open discussion.  This is where the challenge is difficult for so many of us, isn't it?  Yet, this is the doorway that we must pass through to bring about a reconciliation between faith and disappointment or frustration.

Oremus pro invicem.

Fr. Milt


Sunday, July 6, 2014

14th Sunday Ordinary Time

From the Hermitage


Dear Friends, 

In today's readings there are reminders once again that we are a blessed people.  We are cared for by our God.  As St. Paul wrote, "...there is no need to obey our unspiritual selves."  For me these thoughts are important and should be for us.  Why?  Because each day we move forward on the pathway God has chosen for us.

The gift that God offers us is the Holy Spirit.  We might call it "discernment."  And, as Jesus says according to the evangelist, St. Matthew,

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves. 
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Words we have heard many times, words that give us a special assurance that our God is always with us in whatever we discern as God's will for us.

Let us use these words during these days of summer vacations and rest to allow the Spirit to speak in our hearts.  In our days of summer R&R, do what you can to spend some extra time with the Lord.  

Oremus pro invicem!

Fr. Milt