Saturday, March 29, 2014

Knowing Is Seeing the Unseen!

From the Hermitage
Fourth Sunday of Lent

Dear Friends,

Here on the east coast we are supposed to be soak by the heavens today and tomorrow.  Hopefully, then, you will have the time to read the story of the man who was born blind.  It is the man who had the great fortune of meeting the preacher, teacher, healer, Jesus.  With just a little mud from the hand of Jesus and the willingness of the blind man to follow his directions, he became the man who could see, the man cured of his blindness by the Son of God.  What a honor?  No, what a manifestation of trust in what and whom he could not see!

If you look at the left photo, you may not have any idea what is before you and what might be beneath it.  Only when you take the time to get down on all fours and put a camera in the grass can you get some idea of what is before you.  Only when you seek to know the object will you get an idea  of what a mushroom is all about as you see in the left photo.  Maybe you have been blind to some things in your life and have not taken the time to discover what is not known or seen.

At the conclusion of the story of the blind man, Jesus learned that the blind man had been thrown out of the temple.  He found the man and he asked him "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"  The cured man answered "Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?"  Jesus continued, "You have seen him and the one speaking to you is he."  Wow!  Imagine that moment.  Really, stop and give yourself time to consider what Jesus is teaching the man as well as any man or woman alive today.

The questions are simple:  Are we blind to what God is calling each of us to be and to do?  Do we take the time to look at our lives to see beneath some of our actions or modes of living to come to know if we have been blind to God's call, to living the life of the Commandments, to taking time to care for those who pushed aside by humanity, cultures or customs?

If a person does not take the time to learn what lies beneath the surface of the mushroom on the right, will that person ever come to experience a moment of faith:  look to the right and see the marvel or what God can do.  

The story of the blind man, at least for me, is a very real moment of experiencing the reality of knowing who Jesus was and is today.  Do I see Jesus in the young teen who has been rejected by his/her peers because of a physical issue or the young person who has a difficult time with learning because a school system does not fully comprehend how to deal with the many different ways that people are able to learn?  Do I see Jesus in the men and women who have come to the USA because it is the land of freedom and a place where men and women can practice their religions that may be somewhat different than the mainstream religions we encounter in our communities?  Would Jesus Christ, today, be giving his fullest support to those who strive so heartlessly to drive people out of our country?  Would Jesus find Pope Francis' concerns for the marginalized in our societies destructive as some have said?  Look at a crucifix and answer that question!

What a gift vision is!  I am thankful that something moved me to get on my knees with my camera to see what I so often shredded with a lawn mower!

Oremus pro Invicem,

Fr. Milt
30 III 14

Friday, March 28, 2014

Reality Once Again!

From the Hermitage

Dear Friends,

Somewhere in space there is a reflection floating that I dispatched to you about an hour ago.  For some reason, perhaps the Holy Spirit, I returned to the composition to find that it no longer existed!  Remember yesterday, "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts"?  I think God must have been talking to me after he read what I had composed!!!!  Nonetheless, it have given me reason to give further thought to what the cited gospel reading means to me.

It is simple.  How often to I write that sentence?  Perhaps too often!  However, let's start.  The gospel is a reminder that God really cannot be bought by "burnt offerings and sacrifices."  What He wants from me and for everyone is quite different.

He is asking us to look deeply into our hearts, our soul.  Look to see how much we give our lives to Him and His desires for us.  It is so much easier to put money into a collection that to put time into working at removing the faults and sins that keep us from fully sharing the love God wants to put into our lives.  It is much easier to give up meals, movies and monied things than to give up those days when God is absent in our lives of prayer, reflection and especially thanksgiving.

This is what God is asking for us now that we stand on the threshold of the end of the first half of Lent.  Of course it is never easy, is it?  Human nature is truly a challenge but we cannot forget the love of God that is poured out to us if we but take the time, take the time, take the time to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

This is a brief summary, I believe, which was sent to that outer space.

Oremus pro Invicem! 

Fr. Milt

Thursday, March 27, 2014

10 Road Signs for Life!

From the Hermitage

Please note that yesterday's message was prepared but not entered until early this AM and it is located following today's message from the Hermitage.  Lill C.  and Mary D.  thanks for your concern.

"Walk in all the ways that I command you,
so that you may prosper."  Jeremiah 7:23

or another translation of the same verse

 "Walk exactly in the way I command you,
so that you may prosper."  Jeremiah 7:23

Dear Friends,

The God of Israel spoke these words to Jeremiah to speak to the people of Israel.  The purpose is to remind the people that while burnt offerings may have been a practice of religions to give thanks to Yahweh, the God of Israel, Jeremiah reminds the people that on the day the people were brought out of the land of Egypt on their return homeward "I gave them no command concerning burnt offering or sacrifice."  He wanted to remind the people of Jeremiah's time and subsequent times that following the Law, the Commandments, was the way that God's people were and are to praise God.  Live the life of the Commandments.

"If today you hear his voice ........" can you you almost automatically complete this verse used as the response we recite in today Responsorial Psalm?  If you said "harden not your hearts," you would be on target!

What does this mean for us today as we seek to live the life of the Commandments?  For me that word "harden" has always meant don't build a wall around your heart, a wall that blocks where I know that God wants me to be or what God wants me to do.  Always it is to follow the Commandments which means, at least for me, really knowing exactly the direction each of the Commandments is meant to give me in my life.   

So for us today in our moments of quiet, there is the same old question, the same repeated theme from the season of Lent, "Where is God leading me now?"  Can you write in one or two sentences where God is leading you, what he expects of you today?  Perhaps this might be a worthwhile exercise for the next few days so that by Sunday all of us together might be able to say "I have a good idea of where it is and what it is that God is asking of me in this moment of my life."

Oremus pro invicem!
(Recall the translation:  Let us pray for one another!)

Fr. Milt

Jesus and the Law

From the Hermitage

Please Note:  The following reflection was prepared for Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dear Friends,

As you can imagine my mind is traveling in so many directions these days.  Your prayers for my brother continue to be on the request list as well as for our Pastor who is under the weather these days.  So I am rather occupied, as one might say.  Hopefully the boss will be back up and running by Saturday and as well it is my hope that my brother will be able to leave the hospital for some need physical therapy at a rehabilitation center in Lewes, Delaware.  So, let's start the reflection.

Reading Matthew's words from Jesus, I reflected on the Law issues or the business that Jesus was speaking about to those who were listening to his historic Sermon on the Mount.

What Jesus is saying to the faithful followers is simply this:  I am a "thoroughly observant Jew who is devoted to keeping the Law."  Perhaps these these words of his sermon at this point should give us today reason to wonder and ask "what would Jesus say" if a large number of our population were gathered in a huge field with many large television screens and a good sound system.

What would be the reaction if Jesus said those very same words: "I do not replace the Law, nor do I break the Law."  Of course Jesus speaks of the Ten Commandments.  Continuing he might say: "My message to you is this.  "I come to you in your modern world so advanced compared to my words you read in Evangelist Matthew's account of my Sermon on the Mount.  My mission, the work my Father, our Father, has given me and you is to "bring the Law to its fulfillment in your lives and times.  Bring the Law to what Yahweh, our Father, intended it to be and what it was to accomplish in the hearts of humankind.

What I think we should read and hear in these few words of Jesus is that the Law, the Commandments, are as valid today as they were centuries ago.  Likewise we are called upon to recognize that Jesus is the "authentic interpreter of the Law for a changed situation' (New Testatment, Daniel Durkin, p 24).

For this reason our Church, our Popes, especially now our new Pope, Francis, through much prayer and consultation endeavor to learn from the Holy Spirit what Jesus would say to us today.  Therefore, it is our obligation, I believe, to pray to the Holy Spirit on behalf of Pope Francis that he may inspire Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and Laity -- all together -- to pray for the grace of wisdom to hear and understand what the Holy Spirit is calling for us to learn in our lives and times.

Monday, March 24, 2014


From the Hermitage

The Annunciation

The title of this reflection may have captured you attention.  Did some resign?  On the feast of the Annunciation?  What relationship is there between resignation and annunciation?

Mary' response to Gabriel is indeed a moment more powerful than most imagine.   There was no one leaving a position of authority.  What we witness in celebration today is Mary's complete resignation to the Will of  God.

Today think on this:  throughout the course of a day, consider any day, how many have been the times when you were called upon to say to the Holy Spirit "I come to do as yo have asked."  And can you say that you have replied with as much openness and determination as did Mary.  Okay, you are not a saint, at least in your own eyes and not as far as you understand sanctity or sainthood!

However, when confronted by a clear decision that comes to you from on high, as it were, can you be as brave and unhesitatingly honest as was Mary?

We are faced each day with many circumstances that demand of us something more than the usual challenges life may bring before us.  My brother's continuing illness poses new lifestyles for a number of things.  The promises that needed adjusting, the friendships that could a great part of my free time:  these are the questions I have been mulling over in my life this month?

Are you leading an easy life because  you have an easy manner of passing off challenges that will try your soul as well as your patience?


Finding My God

From the Hermitage

Monday, Third Week of Lent

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - If we want to be saved, we must choose "the path of humility" of "self-marginalization" because God "cannot find us at the center of our securities, no, no. The Lord does not go there. He will find us on the margins, in our sins, our mistakes, our need to be spiritually healed, to be saved, there the Lord finds us". This is the "message" of the third week of Lent, according to Pope Francis.  He was commenting on the Gospel passage where Jesus says: "No prophet is accepted in his own native place".    ASIA NEWS

How important is it in one's life to recognize the usual or unusual ways God seeks to reveal Himself to those who seek to find his face?  David, God's chosen one, the King, the renowned public sinner, the humbled leader, the poet who could produce a book of prayer reflections, included the following words in Psalm 42: 3:
Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold that face of God?

How often do we recognize the need for God in our lives but because of human weaknesses we seem to feel that God is not a genuine component or presence in our lives.  Don't the often used or heard sentences "God only knows when ...! and "It's up to Him ....!" reveal a more hardened heart?  Don't these two very simple and short sentences speak many words about how close or distant we are from a sincere relationship with God?

The scripture readings today use two biblical moments to lead us to consider when and how God can be found in one's life.  At root in the hearts of Naaman and the congregation ired by Jesus' "message" is a very simple reality:  humility!  How often do we want instant answers ... even centuries ago ... responses to our cries for help or healing?  But then how many times do we look backwards and see where God had been trying to open our hearts to his answers for our well being?

It is rare that God comes to us in the spectacular ... which is what Naaman expected.  More frequently God comes to us in the simple, the behind the scenes moments.  It is something inside us that prevents our hearts from knowing, our ears from hearing and our eyes from seeing.  All of this happens because we are like what we see in nature.  Again, listen to King David:  "As the hind longs for the running waters, so my soul longs for you, O God" (Psalm 42:2).

David writes further in the psalm, "Send forth your light ..."  which will bring us "to your dwelling place."  During Lent we should daily be thanking God for the light He sends us and praying for the graces and strength to look in the most unusual places and in the faces of so many around us who God has chosen to speak out on His behalf.

Thoughts from a young man I do not know

My life does not turn out the way I planned, 
but sometimes that happens 
because what I planned 
was not supposed to be my life.
[and I have added]
I failed to see, to hear, to know 
what God wanted for and from me!
But I know He walks with me 
and will guide me.

It is our task to pray for the graces to open our hearts, to open our eyes and to allow your ears to hear!

Fr. Milt

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Refreshing, Life-Giving Water

From the Hermitage

A return from helping my brother
who continues is very trying waters
who continues in a hospital
who needs your prayers.

Dear Friends,

Allow me to start this reflection by including a quote from Asia News, a publication from Rome for Asian nations, a publication which usually offers a reflection of Pope Francis' remarks in his homily.

If we want to be saved, we must choose "the path of humility" of "self-marginalization" because God "cannot find us at the center of our securities, no, no. The Lord does not go there. He will find us on the margins, in our sins, our mistakes, our need to be spiritually healed, to be saved, there the Lord finds us". This is the "message" of the third week of Lent, according to Pope Francis.  He was commenting on the Gospel passage where Jesus says: "No prophet is accepted in his own native place".  ASIA NEWS

Hopefully you have come to realize that God gives us the Lenten season each year so that we can find and take time to open heart and mind to accept gifts from Him.  Every year, every Lent, God offers the opportunity to understand what a sincere relationship with Him can mean.

There is, however, a reality that blocks our ability to accept God's gift.  What hinders the openness needed to accept God's gift?  The answer is simple:  We focus upon ourselves, our sins, during this season.  It is the sinful self that captivates us ... and, perhaps, that makes the season less than appealing.  Our focus on God's love is lost when it is only failure and sin that become more important.

We must not allow the season of Lent to become a few weeks when we become immersed in the waters of failure, fear and guilt because we focus attention primarily on sins.  If we only focus upon our human weaknesses, we become like a sponge that soaks up the simple yet destructive looking solely and exclusively on ourselves.  Lent is meant to be so much more than that.

If there is a change from "me as sinner," we can place our attention where it belongs.  Refocusing away from my sins and guilt, I can become more aware of how overpowering is God's love for me, for all of us.

Blessed John Paul II often made reference to our "putting out into deeper waters."  Why?  Because this soon-to-be canonized saint knew well that when we do that and withdraw from focus upon our sins, i.e. ourselves, we become like Peter who came to know the joy of one who jumps into the loving embrace of Jesus and let's Him show his love for a sinner.

Lent should draw our attention to God and others who may need our help.  Let God into your hearts!  Give him the key that will open your awareness of who you truly are.  You as He sees you!  When you achieve finding the gift He gives you, Lent will then become a longed-for season each year.  These forty-days of Lent will become a genuine experience of divine joy rather than several weeks of walking through the mud of past sinfulness.  Be like St. Peter:  focus on the Lord, not on the failures of your life.  Let Jesus' love be the water you draw from the wellspring of Lent.

Father Milt

PS:  I will remain here at St. Matthias until my brother moves from the hospital and the rehab center to his home.  At that time I will return to be with him for a couple of weeks since he is alone during the day.  You genuine expressed concerns mean much to Jack, his fiancĂ©  and our family.  Do continue to pray for him, please.  

Friday, March 14, 2014

Forgiveness: Why So Difficult?

From Millsboro, DE

Here to help my brother in his illness.  Returned from rehab center to hi home.  By midnight he  needed return to the hospital: congestive heart failure.  Today he is doing well.  Please several prayers for Jack and a full recovery.

Today's Sacred Scripture, particularly the words of Jesus.  Again, we can easily run over some of Jesus' teaching.  We read or hear these words and that repetition so easily dulls the point or purpose Jesus' preaching format.

So what do you think Jesus was trying to implant in the hearers' hearts, minds and souls?

Clearly The Son of God was trying to go beyond the limited teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees?

For me today, dear God, grace me with the insight to see where I may have placed the teachings and practices of many on a higher plane in my life than what God has taught us through prophets, the Commandments, the Church and saints.

Why is forgiveness so challenging?

Oremus pro invicem,

Fr. Milt

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Prayerful Patience - Patient Prayer

The Hermitage

A few questions: (1) when you decide to order on line, how strong is your reaction to a notice that informs you that at least two weeks of expecting lies ahead; (2) when you call your doctor's office and the receptionist politely asks that you remain on the line for a minute or two, do you feel annoyed because you have to wait?

The theme or message in Today's Scripture deals with the virtue of patience.  We are are asked by God when we pray to knock, to realize He may realize what is best for you may not be what you prayed for at this time.  

An interesting experiment recently tried:  try to keep a count today how many times have you grumbled aloud or in mind and heart because something did not happen as you wish nor as fast as you wish.  Remember how many graces will abound by Lent's end if each time your intention  does not happen immediately especially because another human being is not moving swiftly enough?  Waiting to cash out at the automated cashier at the grocery store and the ( damn) machine isn't working for the customer ahead if you.  When the driver ahead of you does not take off the split second to light turns green.  When the preacher does bout know when enough is enough!

Good God, give me the gift of patience!

Oremus pro invicem.  Today I am moving in with my brother who has been seriously ill.   He will be "freed" from the rehab center today.  He would be alone during daytime hours.  So, it's time for me to do the brotherly thing!  Yes, I will need your prayers!  And,yes, I have told him ". Paybacks are hell!!!

So, if I miss a day's reflection, you will understand.

Fr. Milt

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Jonah: A Prophet for Today

First Week of Lent

Lord, open my heart and soul in my prayer today.

What am I to learn from this story of a man who lived some 700 years before Jesus was born?

At the outset of the Book of Jonah the prophet tells of his call from Yahweh.  He was to go to the large city of Nineveh and there to preach repentance for the sinful ways of the people.   But Jonah ignored God's directions.  Jonah boarded a ship to go far away in the opposite direction.   Sorry, Jahweh:  a human being but a weak prophet.  While sailing toward what we now call Spain, Jonah's trip was interrupted by a severe storm.  When he told the sailors he might be the cause of the storm because he was turning from God's call to go to ?Nineveh, the sailors tossed the prophet into the raging waves.  And then there was calm....and Jonah was swallowed by a large fish.  Three days later the fish spit Jonah out, onto a sandy beach.  Jonah would have a second chance.  Yahweh knew what this man could do.  Yahweh needed such a strong man to bring about the conversion of the city of Nineveh.

I ask myself this question:  In my lifetime, God, how many times have you called upon me to be a modern day prophet, a man or woman call to be a sign or leader to bring people to an awareness of the spiritual life God, our Yahweh, wants his people to live?

I know sin abounds around me:  in my life as well as in the lives of so many around me.  Is my life a mirror that reflects the life of Jesus?  Am I living the life God wants me to live?  Am I a Jonah?

Oremus pro invicem!  (For new readers these words translate as "Let's pray for one another."

From the Hermitage
Fr. Milt

Monday, March 10, 2014

Apart from me ..........Nothing!

Week 1 --  Monday

Dear Lord,

Sounds like you get serious with me every so often.  You know, it is not easy to hear you tell me nothing is really possible unless you are involved in my life..  You know my generation did enjoy a time when most parents were able to provide almost anything that was a felt need.  So, to hear "nothing" and believe that you mean it, brought me to a halt.

Independence is bred in our American hearts.  Not to strive for independence throughout our lives says something about us.  Yet our wanting to be independent can be costly when we fail to recognize that genuine independence  has within it a necessary component with a respect for dependence.  Lord, maybe I have not looked upon the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of our United States and the Ten Commandments as safeguards of our freedoms.  I must rely on these documents to protect my freedoms.  Yes, even those "Thou shall nots" of the Commandments.

So, without you I guess my days would be very different, wouldn't they?  Like so many, I face those  words often but because I read them, speak them and preach them, I have, over the years, worn them smooth.  As I am growing older and blessed with more free time (another gift of freedom!), some of the poignant words from your son are catching my attention as never before.

During these days, as I strive to bring the Holy Spirit of God meaningfully into my daily being, grace me with an awareness of the reasons why I need to offer my praise and thanksgiving.  Amen.

Oremus pro invicem!

From the Hermitage,

Fr. Jordan 

Saturday, March 8, 2014


First Sunday of Lent  -  2014

Father God, Lent truly gets underway this day.  The SUNDAY READINGS bring serious matter for our consideration.  We are reminded in the reading from Matthew's gospel that there is a reality joining us to one another in a very personal e experience.  We are victims of temptation, all of us!  Even Jesus endured three of those moments after his forty-day retreat in the desert.  After such a lengthy experience of prayer and fasting, your Son, Jesus, was also a victim of serious temptations.  Satan was convinced he could undermine Jesus' resolves.  What an insult and trial that must have been for the man, the son of Mary and Joseph.

I wonder how Jesus told Matthew or all of the evangelists.  It must have been difficult to have that responsibility so that all of us would know in even another way how much your Son was willing to endure for us, sinners that we have been and are.  You know, I am sure, but the final words of this story surely caught my attention today.  "... behold, angels came and ministered to  Jesus."  Why did this happen?

As a priest, I hope I never forget that scene -- especially when I am privileged to absolve the sins of my brothers and sisters, penitents who recognize the need to come to you for their forgiveness.  How painful it is for some to say to another human beings "... and these are my sins."  How blessed are we, confessors, who can be the "angels" who minister to the sinner, one of my brothers and sisters.  Honestly, Father, it is truly humbling because, like the penitent before me, I have knelt before on of my brother priests with the same words:  "and these are my sins."  It is always humbling for me and so many of my brother priests, this Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Lord, God, mindful of my on failure to over come temptation, I have been brought to a moment of reflection on the values of fasting.  These words from a professor who is also a wife, a mother, a convert to Catholicism and herself a student once again who wrote the following words.  Her words also captured my mind and heart: "Fasting is a powerful spiritual discipline.  Fasting and prayer can (and does) [sic] bring about change.  Sharing her first fasting experience after her conversion, Jan wrote about it this way: "I had the sense that fasting allowed the Holy Spirit to reveal to myself a clearer picture of my true spiritual condition."

So, Father, this young professor and nursing teacher has brought me to consider that fasting is more than steering away from food and drink and candy and alcohol and cigarettes, etc..  Maybe today I should review how much time I spend before the TV.  It would be a sacrifice to fast from the several evening shows that become a controller of my calendar several evenings each week.   Perhaps I can fast from entertainment and turn to enlightenment.  Would it be that you are calling me to fast from television shows that I watch weekly and use the same amount of time for spiritual reading of one kind or another.

Father, take care of Jan and her family.  This is a woman whose spirituality is enlightening!   If you wish to read the reflection she composed, just click on HERE IT IS!  Let us not forget: Oremus pro invicem!

From The Hermitage,

Fr. Milt

Friday, March 7, 2014

Honestly, Where Is My Heart?

Friday after Ash Wednesday

Dear God,

I am old enough now to realize that Lent is a time of the year when I need to focus on where there might be a need to bring about a change of heart in my life.  Like everyone who can admit "I am a sinner," I know there is a part of me that resists making the sacrifices to change my ways.  As I pray during these opening days of Lent, I know that I need to refocus some aspects of my life.  And, I suspect, my life is not too different from the life of others:  aren't the areas I need to address the same each year.  Are not the sins I bring to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, repeats, time after time?  Do not human beings repeat different kinds of exercises in their lives to overcome specific weaknesses that crop up over and over again?

When I am worrisome, isn't the cause usually that my heart and my values have fallen away from life in Your kingdom here on this earth?  But am I not a true human being because I look for external causes rather than looking within my own heart.  "A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn."  During these days of Lent, Father, help me to focus my prayer and attention on what is the one thing that weakens my relationship with you.  I remember the words of you Son to Martha, recorded in St. Luke's gospel, Chapter 10, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; only one thing is necessary." (verses 41-42).  

Only one thing is necessary in my life as well:  making sure that I bring about the life of God's Spirit in my heart.  This is what Jesus is calling me to consider today:  only one thing is necessary.  I will try today to make clear in my heart what You are calling me to change in my life's ways.

Oremus pro invicem!

From the Hermitage,

Fr. Milt

Thursday, March 6, 2014

As Always: It's Within

Thursday After Ash Wednesday

Dear God,

In these first few days of Lent, I know that there is a need for me to focus upon why I might need to bring about a change of heart in my life.  If I am honest with myself and recognize that most of the sins that I bring to the Sacrament of Reconciliation are often "repeats," then there is a need for a change of heart.  I need to sharpen my focus on the Kingdom of God and how I seek to incorporate that kingdom in my life, in all that I do throughout the year.

Where is this kingdom?  Father Nouwen suggested four answers to reach the correct answer:  (1) it is not a distant "escape" hide-a-way; (2) it is not life after death; (3) it is not creating the best of circumstances lifestyle; (4) it IS the Holy Spirit of God being present in my life.  And, for sure, I will know that I am in Your kingdom when I sense the freedom that I seek along with all my sisters and brothers in this life.

But, to be realistic, how am I supposed to set my heart on Your kingdom when I am so busy with so many other things that demand so much of my time and energy each and every day?

This I do know from the many Lents I have walked through in my lifetime:  turn my life completely to You and Your kingdom is no easy challenge.  Just trying to change one or two of the habits that I have allowed to become a part of my life is not easy.  How challenging are the simple diets when I want to shed a few pounds?  How difficult it is to learn something as a new computer program!  I am not a teenager any longer.

Like so many others who do want to bring about a change of heart, I, too, try to fool myself into thinking I can  put it off until a later date or that I really don't need to make a change in my life.  It is so much easier to play the games of avoidance or delay.

May these days of Lent and my time of prayer with You, Lord God, be for me a time of both renewal and change.  Without Your graces, I know it will be difficult.  Yet, too, I know that it can be easier if I truly trust You and Your goodness.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Starting the Journey of Lent 2014

Ash Wednesday

Join me in prayer

Dear Lord,

Fr. Nouwen wrote that the primary challenge for all Christians is to realize what is first and foremost in the expectations that the Father has for each of us.  Nouwen believed it to be the opening of our heart and soul to the Spirit of the Christ in seeking the Kingdom of God.  So what does this mean for me, for my friends, as we show the sign of our Christianity in the ashes we wear for the day?

What is or where is this Kingdom of God?  Father, in Nouwen's words it is not some "get away" place.  Likewise it is not the perfect world I might expend so much energy on throughout our lives.

Simply stated, Father, it is within my very self that I should find the Kingdom.  It is within me.  You  gifted it to me when You chose to create me.  But do I take the time and effort to discover the ways that it can truly be a part of who I recognize myself to be: the creature that you created with a touch of the divinity you wished to share with us.

So, Father, the challenge for me, then, is find ways to (1) remove those things or persons in my life which might be keeping me from being as open to the Holy Spirit as You, my Creator God want for me, and/or (2) to add to my life what I discover (which means actively searching for) what will draw me ever closer to You, Your Son, Jesus and the gift giving Holy Spirit. 

Oremus pro invicem!

From the Hermitage,

Fr. Milt

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Journey's Start

Ash Wednesday

My God, my brother, Jesus, here I am once again starting yet another Lent.  I thank you for yet another year of life because for me life is worth living...for You, for my family, my friends and and me.

Some years ago, the Holy Spirit led me to do much reading of the works of Henri Nouwen.  Certainly he was a priest who endured much interior unrest in his life.  However, he never flinched from helping where help was needed.  Just yesterday one of his writings fell by chance into my hands.  What a blessing.

Fr. Nouwen wrote "...I enter into this holy season of Lent with fear, but also with great expectations.  I hope for a great breakthrough, a powerful conversion, a real change of heart."*

Isn't this a presentation of the sentiments many Christians feel on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday?

Like Fr. Nouwen should we not pray that Jesus will walk the Lenten journey with each of us every day of Lent.

Jesus, may your presence be with me each day of Lent in a quiet and peaceful way.

My friends, each day during Lent I will spend time with the Lord for an extra hour -- a retired priest's privilege, I realize.  During those hours, please know that I shall seek God's graces and other blessings be given to you during this season so that these days may be filled with a realized closeness with the Son of God during the days of his passion, death and resurrection.  Amen.

From the Hermitage, late Shrove Tuesday evening,

Fr. Milt

Monday, March 3, 2014


March 3, 2014

Dear Friends,

A day for many here in the East to be at home.  Perhaps a day when you can easily find time to be with The Lord.  Perhaps a day to give further consideration to the season of Lent.  Read these words from St. Peter (1 Pt 1:3 - 9):
Although you have not seen him you love him;
even though you do not see him now yet you believe in him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
as you attain the goal of faith, the salvation of your souls.

What a positive affirmation of the "rewards" that Jesus promised humankind in his covenant relationship with each of us.  Good words as we ponder what Lent can become for each of us in the grace-filled days of Lent.

The following verses from the responsorial psalm was for me an oasis, a good source for me to consider God's special love and care for me ............if I open my mind and heart to him.  Here there is an abundance of  thoughts that make more time with The Lord meaningful.  I hope you can join me in prayer with these verses.

Let the snow fall, the winds swirl.  God is giving each of us this for a particular reason.  Again, my hope and prayer for you is simple: stop for a while today and allow these words to take your heart and mind to God.

Responsorial Psalm 

PS 111:1-2, 5-6, 9 AND 10C

R. (5) The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.
He has given food to those who fear him;
he will forever be mindful of his covenant.
He has made known to his people the power of his works,
giving them the inheritance of the nations.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.
He has sent deliverance to his people;
he has ratified his covenant forever;
holy and awesome is his name.
His praise endures forever.
R. The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.
R. Alleluia.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Rest in God, My Soul.

from the Hermitage
For Sunday
March 2, 2014

So much has happened in my days of the past week.  King David seemed to write especially to me with the words "Rest in God, my soul."  This evening "The Son of God" beckoned.  Wow!  A moving  experience but one that continually brought to mind the times that, like Peter, denial of Christ was a part of my experience.  Like Pope Francis, there are some of us who can honestly confess in response to the question "who are you?" That "I am a sinner."

Perhaps this acknowledgement makes King David 's words difficult to incorporate into our daily lives.  To rest in God is to accomplish achieving complete trust in God.

It is so much easier, isn't it, to trust in my computer, my iPad etc..  How often do I show extraordinary trust when I invest in the Stock Market?  And just how often do individuals rely upon Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for assurances?  But a crashed computer and then it is OMG!!!

When it is difficult to trust, what is manifest?  The answer: security from vulnerability!

At least for me thoughts that are good lead ins to Lent.

Oremus pro invicem,

Fr. Milt