Thursday, March 30, 2006

On Jesus' Humility

Jesus was born to an unwed mother in a stable. He slept in the animals' food bin and his family hid for the first year to avoid His being killed. Jesus' Presentation was celebrated by the offering of 2 pigeons, the typical offering of poor people. His foster dad was a carpenter. They weren't wealthy but made an honest living. His father Joseph died quietly and unnoticed. Though He was GOD, Jesus spent 30 years living a hidden life at home. He was GOD - and could have right-ed the world, could have looked for a following, could have set Himself up as a spiritual Master. He didn't brag, exert His power or mock people's foolishness. He didn't become inpatient with stupidity or lack of faith. He didn't act righteously or look upon people condescendingly. For 30 years Jesus lived in the moment, paid attention to His mom, fulfilled His responsibilities and waited on His Father's word.
God's son Jesus was baptized by His cousin John, along with a crowd of others. The one who couldn't contain His pride was the Father who burst through the clouds to tell everyone "This is my Son!"
Once Jesus' mission was public He still didn't set out to gather the wisest and most learned religious authority figures as His team. Rather it was fishermen who filled the majority of those slots. Jesus cured, taught and raised people back to life but didn't have a home or apartment to call His own. Jesus was homeless. The Savior and King of the world was dependendent on others for food, shelter and clothing. He had a regular large following but no servants. There was no bureaucratic scheduling system, no paperwork and no politics needed to be in His presence or be healed by Him.
Jesus didn't look for praise or a position of authority while He did all His work. He took on His persecutors face to face. He stood His ground but never walked over people. He didn't get rid of the apostles who couldn'
t grasp His message but elevated the biggest fumbler to the position of the first Pope.
When the authorities arrested Him, Jesus healed the soldier's ear. During His torture Jesus chould have called on angels to rescue Him. With one prayer to His Father, He could have stopped the scourging and crowning of thorns. Jesus allowed His torturers to mock Him and spit on Him. They jeered at the bleeding King of all Kings and Jesus remained silent except to say to the women, "Don't cry for me but for your sins."
In one great humiliating act they stripped Him of all His clothes in front of the crowd that came to watch Him die. The Son of our Almighty God stood naked before His persecutors and didn't complain, threaten revenge or ask for His Father's help. He quietly lay down on the cross and allowed the soldiers to nail down His hands and feet. He didn't say, "Hey, I'm the Savior. You can't do this!" He did not curse those who were trying to murder Him but prayed instead, "Father, forgive them."
When Jesus died the family didn't even have a grave to bury Him. A rich friend gave them His.
Mother held Son for a brief moment before she had to let Him go.
Our Lord God and Savior was buried in a borrowed tomb. The King of Kings succombed to the hands of His persecutors, leaving His 3 year mission in the hands of fumbling fishermen who abandoned Him in His final moments.
This is our humble, all powerful God.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

About Gifts and Gratitude

Every year I buy Christmas gifts just like everyone else does. But I start in July because I want to really think about each friend and get them something they really like. I make mental notes when I hear them say things like "Isn't Starbucks the best? And I love the cookies they have!" The person says it in passing and they forget about it. But I start listening in July and I try to remember what they said they like. And I'm really happy when Christmas comes because I know I'm offering them a gift they'll really like. So I wrap it all up really pretty because I also love getting into arts and crafts. I'll put some kind of hand made decoration on the package to make it special. It's really fun for me. Giving gifts is even better than receiving them usually.
Naturally after I've put all that effort into the giving I'm hoping the recipient really likes it. I watch their eyes to see if they notice the special wrapping I've made. If they don't that's ok because they still get to open the present. But if they open the present while they're talking or if they look at it once and then look away I'm hurt. Or maybe they'll say a reflex kind of thank you. I think to myself, that's ok. Not everyone gets really excited and says "thank you oh thank you!!!" But I do watch in the days and months to come to see if the shirt ever gets worn or if they actually hang the picture I gave or if they're drinking Starbucks coffee. Selfishly I guess I want my work, my efforts to be recognized. That's pride.
A truly humble person isn't like that. They'd really be OK with just the giving. Do you know anyone like that? Sure you do.
He gave till He died - for you. In the agony in the garden He knew what He was going to do for us. It would be the best gift ever. The gift would be Himself. Despite what it cost He would offer us this gift. He was misunderstood, rejected and humiliated. Jesus was betrayed by His friends and abandoned. He was tortured and nailed to the cross. The whole time He was thinking of you. He prayed for you as He walked toward Golgatha. Your face was on His mind as they drove in the nails. His scourged back against the wood, He hung high on the cross just so that you and I could come to heaven with Him and His Father.
But He also knew we'd be ungrateful. Oh sure we'd say thank you and tell Him we love Him but would we live lives of gratitude? Probably not. He knew about our lies, our pride, our self centeredness but He gave His gift anyway. Unlike me, He knew in advance that we wouldn't fully appreciate His death. But He did it anyway. I wouldn't do that, would you? Would you even keep giving Christmas presents to someone who appears ungrateful? Of course not. I don't want to see my friends take the present I gave them and just put it aside or even forget to say thank you. Jesus did a lot more than that. He offered His life KNOWING in advance that we wouldn't be fully grateful.
If we were really grateful we'd live grateful lives. We'd be forever joyful, humble, impressed. We'd always want to give Him something in return. We'd be true Christians and maybe even saints. Instead we're selfish and ungrateful. But God in His mercy still loves us. How great is our God! He was all human but still all giving. He is all knowing but still all loving. Despite our sinfulness and ingratitude Jesus is all merciful. We need to ask for forgiveness from our generous , merciful God! Join me and get on your knees and beg Him to teach us how to be grateful. God offers us eternal life because He is Love and that's what Love does. Pray with me that we live more grateful lives.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 Interesting help with Lenten spirituality

Monday, March 27, 2006


Jesus, your relationship with your Father amazes and impresses me. You constantly refer people to Him. You won’t take any glory apart from Him. You receive all your power from Him, and all your instructions. All you want to do is please Him. He gives you tasks to do and you are completely obedient.

Was St. Joseph a good model father to you? He heard a message from God that changed his life. “Take Mary as your wife.” Joseph responded without hesitation to God’s word and surrendered His will. He was completely obedient and submissive. There isn’t much else we know about Joseph so that must be the lesson we’re to learn from him just like Jesus did. “Pray to God, your Father. Listen to His instructions for you and then obey them. Whatever God asks, you must obey. It is the least you can do. And you must follow God’s instructions above and beyond your own desires.” I can just hear Joseph saying that to his son as they wait for the dinner Mary prepared. “Do you hear me, son? This is important. Obey God above all else.” Jesus, you must have thought this was a very important message because Joseph didn’t usually speak this forcefully. And so it became a memory from your childhood that would never fade. It was a vivid memory with a very clear message. I’m sure you didn’t even understand the message at first. It must have become clearer to you as you watched your parents live their lives. They both spoke the same message of surrender and submission to God’s will by the way they chose to live.

It all began there with a very humble man and a very prayerful young woman. From them you learned whom God is and how to relate to Him. That’s where your desire to please Him began. That was the beginning of a relationship that can’t be duplicated. You read the Scriptures like all young Jewish boys. You learned about Adam and Eve and Moses and Noah. You saw how God worked through these people and events. You saw that God continuously chose to forgive us and love again. You saw the great plans God has for His people. And your relationship grew. You wanted to know more about Him. You wanted to speak to Him, listen to Him and understand Him. So you spent more time with Him. That’s when it became a Sacred Event. Your relationship with God the Father began and with it the growing knowledge that you were Chosen. You and God enjoyed a very intimate relationship. All you wanted to do was to please Him and so that was what you did. I feel like I’m interfering here – intruding. I have no right to the details. I am not worthy of that knowledge. I can only imagine how you felt when you realized your life’s mission fully. I can’t begin to grasp the love you know God has for us that made you submit to crucifixion. It was a love so deep and so pure that you never questioned the mission. In fact, that love became yours. You spent so much time with God your Father that you loved with His love. I don’t claim to understand the mystery of your being fully human and fully divine, but I don’t need to understand it when I can feel it. I don’t’ know how you can be Jesus, the Lord and Savior when you were born in a manger and lived with your mother and foster father. It’s beyond my scope. But I believe it and I love you for it. I believe it and I thank you for it. I believe it and I praise and worship you for it! And it all remains a mystery, a precious and Sacred mystery. Your relationship with your Father is that you and He are One.

But there’s another mystery, another very precious gift here. You taught us to pray by saying Our Father. I am silenced. I am awestruck and humbled. I run to you to say, “O no! I am not worthy. I am a sinner in need of repentance.” You answer, “You are a sinner in need of a Father.” “Well that may be true,” I answer, “ but YOUR Father?” You say, “No, OUR Father”. All my protestations fly in the wind. They are useless bantering like so many other words I’ve said. “The point remains”, You insist. “He is OUR Father.”

That means the relationship you have with God the Father is one I can strive for. It means that You are my Brother. It also means I am chosen and we are members of one family.

Dear friends, do you hear what Jesus is saying to us? If God is our Father, you and I have an intimate relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Doesn’t that make you feel special? We also have a Protector, one who can truly save us from any adversary (including ourselves). God is our Father. Having the All Perfect Father means He knows our souls, our dreams, fears and hopes. He knows our talents and gifts. He knows our thought ant the number of hairs on our head. He can challenge us because that’s what a good father does. He can encourage us to be the persons we can be because He knows us so well. He cleans up after our mistakes and clears the path for us to go forward. God is in constant contact with us because we cannot leave His presence. That means He supports us, encourages us and forgives us all the time though we may no recognize or admit His presence.

So if God does all that because He is our Father, what is our role as His child? We can take our cue from Jesus for that. As I said in the opening sentences, Jesus gave all the glory to His Father. He wouldn’t take any glory for His won. He recognized He had no power apart form the Father. Jesus only wanted to please His Father and follow His instructions. Jesus and Our Father spent so much time together that Jesus felt the love God has for His children. Jesus felt it so much that He was willing to die for it.
So that is the example our brother Jesus left us. Love God back. Follow His instructions. Spend time with your Sacred family and be a good child to the Father. Your Holy Mother will help you and so will your Brother, Jesus. Make your Father proud. If you enter into the relationship with God our Father more fully, He’ll be sure to teach you how. Remember, you’re constantly in His presence and He promised He’d never abandon us. He may ask us to do some hard things, just like He asked Jesus. But just like Jesus He’ll love us through it and give us all the strength we need. And I can guarantee you this, too: when its all over, all the struggle and teas, Our Father will be waiting for us on the other side and He’ll com running to welcome us home

Friday, March 24, 2006

Medical Examiner's Look at the Crucifixion

I attended a talk at our church last night. It was given by Dr. Frederick T. Zugibe, renowned medical examiner and author of The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ: A Forensic Inquiry. He pointed out the following:
1. The crown of thorns dug into bundles of nerves in the brain which is extremely painful.
2. The cartilage in Jesus' nose separated from the bone and that is observable in the Holy Shroud.
3. The Shroud shows that he was scourged with 115-120 prongs coming from different directions. Any more scourges than that would cause the victim to die.
4. Jesus carried the top crossbar part only, which weighed 60 lbs., and walked with that for 3/4 of a mile.
5. Put your thumb and little finger together. The crease near the thumb on the palm is where the nail was. It was nailed in diagonally and exited through the wrist probably hitting a very painful nerve.
6. The Romans usually broke the criminals' bones to accelerate the dying process so as to avoid the opportunity for animals to get to the carcass.
7. Jesus died of shock to his body and not by asphyxiation.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

C.S. Lewis Comments

from C S Lewis "Mere Christianity"

This is the decision I must make: Admirer? Disciple?

Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.

The first answer then, to the question why our cure should be painful, is that to render back the will which we have so long claimed for our own, is in itself, a grevious pain. But to surrender a self-will inflamed and swollen with years of usurpation is a kind of death.

He and you are two things of such a kind that if you really get into touch with Him, you will in fact, be humble- delightfully humble.

There area lot of nice things you can do with sand, but don't try building a house on it.

We have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing He means to make of us.

God has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.

The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Mother's Prayer to the Guardian Angels of her Children

I humbly salute you, O you faithful, heavenly> Friends of my children! I give you heartfelt thanks> for all the love and goodness you show them. At some> future day I shall, with thanks more worthy than I> can now give, repay your care for them, and before> the whole heavenly court acknowledge their> indebtedness to your guidance and protection.> Continue to watch over them. Provide for all their> needs of body and soul. Pray, likewise, for me, for> my husband, and my whole family, that we may all one> day rejoice in your blessed company.> Amen

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Angels and Evil Spirits: A Poem Prayer

I'm surrounded by them both. We all are.
The black and white in stark contrast to each other.
Glowing, glistening guides that share space with dark demons and both want our attention.

I have a choice to make. We all do.
It's easier to seek self satisfaction and let the darkness slowly absorb us. A sudden grasp would be too much, no. The subtle evil spirits must form a warm, inviting cocoon that appears welcoming and natural.

Goodness, on the other hand, is in a spotlight. It has nothing to hide. In stark contrast we must choose goodness and decide for the other. The decision is freeing but requires courage.

Come Angels! Bless us with courage! Dapple us with graces! Glistening gifts from God, cover us with your fluffy wings and protect us. Shield us. Draw us towards the Light, guardian guides and lead us to God!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Bible Puzzle

Can You Solve the Puzzle?
Hidden Books of the Bible

I once made a remark about the hidden books of the Bible. It was a lulu; kept people looking so hard for facts…and for others it was a revelation. Some were in a jam, especially since the names of the books were not capitalized. But the truth finally struck home to numbers of our readers. To others it was a real job. We want it to be a most fascinating few moments for you. Yes, there will be some real easy ones to spot. Others may require judges to help them. I will quickly admit it usually takes a minister to find one of them, and there will be loud lamentations when it is found. A little lady says she brews a cup of tea so she can concentrate better. See how well you can compete. Relax, now, for there really are 16 names of books of the Bible in this paragraph

Lenten Bible Study

Lenten Bible Study 2006

Anne Catherine Emmerich’s book The Dolorous Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ describes Jesus’ suffering as described below. The movie by Mel Gibson was based on this book and describes the final 12 hours of Jesus’ life on this earth. My hope is that you try to participate in Jesus’ sufferings that day.


Ask for the grace to feel sorrow for the sorrowful Christ, anguish for the anguished Christ and to even experience tears and deep grief because of all the afflictions He endured for you.

Betrayal by Judas
When Jesus washed the feet of Jesus it was in the most loving and affecting manner; and in a low voice began to speak to Judas. Judas appeared to be anxious to pay no heed whatever to his words and spoke to John. Peter became angry and exclaimed: “Judas, the Master speaks to thee!” Then Judas made some vague, evasive reply such as “Heaven forbid, Lord!”
Nothing in the whole course of the Passion grieved Jesus so deeply as the treason of Judas. p.31

Agony in the Garden
He fell on His face, overwhelmed with unspeakable sorrow, and all the sins of the world displayed themselves before him, under countless forms and in all their real deformity. He took them all upon himself and in his prayer offered his own Person to the justice of his Heavenly Father in payment for so awful a debt. p. 45

His soul became terrified at the sight of the innumerable crimes of men and of their ingratitude towards God. p.47

During the agony, he saw the tepidity, malice and corruption of an infinite number of Christians, the lies and deceptions of proud teachers, the sacrileges of wicked persons, the fatal consequences of each sin and the abomination of desolation in the kingdom of God, in the sanctuary of those ungrateful human beings whom he was about to redeem with his blood at the cost of unspeakable sufferings. p.52

“O my Father, can I possibly suffer for so ungrateful a race? O my Father if this chalice may not pass from me but I must drink it, thy will be done!” p.55

A soldier brought the remnant of and old scarlet cloak and draped it around his neck while the rest bent their knee before him – shoved him – abused him – spat upon him - struck him on the cheek, because he had refused to answer their king – seized him while pretending to pay homage – threw mud upon him - seized him by the waist, pretending to make him dance; then, having thrown him down, dragged him through a gutter which ran on the side of the court, thus causing his sacred head to strike against the columns and sides of the wall, and when at last they raised him up, it was only in order to recommence their insults. p. 128

I saw blood streaming from his head and 3 times did the blows prostrate him, but angels were weeping at his side, and they anointed his head with heavenly balsam. It was revealed to me that had it not been for this miraculous assistance he must have died from those wounds. p. 129

Condemned to Death
The Blessed Mother approached to hear the sentence of death pronounced upon her Son and her God. The cowardly Pilate, the base judge, in a tremulous undecided voice, pronounced the sentence of death on the Just Man. The sight of the cowardice and duplicity of this despicable being, who was nevertheless puffed up with pride at his important position, almost overcame me, and the ferocious joy of the executioners – the triumphant countenances of the High Priests, added to the deplorable condition to which our loving Savior was reduced, and the agonizing grief of his Blessed Mother – still further increased my pain. I looked up again, and saw the crowd almost devouring their victim with their eyes, the soldiers standing coldly by, and multitudes of horrible demons passing to and fro and mixing in the crowd. p. 152

Pilate was a proud, superstitious and irresolute pagan that was a slave of the world who trembled in the presence of the true God. p. 155

No sooner did Mary revive than she begged to be taken again to each spot which had been sanctified by the sufferings of her Son, in order to bedew them with her tears; and thus did the Mother of our Lord, in the name of the Church, take possession of those holy places. p.153

The Way of the Cross
Jesus was led through narrow, dirty streets. People stood on the roofs of the houses, and at the windows and insulted him with opprobrious language; the slaves who were working in the streets threw filth and mud at him; even the children, incited by his enemies, had filled their pinafores with sharp stones, which they threw down before their doors as he passed that he might be obliged to walk over them.

Jesus prayed while carrying his cross and continued to pray until his death. p.158

Nailed to the Cross
I saw large bodies of evil spirits under the forms of toads, serpents…urging these wicked men to still greater cruelty, and perfectly darkening the air. They crept into the mouths and into the hearts of the assistants, sat upon their shoulders, filled their minds with wicked images and incited them to revile and insult our Lord with still greater brutality. Weeping angels stood around Jesus, there were likewise angels of pity and angels of consolation. The latter frequently approached the Blessed Virgin and the rest of the pious persons who were assembled there and whispered words of comfort which enabled them to bear up with firmness.

As Jesus hung on the cross darkness enveloped. Jesus was almost fainting because his tongue was parched and said “I thirst.” Those standing round the Cross looked at him with the deepest expression of sorrow and he added, “Could you not have given me a little water while the sky was dark?” John was filled with remorse and replied, “We did not think of doing so, O Lord.” This omission had afflicted Jesus very much. p. 188

The Death of Jesus

When Jesus, the Lord of life and death, gave up his soul into the hands of his Father, and allowed death to take possession of his body, this sacred body trembled and turned lividly white; the countless wounds which were covered with congealed blood appeared like dark marks; his cheeks became more sunken, his nose more pointed, and his eyes, which were obscured with blood, remained but half open. He raised his weary head, which was still crowned with thorns, for a moment, and then dropped it again in agony of pain; while his parched and torn lips, only partially closed, showed his bloody and swollen tongue. At the moment of his death his hands, which were at one time contracted round the nails, opened and returned to their natural size, as did also his arms; his body became still, and the whole weight was thrown upon the feet, his knees bent and his feet twisted a little on one side. p.190

Dismas, the Good Thief, gave a deep groan and expired; he was the first among mortals who had the happiness of rejoining his Redeemer. p.197

The Blessed Virgin and her companions were still standing near, with their eyes fixed upon the Cross. But when Cassius thrust his lance into the side of Jesus they were very much startled and rushed with one accord up to it. Mary looked as if the lance had transfixed her heart instead of that of her Divine Son and could scarcely support herself.

Each heart was overcome at the sight of the blood of our Lord, which ran into a hollow in the rock at the foot of the Cross. Mary, John, the holy women and Cassius, gathered up the blood and water in flasks, and wiped up the remainder with pieces of linen. p.198

Taking the Body Down from the Cross

Joseph and Nicodemus placed ladders behind the Cross and…with great difficulty drew out the large nail that transfixed the feet. Cassius devoutly received the nails and laid them at the feet of the Blessed Virgin. p.205

When the body was taken down, it was wrapped in linen from the knees to the waist, and then placed in the arms of the Blessed Virgin, who, overwhelmed with sorrow and love, stretched forth to receive the precious burden. p. 206

It was absolutely impossible for her to leave the body of her Son in the awful state to which it had been reduced by his sufferings, and therefore she began with indefatigable earnestness to wash and purify it from the outrages of which it had been exposed. Mary drew out the thorns which had remained in the skin on his head with a species of rounded pincers, and sorrowfully showed them to her friends. She washed the wounds of the head, the eyes filled with blood, the nostrils and the ears, with a sponge and a small piece of lined spread over the fingers of her right hand; and then she purified in the same manner, the half opened mouth, the tongue, the teeth and the lips. p. 207

There was a frightful wound on the shoulder that had borne the weight of the Cross. On the left breast there was a small wound where the point of Cassius’ lance had come through, and on the right side was the large wound made by the same lance, and which had pierced the heart through and through. p.208

Once more did Mary embrace the sacred body of Jesus and utter her farewells in the most touching language, and then the men lifted it from her arms on the sheet, and carried it to some distance for burial. p. 209

1. Re-read this in entirety and replace Jesus’ name with your own. Then re-read it again and replace Mary’s name with your own.

2. Talk with Jesus about His Passion. What does He reveal to you?

3. Reflect on the most real part of the passion for you as Sister Emmerich describes it. Make something, wear something or write something that reminds you of that and bring it to Bible Study.

4. Visit a cemetery. Reflect on and appreciate the holiness of the lives that have gone before you. Tell us about that.

5. Imagine your funeral. What do you want people to remember about you….to forget about you? What story do you want them to tell about you?

6. What is the most surprising revelation for you from Sister’s vision?

7. How are you like Pilate?

8. Cassius, who had thrust his spear through Jesus’ side, converted immediately following that act according to Sister’s vision. What would it take to convert you into being the person you are meant to be?

9. Jesus prayed “Father forgive them.” Was Jesus prayer answered?

10. How can this Lent be different from others?

11. Jesus said, “It is finished.” Do you act like that is true or do you still feel the need to be redeemed?

12. We should want not to have things any better than Christ that is to share His most difficult moments. This may include failing in the world’s eyes, rejection, betrayal, being misunderstood, insecurity and loneliness. This is a life of self emptying love. How does my life reflect Jesus’?

13. Ask Jesus what it is like to be stripped of every kind of exterior and interior consolation. What does He reveal to you?

14. Search the headlines in the news for examples of the global suffering of the Body of Christ and bring some examples.

15. Search the headlines in the news for examples of the global sinfulness of the Body of Christ and bring some examples.

16. Pray for the gift of noticing global suffering and sinfulness and for forgiveness for your complacency with regard to those points.

What God sees

When God looks at you He sees a woman who is perfectly beautiful and beautifully perfect... a survivor whose strength has led her through adversity… a kind and generous spirit who makes the world a gentler place…a reflection of His own love and light.

See yourself as God sees you.

test blog

this is the first test blog posting. let me know if this is working ok. thanks