Posted by: matt25 | July 9, 2014

Working Against Myself

Sometimes we choose to do what we know is wrong because we see some benefit in it for us.  The trurh is, that by doing so we are responsible for undermining what is best for us, for others, and for the greater good of society.  It is ironic that such a focus on self-interest is its own worst enemy.

Posted by: matt25 | July 3, 2014

Let’s work and pray together for people

Let’s work and pray together for people who are suffering and dying from lack of basic health care. http://ow.ly/yK7Yt

How important is your faith to you? Are you willing to be laughed at, or lose “friends” because of your faithfulness to God, or do you keep your faith hidden to avoid these and other unpleasant issues?

We do not exist as solitary creatures only. In fact, we empower or undermine the ability of others to live in freedom by the choices we make. If we strive to live our faith “out loud” in the marketplace we give permission and courage to others to do the same.

Christians have always known this and looked to the lives of Jesus and the Saints for inspiration. Today is a a day to draw strength from the example of St Charles Lwanga and his companions who were martyred, some by the machete and some by being wrapped in kindling and burned.

I am blessed to have been able to visit the shrine to these young men of faith in Uganda just about 2 years ago and the reality of their deaths, and even more so their lives has become a touchstone of faith for me. I pray that it shall ever be so.

Draw strength from those who have lived lives of heroic virtue and be a light for virtue to your family, friends, and acquaintances. Make a difference in their lives and your own.

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From AmericanCatholic.org “Saint of the Day”

One of 22 Ugandan martyrs, Charles Lwanga is the patron of youth and Catholic action in most of tropical Africa. He protected his fellow pages (aged 13 to 30) from the homosexual demands of the Bagandan ruler, Mwanga, and encouraged and instructed them in the Catholic faith during their imprisonment for refusing the ruler’s demands. For his own unwillingness to submit to the immoral acts and his efforts to safeguard the faith of his friends, Charles was burned to death at Namugongo on June 3, 1886, by Mwanga’s order.

Charles first learned of Christ’s teachings from two retainers in the court of Chief Mawulugungu. While a catechumen, he entered the royal household as assistant to Joseph Mukaso, head of the court pages. On the night of Mukaso’s martyrdom for encouraging the African youths to resist Mwanga, Charles requested and received Baptism. Imprisoned with his friends, Charles’s courage and belief in God inspired them to remain chaste and faithful.

When Pope Paul VI canonized these 22 martyrs on October 18, 1964, he referred to the Anglican pages martyred for the same reason.

Comment:
Like Charles Lwanga, we are all teachers and witnesses to Christian living by the examples of our own lives. We are all called upon to spread the word of God, whether by word or deed. By remaining courageous and unshakable in our faith during times of great moral and physical temptation, we live as Christ lived.

Quote:
On his African tour in 1969, Pope Paul VI told 22 young Ugandan converts that “being a Christian is a fine thing but not always an easy one.”

TUESDAY, JUNE 03, 2014
Saint of the Day for 6/2/2014

Posted by: matt25 | May 30, 2014

What Are You Waiting For?

If you are a normal type of person, there is something inside you. A quiet voice calling you to be better. But, day after day you say hello to that voice and then choose to drown it out with distractions and habits that bring you momentary pleasure, not caring that they erode your future well being.

Don’t wait. Quiet your distractions at least once a day. Make a standing appointment at the same time(s) every day to talk to your still small voice within. Consider creating an electronics free sitting area in your home where you can do this. At first you may find it difficult but it should get easier as it becomes a habit.

For me this time is prayer and that quiet voice is the Holy Spirit. I have found that if I do not set aside time for prayer early in the morning, if I choose distractions instead and put it off until later, my chances of neglecting my discipline of prayer for the day rise exponentially.

What are you waiting for? Establish a discipline that works for you and implement it. Begin listening in your inmost being and allow yourself to grow and evolve into a better version of yourself. Become the person you are meant to be.

Peace

…you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Ephesians 4:22-24 NABRE

Posted by: matt25 | May 29, 2014

Ascension and Doubt

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Do you have complete and perfect belief in the faith that has been handed on to you, or do you occasionally have some reservations? Can followers of Jesus have doubts and still really be his followers?

Yes, they can. Let’s take a look at the Gospel for the celebration of the Ascension of the Lord:

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 28:16-20

The eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
Then Jesus approached and said to them,
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

They worshiped, but they doubted. So even these, the eleven disciples who walked with him and experienced his miracles, who shared meals and conversation with Jesus after he rose from the dead, experienced doubt. So don’t be too hard on yourself. Rather, do what they did. Gather together in prayer and wait for the Holy Spirit to give you that gift of faith. Use all of your mind, heart and strength to prepare yourself for the coming of the Holy Spirit that we will celebrate at Pentecost, knowing that faith is a gift, not something that can be secured on the strength of anything that we can do on our own.

Be encouraged that the path that you are on has been walked by sinner saints for over two thousand years. Continue to worship, and whenever you have doubts, pray the fervent prayer of the boy’s father in Mark Chapter 9, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”.

Posted by: matt25 | May 26, 2014

A Facebook Birthday Post For My Bride

It was midnight and I wanted to post a birthday wish for Mary Jane’s birthday but, i struggled with what I wanted to say. In fact I had to go to bed and wait for morning to find the last line.

Once there was a time when I learned of love
Of its gentle bond
Holding me a willing captive
As though with chains of iron

Once there was a time when I learned of love
Of its other name freedom
Calling me to choose and decide
Demanding hard work if I would stay

Once there was a time when I learned of love
Of its richness without bounds
Discovered only by the giving of my life
Revealing new shades with each day’s smile

Once there was a time when I learned of love
Of its secret making
Forged in each act of kindness and sacrifice
Humbly given, humbly received

Once there was a time when I learned of love
Of its life completing unction
Joining what was divided into one
Rippling outward
Helping others to learn of love

Posted by: matt25 | May 25, 2014

How Do We Measure Time?

I choose to measure time with love.

The love of each year collects and is never lost. The moments are like grains of sand added to the hourglass of our hearts. We can turn it over in our mind and remember as we look back, but also forward to the loving memories yet to be.

I am blessed to share so many of mine with my bride. This weekend we celebrate Mary Jane’s birthday. It is, was, and will be a celebration of love, of life, and of thanksgiving.

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Posted by: matt25 | May 23, 2014

Living in Style

I never really understood the Stylite movement. I am humbled by their response to God because I do so little in comparison. I have trouble simply praying the Divine Office with the regularity and devotion that I should. But these guys, starting with Simeon Stylites the Elder, lived a life radically devoted to God. In so doing they were like stones thrown into the pond of life from which the ripples continue to travel outward until even our modern era.

Today there is a monk living in this tradition atop a natural pillar, praying for you and I and giving advice to the troubled souls that seek him out.

20140523-074902-28142501.jpgTwice a week he takes a break from his prayerful solitude and makes a 20 minute climb down the ladder from his lofty perch. When he reaches the bottom, he joins in communal prayer in the chapel there and he then climbs back up. Talk about a life that takes literally the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:17 on how to pray!

Follow the links above in this story for amazing photos and a glimpse into both the modern and historical life of this spiritual calling.

Posted by: matt25 | May 20, 2014

Half Dreams of Angels

Do you have half dreams? You know, thoughts and ideas that come to you as you are between the world of sleep and the world of “I guess I better put my feet on the floor and get going”. Well, I had one this morning.

I had this blessed thought/reminder that my guardian angel could help me make better choices in all I do, including how I use my time, if I was willing to pray and listen. I also felt a bit ashamed that I mostly ignore my relationship with my spiritual companion. I want to change that and hope that I persevere in my resolution to do so. To that end, I would like to share a small part of the reflection and prayer I found on the blog “We Believe And Share”

There is a beautiful Hasidic saying that goes, “Behind every blade of grass is an angel telling it to grow.” What message of growth and goodness is your guardian angel giving you today?

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The image is under copyright. You can download it with permission from: http://go.sadlier.com/wbas-reflection-on-an-angel-prayer-0?&__hssc=&__hstc&hsCtaTracking=ecb46af1-a0d7-4a01-a9b3-089419afc366%7C10ba3957-fe0f-4d20-946e-c0b808d0d600

Posted by: matt25 | May 3, 2014

Holy Smokes! A Table For 16 Please.

I have 2 words for your consideration today. Holy and Smoker. Separately this is what they mean.

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ho·ly [hoh-lee]. adjective
1. specially recognized as or declared sacred by religious use or authority; consecrated.
2. dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion.

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smok·er [smoh-ker] noun
1. a person or thing that smokes.
2. an informal gathering, for entertainment, discussion, or the like
3. an enclosed metal box or similar device for smoking meats, poultry, or fish.

Put them together and they are more than the sum of their parts for me. It was 3 years ago this weekend. The first weekend of the month had been set aside by my wife and I for 5 years and and that was our final weekend of formation at Christ the King Seminary on the path to ordination. Saturday evening of that weekend was a time for the formation community to celebrate 2 men being called to the Holy Order of Deacons. My wife Mary Jane and I were the guests of honor along with Walt & Gina Szczesny. This was fitting as neither of us would be deacons today without the support and help of our wives who are inseparable from who we are as men and as our better halves in our primary vocation as married men.

The Holy Smoker was indeed an informal gathering set aside by the church on grounds consecrated to the purpose of building up the kingdom of God. There was a smoked turkey as the main course of the feast with plenty of conversation and perhaps a cigar for those who wished to have one. But it was so much more. It was a celebration of lives and accomplishment. It was a recognition of sacrifices made and obstacles overcome. It was a shared experience of hope for the future and farewell to the past. Finally, it became a memory.

Today it is time for another Holy Smoker. This year, 8 men and their wives will be honored in a similar way. Please join me in praying for them as they answer the call together to become deacon couples dedicated to the service of God’s children.

The following men, with the love, support and consent of their wives, are called to the Holy Oder of Deacons:

Paul Bork, Charles Esposito, Michael Ficorilli, Jeffrey Forster, Paul Kulczyk, Steven Schumer, Daniel Tyler, James Waggoner.

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