Posted by: matt25 | March 30, 2020

The Lie Exposed

The current situation of a world wide pandemic has revealed a truth. Something that only the most obstinate would deny. Your life, your decisions, your actions matter. You are important and you can make other people’s lives better or worse by what you choose to do.

Contrast that to the message that the mainstream media of modern culture and society relentlessly sent for years through the news and entertainment prior to the pandemic. Your life has no purpose in the grand scheme. It doesn’t matter what you do, so do whatever you want. Whatever makes you feel happy is fine. The individual reigns supreme and there is no responsibility or valid reason to hold to antiquated ideas. There is no objective truth, no code of morality, no shared spirituality, no greater purpose, no meaning for your life, that is more important than the desires of your flesh.

Of course not everyone bought in to that message, but as a nation we did. Look at the fruits of that acceptance. You could list as well as I the number of ways that our civilization is in regression toward chaos and barbarism. Then along comes a microscopic virus which reveals the lie. We do need each other. We do have a responsibility to each other. There is meaning and a purpose for our lives that transcends our individual appetites.

Today it strikes me that we have forgotten our story. A story that we are all a part of by virtue of the gift of our life. From the beginning of time, to the end of time, we are part of the story of humanity, and we have a role that we are created to fulfill. Will you choose to recover your place in that story, or will you choose to deny your place. Will you choose a heroic purpose filled life, or a life without purpose beyond self-interest?

I will leave you with this quote to contemplate if your thoughts are even somewhat alligned with mine. “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Posted by: matt25 | March 17, 2020

Facing A Pandemic , And Lessons to Remember

I don’t need to tell you about the COVID-19 pandemic. It is in the news every day, and life is drastically changed. Sports, concerts, bars, schools closed, even churches in whose services we seek comfort and strength during a crisis are restricted. In the case of my Catholic diocese, no public masses may be celebrated through the rest of Lent, Holy Week, the Sacred Eater Triduum, and into the Easter Season.

So, how are we to respond? Some are panicked and hoarding supplies. But, this only makes things worse. It is better to buy a reasonable amount, and leave enough for others thereby reducing shortages and panic. Some think they can ignore the public health guidelines about social distancing, also making things worse. I may have been guilty of that a week ago, but no longer as I have been forced to compliance by a a bout of pneumonia that makes this cornavirus a deadly threat to me. Social distancing will slow the spread and hopefully alleviate an overwhelming number of patients needing care simultaneously, overtaxing our health care system and crippling its ability to provide care to many of those in need. So don’t panic, wash your hands, and practice social distancing, but what else? Are there some lessons we may have forgotten?

This is not the first pandemic the world has faced, what are some lessons we had learned which now need to be remembered? One simple one I read about was learned from the the Flu pandemic of 1918. Get some fresh air and sunshine. Rediscover your porch, go for a walk, look for signs of spring. Find the presence of God in the unfolding of new life. In those signs find the secure source of all true hope, and do not let worry and stress undermine the efficacy of your immune system.

What about a spiritual lesson that goes a bit deeper? One that may lead us to having a healthier outlook in a world that knows it can’t avoid suffering, yet constantly tries to at almost any cost. This is a lesson that is hard to learn, and perhaps only possible to fully embrace through the gift of faith, yet it must be taught. I had been reading a book which I set aside as life became too busy, which I picked up again today. This is the very first thing I read.

I hope to explore this a bit more in another post after I wrestle with it myself. But right now, I need to rest. Don’t lose your hope or joy in the face of uncertainty, find comfort in them. Peace be with you. <><

I recently heard a talk by Fr Michael Gaitley in which he spoke about three great acts of Divine Mercy which have great significance in each of our lives. A request to those who have studied Latin. Please have mercy on me for mentioning a Latin phrase which I believe I mispronounced.

https://soundcloud.com/deacon-matt-hens/aka-divine-mercy-sunday-2019

Posted by: matt25 | March 25, 2019

Stop, Look, and Listen

When I was a child and had to cross the street, my mother taught me to stop, look, and listen so I would make the right decision about what to do. Nothing was more important than that, in that moment. Of course I also taught that practice to my children precisely because it is important, and now they teach that practice to their children, because it is important.

In a similar way, because it is important, the Church teaches us to practice the devotion of Lent, preparing ourselves for a deeply profound remembrance of the Passion of our Lord Jesus. We began by reflecting on how Jesus’ spent 40 days in the desert with prayer and fasting to face the temptations that he would have to overcome in order to one day cry out to the Father in the garden, “Your will, not mine,be done!” So we journey in small ways with prayer, fasting and almsgiving to face the temptations that we need to overcome in our lives so that we may hear and answer “Yes!” to God’s calling in our lives.

How appropriate it is then, that we remember today the Annunciation Of The Lord, when Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word”, when she said “Yes!” to God’s calling in her life.

Our mother is speaking to us in this solemn day of remembrance to stop, look, and listen. Seek out the quiet in your own life where God can speak. Make the effort to overcome the distractions of constant activity which prevent your spirit from hearing what God wants to say to you. Create the space to hear the voice of the Lord, and “harden not your heart”. Then you like Mary may be able to know what God created you for, and choose to say yes to God’s calling in your life. Nothing is more important than that. Nothing can give you greater joy.

Posted by: matt25 | February 24, 2019

A Homily For My Sister Becky

It’s been almost 4 months since my sister Becky went home to the Lord. For the first time today I listened to the message I preached at her funeral. Maybe I listened just due to the passage of time, or maybe it was the fact that my dear friend Jack, who was like a brother to me, also passed last week, but if I am honest, it was probably both. Anyway, I guess I am ready to post it now. Perhaps it will bring someone else a measure of comfort in their own mourning as well. May God bless you and keep you always.

https://soundcloud.com/deacon-matt-hens/beckys-homily-2018-11-03

Posted by: matt25 | December 31, 2018

Dreaming Of What To Say On A Sunday

This is the the story of Homily that actually came to me in a dream for The Feast of The Holy Family Of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. After celebrating The Nativity of the Lord at Midnight Mass at my parish of St Joseph Church, I did not get to sleep until around 3:30 AM. I woke up after only three hours of sleep on Christmas morning and forced myself to go back to sleep, because I did not want to be tired and irritable with my children and grandchildren for our Christmas festivities. I woke up about an hour later from a dream about this homily. I immediately got out of bed and wrote down some notes, roughing out what I would preach before the dream faded. I thought I was mostly done with my preparations for the weekend liturgies.

God did not think so, and mercifully decided to give me a little more help. A couple of days later I awoke from another dream about this homily. This time it was about how I should change the way I would start it. So again I immediately got up and wrote additional notes about the introduction.

I am very grateful for all of the ways that God speaks to me, including dreams. I pray that you may hear and see God everywhere in your life, and that you never leave him behind as you move forward through your years.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

https://soundcloud.com/deacon-matt-hens/oh-no-we-left-him-behind-holy

Posted by: matt25 | August 31, 2018

When Jesus Was Hurt As A Boy

I can’t help but wonder about the life of Jesus sometimes. After all, the gospels don’t give us every detail of his life. Today, I started to think about Jesus as a young boy. How long did it take him to learn how to walk ? What were his first words ? What kind of games did he like to play with the other children? What did he do if he fell down and skinned his knee? It was this last question that gave me pause today. I started to think about that, and in my mind I saw an image of him running to his mother in tears. And she did what any good mother would do, she embraced him, washed his bloody knee, may have bandaged it if it was necessary, and perhaps even kissed his boo boo.

Mary comforts Jesus from The Passion of Christ

Mary comforts Jesus from The Passion of Christ

As sinners do we not all fall down in our spiritual lives? Do we not all skin our knees? Has not the church itself fallen and hurt itself badly? I don’t think that it would be wrong for us as individuals and as a church to go running to Mary in tears. After all, she was given to us by Jesus as our mother at the foot of the cross.

So let’s run to Mary our mother. She will embrace us, clean and bandage our wounds, perhaps even kiss them. Then as she always does, point us toward our brother, Jesus.

This brief reflection was a reponse in my heart prompted by reading a blog by Fr. Broom. Perhaps it will prompt something for you as well. Here is the link.

http://fatherbroom.com/blog/2018/08/sad-depressed-in-desolation-turn-to-mary/

Posted by: matt25 | August 27, 2018

How Can You Still Be A Catholic?

Last week my pastor and I discussed the need to address the recent wave of revelations regarding the sex abuse scandal in the Church.  We knew it had to be done and agreed that it was possible that it might be a good idea for it to come from a deacon.  I pray that my meager efforts to wrestle with the pain, confusion, and suffering in a homily were led by the Holy Spirit, and of some value to those who heard it at Mass.  I pray that it will be of some value to you who listen here as well.  Just push the play button below in the orange circle.  Peace be with you.

 

to_whom_shall_we_go

Posted by: matt25 | February 22, 2018

What Is My Place?

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Posted by: matt25 | February 20, 2018

Today!

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