Be Like Paul

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a-103In today’s first reading (2 Tm 4:1-8), we see first hand St. Paul’s character. He follows sound doctrine, knows the truth, is self-possessed, evangelizes, competes well, finishes the race, and keeps the faith. He knows he’s near the end of his life but he still “sings [God’s] glory every day” (Ps 71:8) and, “speaks of the mighty works of the Lord.” (Ps 71:16).

As I try to grow in virtue I know I can never be perfect like Christ. He is God. But, with His grace, maybe I can get closer to being like Paul.

(Be Like Paul was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

©2013-2018 Reflections of a Lay Catholic. Reposting and sharing of material in its full and original content is permitted, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author(s) and Reflections of a Lay Catholic.

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Daily 100: Sacred Heart

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“Lord Jesus, I thank you. You fill me with love. You gave Your life for me and You continue to give Your life to me.”  These are the words I pray each and every day after receiving communion. Today, on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus they were especially relevant as I meditated on the immense love Christ has for me and the grace and mercy bestowed on me through His great love.

“Lord, let me never turn my back on You but always recognize and give thanks to You for Your magnificent and eternal love. Amen.”

(Daily 100:  Sacred Heart was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

©2013-2018 Reflections of a Lay Catholic. Reposting and sharing of material in its full and original content is permitted, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author(s) and Reflections of a Lay Catholic.

Daily 100: A Package Deal

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Jesus responded to the scribe’s question (Mark 12:30-31) about the first of all the commandments, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart….soul….mind….and strength.” Then, unasked, he added the second of all commandments, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus tells us it’s a package deal. When someone who loves me asks me to do something, I’m expected to obey and respond lovingly. To do otherwise is not loving that person. Thus, I can’t truly love God if I don’t love my neighbor. I need to let that sink in.

(Daily 100: A Package Deal was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

©2013-2018 Reflections of a Lay Catholic. Reposting and sharing of material in its full and original content is permitted, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author(s) and Reflections of a Lay Catholic.

Daily 100: Style and Substance

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I love Paul’s style of introducing himself in his letters (2 Tm 1:1-3):  his role as Christ’s disciple, why he’s writing, and compassionate greetings. You know his eyes are “….on the Lord our God”. (Ps 123:2). We can depend on the substance of his word and the strength of his faith.

I’ll never match Paul for his style and substance, but I wonder if those whom I love feel they can depend on my faith to support them in theirs. Are they assured of my love for them as Timothy was of Paul’s? Something to think about.

(Daily 100:  Style and Substance was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

©2013-2018 Reflections of a Lay Catholic. Reposting and sharing of material in its full and original content is permitted, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author(s) and Reflections of a Lay Catholic.

Daily 100: Taxes

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Today, Jesus avoids a trap by replying, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

While I enjoy the infrastructure and services the government provides for our common good, I often take them for granted and I’m reluctant to justly pay the taxes that enable them.

I also often take for granted the daily blessings I receive from God. But, then I remember that the only collection He wants from me is gratitude and to live according to His will, and I joyfully repay what He’s due through my actions and prayers of thanksgiving.

(Daily 100:  Taxes was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

©2013-2018 Reflections of a Lay Catholic. Reposting and sharing of material in its full and original content is permitted, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author(s) and Reflections of a Lay Catholic.

Daily 100: The Cornerstone

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In His parable of the tenants of the vineyard, Jesus tells the Pharisees (Mk 12:10) that, although He is the stone they’ve rejected, He is still the Cornerstone, the Son of God.

I know I believe Him. But, how strong is my faith, really? When I pray do I ask Jesus to help me set my cornerstone, or do I ask Jesus to come and be my Cornerstone? Do I ask Jesus to come walk with me where I want to go, or do I ask Jesus to lead me and be patient while I follow Him?

(Daily 100:  The Cornerstone was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

©2013-2018 Reflections of a Lay Catholic. Reposting and sharing of material in its full and original content is permitted, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author(s) and Reflections of a Lay Catholic.

Daily 100: Questioning Authority

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In today’s Gospel, Mark 11:27-33, the chief priests, scribes and elders ask Jesus, “Who gave you the authority to do the things you’re doing?” Jesus answered them squarely with a question of his own, one which they didn’t want to hear. They wouldn’t accept that He was the Son of God.

People still want to avoid the truth. They question the source of our authority when we proclaim the Word of God. Do I always have the fortitude to stand up straight and reply as required of me, “It’s Jesus, of course. Can I introduce you to him?”

(Daily 100:  Questioning Authority was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

©2013-2018 Reflections of a Lay Catholic. Reposting and sharing of material in its full and original content is permitted, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author(s) and Reflections of a Lay Catholic.

Daily 100: Seasonal Fruit

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Since the inception of the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic, I have posted reflections on how I see God working in my life and other significant inspirations. Most of those reflections are rather lengthy because most have a story imbedded in them.

I’m venturing today to start something new: short reflections based on the daily scripture that are 100 words or less. I’m calling them simply the “Daily 100”.

I hope they inspire you to grow closer to Christ and to bring others with you. Please let me know what you think. Thank you for reading and may God bless you!

Seasonal Fruit

In today’s Gospel, Mk 11:13, a hungry Jesus sees a fig tree and hopes to find some figs to eat. But, it’s not the season for the tree to be bearing fruit. Trees act only according to their nature given to them by God. On the other hand, us humans have intellects and wills, also given by God, for bringing others to Him. Unlike the fig tree, we can bear fruit 24/7/365. Today is a good day to ask if my apostolate, my prayer and action, is bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God. Is yours?

(Daily 100:  Seasonal Fruit was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

©2013-2018 Reflections of a Lay Catholic. Reposting and sharing of material in its full and original content is permitted, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author(s) and Reflections of a Lay Catholic.

God is a Techie….and I’m Not

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Before I retired a year ago, I did much of my writing from hotel rooms. I was usually away from home one or two nights a week. It was during the two to six hour drives in the evenings from home to my destination that I often became inspired as I reflected on a particular scripture passage and how it related to my life, or an encounter with someone, or even the words to a song. Then, upon arriving at the hotel, I’d stay up late and write my thoughts down into a reflection and post them.

Circumstances have changed since I retired. I still have frequent inspirations but I’m finding it difficult to make time to write. I stay busy during the day with a plethora of activity and I prefer to spend my evenings with my wife instead of behind a computer screen. I try to make notes to myself about blog ideas but by the time I get around to writing them I’ve either lost the gist of the inspiration or it’s been so long that it’s no longer relevant.

Two Saturdays ago I was driving from Ohio to Southeast Missouri to visit family. Since Sunday was Pentecost and the end of the Easter season, I was thinking about the Gospel passages I’d read during Easter. There were three prominent and distinct messages that struck me, but, I couldn’t write them down while I was driving, and I knew I wouldn’t have time when I reached my destination, either. They were good ideas and I didn’t want to lose them!  A little frustrated, I uttered, “God, why do I always have these inspirations when I’m driving and I don’t have time to write them down? Give me a break or help me figure this out, would you, please!”

I stopped briefly somewhere in Southern Indiana for a bio-break, to stretch my legs and to grab a burger for lunch. I opted to eat in rather than get it to go since it would give me time to answer some emails and texts I’d received since I left home. As I was replying to an email on my iPhone, I accidentally hit that little microphone icon next to the space bar and up popped some squiggly business at the bottom of the screen and I noticed that what I was muttering to myself was showing up as text.

It took me a second to figure out what was going on. In all my years of using my iPhone, I’d never tapped that microphone button before. Not even by accident. I didn’t know what it was for. Well, I mean, I know what a microphone is, of course, but I didn’t make the connection as to why it was there. I’m from that generation that half way wants to realize the benefit of technology but the other half, in fear, says, “Don’t touch anything if you don’t know what it does!”

Then it hit me. I could dictate messages to myself with that little bitty button! I could record my inspirations as I was driving and then all I would have to do would be to decipher them when I eventually found time to write. I thought, “Wow! This opens up a whole new world!”

And then I realized what had really happened. Just minutes before, I had asked God, albeit in frustration, to help me figure out what to do. Out of His kindness, He didn’t waste any time answering my prayer!

In the final three hours of my drive, I took advantage of that little technological marvel and, putting my inspirations into words, I dictated messages to myself. Now I just need to find the time to put them in coherent sentences and get them out to you. Stay tuned!

“Good and gracious God, you never cease to amaze me with your generosity! I thank you for the many times you’ve revealed yourself to me in seemingly insignificant ways as well as the times you’ve driven me to my knees in awe. Abba, Father, I praise, adore, and glorify you and give you thanks for all the many blessings you’ve bestowed on me and my family. Amen.”

(God is a Techie….and I’m Not was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)
©2013-2018 Reflections of a Lay Catholic. Reposting and sharing of material in its full and original content is permitted, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author(s) and Reflections of a Lay Catholic.

A Mission of Mercy

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This July another group of adults and youths from St. Francis de Sales Parish in Lebanon, Ohio, will make our fifth consecutive Hand in Hand Ministries Appalachian Immersion experience. I look forward again to seeing how the first-timers and veterans apply what we call the Corporal Works of Mercy, those actions in Matthew 25:35-40 about which Jesus says, “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Sheltering the Homeless is the most visible sign of our efforts. Although those whom we help are not actually homeless, they cannot afford to maintain their homes. By repairing their homes, we, in a sense, are possibly keeping them from becoming homeless.

We Feed the Hungry by preparing lunches for those at whose houses we will be working. Lunch may only be a couple sandwiches, chips, an apple, and a few cookies, but it might be their best meal of the week. I love to watch the kids fight each morning over who is going to make the lunch for the family and the put their love into making it.

We’ve given Drink to the Thirsty, by repairing plumbing, or, in once instance, connecting plumbing to a house which previously only had access to dirty well water.

We have Clothed the Naked by donating gently used clothing to be made available at Hand in Hand’s Auxier Center.

By building wheelchair ramps for homeowners, we have liberated them from the confines of their homes, thus Comforting the Sick by reaching out and relieving their isolation and loneliness.

We don’t stop by the local jailhouse to Visit the Imprisoned, rather, we offer those who may have no family or friends a way out of seclusion and loneliness, and the imprisonment of poverty.

We’ve Buried the Dead. Well, not literally, but I recall witnessing our youths show amazing compassion to a widower whose wife had just died a few days before.

We’ve also had the opportunity to offer Spiritual Works of Mercy by being witnesses to Jesus and spreading the knowledge of His love; by quenching the thirst and satisfying the hunger of those who need affirmation and compassion; by restoring the dignity of men and women who’ve forgotten what it means; by being present and relieving the suffering of those who yearn to feel as though they matter; and by praying for each other and those whom we are serving.

I also look forward to the many other positive revelations that come from within our own group, especially the growth in spirit and maturity among our youths, e.g.: High-schoolers who haven’t cleaned their rooms in months treating homeowner’s personal belongings with care and respect; volunteers, young and old, making it their “job” for that day to be a caring friend to the homeowner yearning for company; experienced craftsmen watching out for the safety of the less skilled and helping them learn; and kids volunteering to take a dirty job so that another can rest and get a cold drink of water. They make me proud to associate with them!

And, as we go around the room on our last morning reflecting on the highs and lows of the week, I’ve seen humility that would make Jesus proud!

As I anticipate this upcoming trip, I think about these words from a sermon by St. Augustine, “Fill your empty neighbor from your fullness, so that your emptiness may be filled from God’s fullness.”

The cost for an individual to attend an Appalachian Immersion Mission trip is $250.00. The ability for many in our group to go, especially the youths, is dependent on financial assistance from benevolent donors. Won’t you please consider helping to “fill your empty neighbor” and help others in need by making a generous donation? You can make an on-line donation at this link St. Francis de Sales Mission Trip Donations.

Thank you and God Bless!

“Heavenly Father, thank you for the grace that You bestow on all those who give of their time, talent, and treasure to make these mission trips to help the least of Your brothers truly missions of mercy. You give us the opportunity to make a difference in this world, a difference that is desperately needed. Please open our hearts and fill us with compassion. Amen.”

(A Mission of Mercy was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

©2013-2018 Reflections of a Lay Catholic. Reposting and sharing of material in its full and original content is permitted, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author(s) and Reflections of a Lay Catholic.