Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother Teresa's Words to the Sisters of Charity...and to Us

Jesus wants me to tell you much love He has for each one of you—beyond all you can imagine. I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus—one to one—you and Jesus alone. We may spend time in chapel—but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love? Do you really know the living Jesus—not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you? Ask for the grace, He is longing to give it. Until you can hear Jesus in the silence of your own heart, you will not be able to hear Him saying “I thirst” in the hearts of the poor. Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person—not just the idea. How can we last even one day without hearing Jesus say “I love you”—impossible.

Our soul needs that as much as the body needs to breathe the air. If not, prayer is dead—meditation-only thinking. Jesus wants you each to hear Him—speaking in the silence of your heart. Be careful of all that can block that personal contact with the living Jesus. The devil may try to use the hurts of life, and sometimes our own mistakes—to make you feel it is impossible that Jesus really loves you, is really cleaving to you. This is a danger for all of us. And so sad, because it is completely opposite of what Jesus is really wanting, waiting to tell you. Not only that He loves you, but even more—He longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close.

He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy. When not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimes—He is the one who always accepts you. My children, you don’t have to be different for Jesus to love you.

Only believe—You are precious to Him. Bring all you are suffering to His feet—only open your heart to be loved by Him as your are. He will do the rest.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Don't We All

I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car. I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work. Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society would consider a bum. From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes, and no money. There are times when you feel generous but there are other times that you just don't want to be bothered. This was one of those "don't want to be bothered times."

"I hope he doesn't ask me for any money," I thought.

He didn't.

He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop but he didn't look like he could have enough money to even ride the bus.

After a few minutes he spoke.

"That's a very pretty car," he said.

He was ragged but he had an air of dignity around him. His scraggly blond beard keep more than his face warm.

I said, "thanks," and continued wiping off my car.

He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never came. As the silence between us widened something inside said, "ask him if he needs any help." I was sure that he would say "yes" but I held true to the inner voice.

"Do you need any help?" I asked.

He answered in three simple but profound words that I shall never forget. We often look for wisdom in great men and women. We expect it from those of higher learning and accomplishments. I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand. He spoke the three words that shook me.

"Don't we all?" he said.

I was feeling high and mighty, successful and important, above a bum in the street, until those three words hit me like a twelve gauge shotgun.

Don't we all?

I needed help. Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I needed help. I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus fare, but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day. Those three little words still ring true. No matter how much you have, no matter how much you have accomplished, you need help too. No matter how little you have, no matter how loaded you are with problems, even without money or a place to sleep, you can give help. Even if it's just a compliment, you can give that.

You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it all. They are waiting on you to give them what they don't have. A different perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, a respite from daily chaos, that only you through a torn world can see.

Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets. Maybe he was more than that. Maybe he was sent by a power that is great and wise, to minister to a soul too comfortable in themselves.

Maybe God looked down, called an Angel, dressed him like a bum, then said, "go minister to that man cleaning the car, that man needs help."

Don't we all?

-- Author Unknown

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

How do I love myself?

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” -Matthew 22:36-39

During this first week of Love Month, I realized that when I look at the greatest commandment, I often forget the last two words. I'm not just to love God and neighbor; I am to love myself.

How do I do love myself? It's not as easy as it sounds. You would think this would be easy. In one sense, I am more lenient with myself. I might think of myself as a good person. I go to church. I pray each night. I even go to Confession regularly. I take care of my physical needs by eating well, exercising, sleeping. I do things that stimulate my mind and build healthy relationships.

But are these things really loving myself?

How do I handle self doubt? Do I check my destructive behaviors? Am I practicing moderation and fasting so that I have self control and freedom to make healthy choices? Do I just fulfill my religious duty or am I in relationship with a God I can trust and love?

The difference in providing for myself and loving myself is a fine line, but it is distinct. Taking care of myself is one part, but feeding my soul is another. Jesus didn't specify how we are to love ourselves, and for each person it is different.

Some of the ways I love myself are to seek solitude, spirituality, and silence. These come in many forms.

Solitude can be getting up from my desk in the office so I can have a few minutes of quiet on the other side of the building. Solitude can be going on a run on my day off. Solitude can be foregoing plans with friends so I can have a day to myself for reading, cooking, napping, and doing laundry.

Spirituality can be reading a Christian book. Spirituality can be daily journaling. Spirituality can be praying through memories with a trusted friend.

Silence can be the nightly time reflecting on my day and sitting in the space I allot for God to speak. Silence can be quietly taking in a situation rather than responding emotionally. Silence can be turning off the radio and the noise during the car ride home.

I wish I were better at loving myself. Like most people, I struggle with many things about my physical appearance, my adequacy at work, my purpose in life, and my devotion to God's will. Like most people, I'm on a journey of self love.

What are the ways you love yourself? How well are you following the commandment of Jesus?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Note to Good Fighters

Dear Good Fighters,

Between the long Christmas break and the snow causing us to cancel Family Ministry, I miss you. Like most of you, I've been stuck at home the last couple weeks. I've been trying to get everything ready for our upcoming meetings and ministry, but there's only so much I can do at home. At Mass today, Fr. Radmar preached at St. Paul's BSU about ENCOUNTER. He even had us turn to someone we didn't know, learn the person's name, and encounter the person for one minute. Our faith, our Church, and our God are all about the ENCOUNTER.

Even though you may be stuck at home, God wants to ENCOUNTER you today.

God wants a relationship with you. God wants to love you. God wants you to let him love you. We have so many broken relationships around us (including our relationship with ourselves), but our relationship with God is the one relationship that will never be broken. You are loved as you are, loved where you are going, and loved without condition.

This Sunday at Good Fighters our topic was going to be FOLLOW: How does God guide us into the full life? Even though we can't meet, I invite you to watch the Alpha video below. Think about it. Pray about it. Talk about it. Then, if you're serious about encountering God, journal about this question:

Let’s say God has a plan for your life. Imagine God is giving you a guidebook to SEEK, FIND, and FULFILL that plan. Based on what you know about God, your life experience, what we’ve covered at Good Fighters, your gifts and desires, and your purpose in life, write what you imagine God telling you in your personalized guidebook.

We will add to the Guidebooks in the coming weeks. God is speaking to us. God wants to encounter us. Are we listening? I hope so.

Trying to FOLLOW and ENCOUNTER God alongside you,


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Need a Confirmation Saint?

If you are an Igniter looking for a Confirmation saint, there's a two-minute quiz that matches you with a saint who shares your interests. It might not be a perfect patron, but it's a fun way to start your saint search. Thanks is due to for the Obscure Saint Quiz. Take it here.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Christmas Reflection: Jesus is Listening

Part XI:
Jesus is Listening

In this Christmas season of the Church, we ought to spend time rediscovering Jesus. Who is this God-man? What did he do? Why should we love him? Why is our Church founded and grounded in him? Look for a series of posts leading up to the Epiphany on January 6 that reawaken our love for Christ and the Church.

Jesus listens to what we say, but he also listens to what we don't say.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Christmas Reflection: This Changes Everything

Part X:
This Changes Everything

In this Christmas season of the Church, we ought to spend time rediscovering Jesus. Who is this God-man? What did he do? Why should we love him? Why is our Church founded and grounded in him? Look for a series of posts leading up to the Epiphany on January 6 that reawaken our love for Christ and the Church.

The covering of snow melts, seeps into the earth to water it, and gives life as it leads to spring and summer.