Wednesday, November 30, 2011

come after me

Romans 10:9-18; Ps 10 Your words, Lord, are SPirit and Life; Mt 4:18-22

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Apostle Andrew, the second in the list of the twelve to be called, according to Matthew and Luke, and the brother of Peter.

According to Matthew's gospel, Jesus calls Peter and Andrew simultaneously, while they were casting the net into the sea.

I would like to direct your attention to the fact that Jesus calls these future apostles while they were working, earning their bread by the sweat of their brow.

This is so very important for us. The encounter with God we often hope for and look for in our life will often comes in the midst of the daily grind, while at work.

God comes to us where we spend most of our lives, at work. It was at work that Andrew heard from the lips of JEsus, "Come after me." Listen carefully, for it is there we too shall hear the invitation to transform our world from making a living to making a life.

What do we know about this apostle, Andrew.

We believe that he was crucified ona cross the shape of an X in Patras, Greece.
According to the gospel of John, he was a disicple of John the Baptist and it is through the John the Baptist that he was stirred to be and stay with Jesus.

During the multiplication of the loaves for the 5000, it was ANdrew who pointed out the boy with five loaves and two fish. Andrew recognized that the small amount the boy had was insufficient for such alarge crowd but noentheless he brought to Jesus to see what He could do with it.

Jesus of course utilized this minimal resource to bring about an extravagant transformation. Andrew was unfraid to take what little was available and bring it to Jesus so that he may do what he desired with it.

It was Andrew and Philip who brought some greek speakers to Jesus for a chance at a conversation and it was in this conversation that Jesus gives one of the most quoted passages from scripture, "unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit."

Perhaps it was this conversation that gave Andrew the strength to follw Christ in giving his life for the sake of the gospel and thus being crucified on the cross the shape of the X.

Our own crosses in life acquire value if we consider them and accept them as part of the Cross of Christ, if a reflection of his light illuminates them. It is by the cross of Christ alone that our sufferings too are enobled and acquire true meaning. It is when we become like the One who is the wheat that falls to the gound then fruit shall be produced by the life we live.

We read from the letter to the Romans "Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ. But I ask, did they not hear? Certainly they did; for their vocie has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world."

The life of the Saints continue to spread the message and thus faith is born by the word that comes form the faith they lived.

May it be so with us.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

stumps, buds, and petting zoos

Isaiah 11:1-10' Ps 72 Justice shall flourish in his time, fullness of peace forever; Luke 10:21-24

"On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of JEsse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom..."

Again we turn our hear to the Prophet Isaiah as he prepares us for the messianic coming, as he gives us picture of what it will look like and what we shall hope in. Notice that the sprout comes from a stump, that which has fallen or that which has been felled. A stump is the remains of a once healthy tree that has succumbed to the elements either by nature or by force and is now only a shadow of what it used to be.

God begins to build this messianic promise in the unlikeliest places. From that place that looks dead and barren, from that place that appears done and over, from that place where life seems fade and hopeless, from that place new life shall begin, hope shall arise.

Look around in your life and see if you can identify that place or those places. Maybe there is where God is waiting for you.

The bud shall blossom, Isaiah tells us. A bud is underdeveloped, the first stages of hope there is still more to come. Patience is necessary to see the finished product. We have to wait for it. We have to nurture it and guard it. We have to be willing to see it through, see it to the end.

Advent is a time of new beginning. From the unlikeliest places new life shall push forward and begin to unfold.

Then Isaiah tells us that the Messianic Petting Zoo shall unfold, "the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the kid, the calf and the young lion, with a child to guide them, the cow and the bear, the lion and the ox, the baby and the cobra."

What a beautiful picture and image what can be when we all are penetrated with knowledge of the Lord.

WHo are the bears and lions and cobras and leopards in your life? How can this Advent bring you to that point of allowing the knowledge of the Lord to lead you to a new place of forgiveness, a new place of loving, a new place of relating?

How can the child, lying in the manger, the humble gift of God, enter your heart and prepare the way for new life to bud forth?

JEsus tells us in the gospel, "I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for though you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and you have revealed them to the childlike."

MEssianic Petting Zoo is open but only the childlike can experience its fullness. We must learn to become small and only then can the largeness of the kingdom begin to impress itself upon us from the inside out.

Here is a link to a previous post on advent

Monday, November 28, 2011

too good to be true

Isaiah 2:1-5; Ps 122 Let us go rejoicing to the house of the lord; Mt 8:5-11

BEfore you read check out this link

"Come let us climb the mountain of the Lord, tot he house of the God of JAcob, that he may instruct us in his ways and we may walk in his paths...They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the word against another, nor shall they train for war again, O house of Jacob, come, Let us walk in the light of the Lord."

The words of the prophet Isaiah seem too good to be true.

Think about it: "Swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks and never training for war again."

This seems like a pipe dream. Look around the world. Look at all the conflict building. The tensions rises between nations who are neighbors:Israel and Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia, the countries in Africa.

There is so much violence and sickness, and starvation, and malnutrition.

IT seems impossible to think about peace reigning, and swords and spears becoming plowshares and pruning hooks. Especially when we look in the world and see explosives, nuclear warheads, and germ warfare, and biological weapons.

Frankly, No one is concerned with swords and spears anymore.

So what do we do with this bit of hope that seems false from the lips of the prophet Isaiah.

We make it a reality in our daily lives. We begin to climb the mountain of the Lord. We stop violence and sickness and hatred and all the rest by the choices we make and the good we fight for.

IT starts with one heart at a time. Victory comes in small amounts in a small scale primarily before it ever becomes large scale.

As the Psalmist tells us, "may peace be within your walls and your buildings."

Secondly we do what the last line of the psalm invites us to do, "Because of the house of the Lord, I will pray for your good."

Prayer prepares the heart for action. Inventory what and how you pray.

Slowly this pipe dream will become a reality, one heart at a time.

Then perhaps we too like the centurion in the gospel can amaze Jesus with our faith put in action.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Advent in two minutes

Click here for a quick tour of Advent in just Two Minutes

Advent: waiting for the one who is coming, waiting so that we might recognize the one who is already here, waiting so that we might prepare ourselves for what will be.

The opening prayer for Advent this SUnday from the New Translation of the Roman Missal 3rd edition

"Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming, so that, gathered at his right hand, they may be worthy to posses the heavenly kingdom.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy SPirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Litany for Thanksgiving

Please Respond: We thank you, O Lord.
This is a day to thank God for all his many blessings in our lives. With gratitude we now say:
For the love of God, for faith, family, and friends: R/
For joys, successes, achievements, and accomplishments: R/
For health, safety, work, and rest: R/
For struggles, sorrows, trials, and sufferings: R/
For our jobs, for those who support us, for our education, and for the chance to serve: R/
For our gifts, talents, and abilities, for honors, for strength and energy: R/
For our homes, for food, warmth, and shelter, for all the things that have made us happy: R/
For our hobbies and pets, for happy memories, for our favorite things, for leisure and relaxation: R/
For our nation, for freedom and peace, for teachers, leaders, and those who give us good example: R/
For the ability to say "I'm sorry," for the grace of repentance, for the forgiveness of others, for the generosity of others: R/
For good advice, for financial security, for the trust others put in us, for tenderness, understanding, and compassion: R/
For kindness, goodness, joy, and laughter, for the times we have helped others or made them happy: R/
For all the wonders of creation, for beauty, music, sports, and art, for new opportunities and second chances: R/
For failures and rejection, for all the ways we have grown up and become better people: R/
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be for ever.

A few sparks of thanks

A bit of THanksgiving Poem by Linda McCarriston

"Any deliberate leap into chaos, small or large,
with an intent to make order, matters. That's what.
A whole day has passed between the first apple
cored for pie, and the last glass polished
and set down. This is a feast we know how to make,
a Day of Feast, a day of thanksgiving
for all we have and all we are and whatever
we've learned to do with it: Dear God, we thank you
for your gifts in this kitchen, the fire,
the food, the wine. That we are together here.
Bless the world that swirls outside these windows—
a room full of gifts seeming raw and disordered,
a great room in which the stoves are cold,
the food scattered, the children locked forever
outside dark windows. Dear God, grant
to the makers and keepers power to save it all."

"Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude." Ralph Emmerson

"I'm grateful for anything that reminds me of what's possible in this life. Books can do that. Films can do that. Music can do that. School can do that. It's so easy to allow one day to simply follow into the next, but every once in a while we encounter something that shows us that anything is possible, that dramatic change is possible, that something new can be made, that laughter can be shared." By Jonathan Foer

Thanksgiving Proclamation by Lincoln in three parts

"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God..."

"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. ..."

"And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union."

Words of Jesus from the gospel for thanksgiving: "has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks, did I not heal them all, where are the other nine."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Tomorrow the gathering shall occur. People will get together with family and friends and share time, share a meal, share their lives.

For a brief moment, we will all stop doing and just be with and be for one another. What a novel approach to life.

This is part of the beauty of Thanksgiving. We can just stop for a moment and breathe in life and take in all the personalities that surround us.

So, rather than just dive right in, why not prepare!

Take a few moments today and actually think about what you are grateful for. Make a list and give it time to really soak in, perhaps before you go to sleep tonight let the list of gratitude soak in and marinate as you sleep.

Then perhaps when you wake on Thursday you might be ready and able to receive fully the gift of thanksgiving as it was meant to be received. Maybe when you wake up you will be a little more tender, a little more softer, a little more alive.

Ultimately, the more I live the more I realize we don't give thanks, we actually receive it.

Just something to think about as yo get ready for the day of thanksgiving.

If you are thankful and yo know it, clap you hands.
If you are thankful and you know it clap you hands.
If you are thankful and you know it
then you face will really show it
If you are thankful and you know it clap you hands.

If you are thankful and yo know it stomp your feet
If you are thankful and you know it stomp your feet
If yo are thankful and yo know it
then your face will really show it
If you are thankful and yo know it stomp your feet

If you are thankful and you know it shout AMen
If you are thankful and yo know it shout AMen
If you are thankful and you know it
THen your face will really show it
If yo are thankful and you know it shout AMen

If you are thankful and yo know it do all three
If you are thankful and yo know it do all three
If you are thankful and you know it
then your face will really show it
If yo are thankful and you know it do all three.

Doesn't make you feel better.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cecilia, martyr

Hosea 2:16-17,21-22; Ps 45 Listen to me daughter, see and bend you ear; Mt 25:1-13

Victor Frankl, a psychologist and a Holocaust survivor, in his book as he reflects on life in the prison camps during World War II, A man's Search for Meaning, speaks about the will to live. He noticed that when the men that were with him had no reason to live and nothing to hope in they quickly gave up and died, even committing suicide. But those who had hope, those who clung to the hope of being reunited with their families or being rescued, these were the ones who fought to survive.

He sums his experience up with one little line, "when we have a why to live, we can find a how to love."

Listen to the words of the prophet Hosea in today's reading as we celebrate the memorial of the life of St. Cecilia, "Thus says the Lord: I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart. She shall respond as in the days of her youth, when she came up from the land of Egypt. I will espouse you to me forever. I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the Lord."

When we have a why to live, we can find a how to love!

As Jesus tell us in the gospel, "those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him."

When we have a why to live, we can find a how to love!

What is our purpose, what is our meaning. We have all been created and placed on a track to be espoused to God. Union awaits us. Why did God makes us? To love him, to serve in this life and to be with him in the life to come.

When we have a why to live, we can find a how to love!

Is this not what the saints teach us. They choose death because they have a reason to live. The martyr isn't one who dies but rather primarily a martyr is on who finds a "how" to love, who has a deep reason to live. A martyr is always the one who is alive.

St. Cecilia found a way to love. Perhaps this is why God allowed her body to be incorrupt. She was martyred in 230 and her coffin opened in the 16th century and her body was then as it was when she was laid in the cypress box upon her burial.

The incorrupt body of a saint points toward the reality of life and love.

Here is an excerpt written on the life of virtue:

"young parents need to be taught that love -- any love -- means more than sweet sentiments. Real love means the willingness and the ability to endure hardship, difficulty, sacrificial struggle for the sake of someone else's welfare and happiness. Love is sacrifice. A life lived in this way, giving one's whole self to others, is mankind's most noble achievement, and a sure road to real happiness".

St. Cecilia pray for us

Monday, November 21, 2011


Daniel 1:1-6,8-20; Ps glory and praise for ever; Luke 21:1-4

"When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, "I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest...for she offered her whole livelihood."

As we approach Thanksgiving, most of us are clearing our refrigerators to make room for leftovers. Let's face it, leftovers are sometimes the best part of holidays.

And as good as leftovers are, Jesus points out in just a few sweet and well placed lines that leftovers don't get it when it comes to God.

The poor widow is the example and model for all of us.

From what she had, she gave.

What about us? How often do we skim when it comes to giving to God?

If there is one thing I learned thus far in ministry, I have never outdone God in generosity. Everything I attempt to give is primarily a simple act of returning the favor.

What we give in some sense is a sign of our appreciation for what we have received.

Instead of making room for leftovers, why not make room for God and go all in. It worked for the widow.

Friday, November 18, 2011

St. Peter & Paul

Acts 28:11-16,30-31; Ps 98 The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power; Matthew 14:22-33

Today we celebration the dedication of the two major Basilicas in Rome that in some sense represent the universal church: St. Peter's Basilica and St. Paul's Basilica.

Both church are built over the tomb of the great apostles that led the charge in proclaiming the gospel both the jews and the gentiles.

Beneath St. Peter's lies the bones of St. Peter and St. Paul houses the tomb of St, Paul, both of these men gave their life for the sake of Christ. Both of these men understood what it meant to be a temple of the Holy Spirit.

When you walk into these two great monuments of faith, instantly your eyes go upward and the soul is filled with awe and majesty, thus the visitor is prepared to contemplate the majesty of God.

The basilicas represent the life of faith and the promise of Christ who said he would be with us always until the end of the age.

As in the gospel for today where JEsus comes walking on water to the disciples who are being tossed about by the storm, so we are reminded that the storms of life will come; waves and wind will blow, but JEsus comes to us out of the storm, to be that calming presence we need.

JEsus doesn't prevent storms but rather he accompanies us through them.

In the midst of the storm we hear the words of Christ, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."

The BAsilicas of St. Peter and St, Paul remind us of that calming presence of Christ who accompanies us in the midst of the storms, who stands fast while the wind and waves crash around us, who beckons at us to come, who reaches stretches his hands out to grab us in our time of doubt and weakness.

Only a Basilica such as St. Peter and Paul can attempt to do justice to the calming presence, the rock like presence that JEsus is for us in life.
Virtual tour of St. Peter's Basilica

Virtual tour of St. Paul's Outside the Walls

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

what a mother

2 Maccabees 7:1,20-32; Ps 17 Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full; Luke 19:11-28

Here we go again. Yesterday we raised our heads and saluted the true man of faith, Eleazar, who was unwillingly to live a life of pretense when it came to his faith and chose to live a life of loyalty to God and thus die an honorable death.

He was a man's man.

Well, today we look toward the opposite sex. In today's first reading we encounter a women who is true to her faith.

The reading begins with these lines, "It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested and tortured with whips and scourages by the king, to force them to eat pork in violation of God's law."

What a way to begin a reading.

The stage is set. A mother and her seven sons are being persecuted. You know things are going to go well.

The very next line in the reading is very teling, "Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother,who saw her seven sons perish in a single day, yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord."

Then the reading continues, "filled with a noble spirit that stirred her womanly heart with manly courage, she exhorted each of them..."

But first a question: why does a "womanly" heart need to be equated with "manly" courage? Surely, women are way more capable of being courageous in their own right without having to be compared to men in order to get notoriety.

Just a side note. What would it look like to say that a manly heart is filled with womanly ocurage? Becasue let's face it, to go through child birth requires quite a abit of courage, more than I have seen in a "manly" heart as of late.

The mother spoke thus:

"I do not know how you came into existence in my womb; it was not I who gave you the breath of life, nor was it I who set in order the elements of which each of you is composed. Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe who shapes each man's beginning, as he brings about the origin of everything, he, in his mercy, will give you back both breath and life, because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law."

Wow! What a mother!
She is a true witness of womanhood.

When is the last time we saw this kind of love? How often do we make excuses for ourselves? How often do we excuse our chidlren from living the faith in hopes that we don't make it uncomfortable for them? Yet, here we disocver what it means when Jesus tells us in the gospel of Luke 14 that unless we hate our mother, brothers, chidlren, we cannot be his disciples.

What good is it for our chidlren to survive if they lose their souls in the process? Have we really helped them if this is the case?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

being manly

2 Maccabees 6:18-31; Ps 3 The Lord upholds me; Luke 19:1-10

We continue today to read the story from the book of Maccabees. Again, a reminder, the story describes a secular leader trying to coerce the Israelites to abandon their faith and to turn to idolatry.

Many do in fact give in, while others seek to maintian their integrity of faith, holding to the covenant of God even in the face of possible death or severe mistreatment.

Today we hear the story of Eleazar, who is described as, "one of the foremost scribes,a man of advanced age and noble appearance."

Eleazar was being forced to eat pork. Pork as you know is considred unclean, unbecoming for one who is an Israelite.

Here is a snippet of the story as it unfolds.

"Those in charge of that unlawful ritual meal took the man aside privately, becasue their long acquaintance with him, and urged him to bring meat of his own providing, such as he could legitimately eat, and to pretend to be eating some of the meat prescribed by the king; in this way he would escape the death penalty, and be treated kindly becasue of their old friendship with him."

Think about that for a moment. THe persecutors, who had great respect for Eleazar, offer a compromise to get him off the hook. All he had to do was pretend to eat the meat and thus he would save his skin.

It sounds like a good idea, but Eleazar sees through the deceit.

"But Eleazar made up his mind in a noble manner, worthy of his years, the dignity of his advanced age, the merited distinction of his gray hair, and of the admirable life he had lived from childhood' so he declared that above all he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God."

Eleazar seems to be a man you would want on your side. He refuses to compromise. But more importantly he is aware of what kind of example he would be leaving if he pretended to eat the pork.

He states the following, "At our age it would be unbecoming to make such a pretense; many young people would think the ninety-year old Eleazar had gone to an alien religion. Should I pretend for the sake of a brief moment of life, they would beled astray by me, while I would bring shame and dishonor on my old age."

Eleazar isn't thinking about himself but rather he is mroe concerned with what it would mean to the younger generation. What point is it to save his life if he leads others astray.

Eleazar continues, "therefore, by manfully giving up my life now, I will prove myself worthy of my old age, and I will leave to the young a noble example of how to die willingly and generously for the revered and holy laws."

wow! What a man of faith. What a man's man, as they say.

In our society, we have, as C.S. Lewis speaks about, become men with our chest. I would add, men with out backbones.

Eleazar shows us what it means to stand fast. He shows us what it means to truly let the "Lord uphold him."

As the psalmist says, "The Lord upholds me."

when is the last time you let the Lord uphold you. Rather than trying to weasel out of something, especially matters of faithfulness, when have you stood firm and trusted in the Lord to uphold.

"This is how Eleazar died, leaving in his death a model of courage and unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the whole nation."

Where have all the manly men gone? Where are those who manfully give their life?

Eleazar is truly a man's man, a woman's man, a young person's man, a man of faith.

Monday, November 14, 2011

coupons for the culture of death

1 Maccabees 1:10-63; Ps 119 Give me life, O Lord, I will do your commands; Luke 18:35-43

"In those days there appeared in Israel men who were breakers of the law, and they seduced many people, saying let us go make an alliance with the Gentiles all around us...Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, each abandoning his particular customs...all gentiles conformed to the command of the king, and many children of Israel were in favor of his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath." 1 Maccabees 1

The Maccabees are the last of the historical books of the Old Testament, written around 134 b.c.

The pagan mindset begins to take over the nation of Israel. A few people begin to persuade and seduce the nation to abandon its roots, its faith. SLowly, the Israelites become a minority yet they remain steadfast to their faith, refusing to surrender to the popular demand of the seductive voices of the time.

Sounds a lot like our society today. How many seductive voices are trying to get people of faith to abandon their roots and to give into the pressure of the popular culture, secularism and materialism. How often are we told that we should just all set aside our beliefs in order to become one people, who stand for nothing.

Sounds familiar.

The beauty of the maccabean line is they refuse to give in. THey hold fast in the fast of opposition. They are not seduced by the voices of the "modern" critics of their time. They guard their heritage, their faith. THey refuse to be unclean and be defiled.

They consider themselves custodians of the truth they have received in the covenant God made with them. They were "determined and resolved in their hearts not to eat anything unclean; they preferred to die."

Every time we turn around our faith is being challenged and poked at. Every time we turn around defilement is upon us. Recently i came across an article where a abortionist doctor, in Orlando, florida, is advertising coupons for abortion that are only valid on Sundays.

"Dr. James Pendergraft, a Florida abortionist who earlier this year was order to pay $36 million in damages after a botched abortion left a baby alive, but severely disabled, is now attempting to attract clients to his Orlando Women’s Center by offering a coupon for abortions, valid on Sundays only.

The coupon, which can be used to kill an unborn baby up to 24 weeks old, is advertised on the main page of the Center’s website.

“Limited time special! Print this page and bring it in for $50 savings only on Sundays!” reads the coupon. “VALID FOR ABORTIONS PERFORMED BY 5/31/12. You must present this page to the receptionist at the time of the abortion ON SUNDAYS ONLY. $50 credit towards cost of abortion. No cash value.”

Coupons for the culture of death.

Think about the disgrace and sacrilege of such an invitation.

The Maccabees situation is not unlike our situation. And like them, we too as people of faith must resolve our hearts to stand fast and to counter such realities with increased fervor and faithfulness.

Hear the words of Christ from the gospel this morning, "Have sight; your faith has saved you."

Indeed, sight is necessary and faith shall pave the way, lest we fall into darkness. "He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God."

Jesus offers us life and all of its benefits, who needs coupons for death.

Just a quote:

I’d rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who is reaching for a star. I’d rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far; for a might-have-been has never been, but a has was once an are. — Milton Berle

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dice v Scrabble

Wisdom 13:1-9; Ps 19 The heavens proclaim the glory of God; Luke 17:26-37

Listen to the words of the book of wisdom: "All men by nature are foolish who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not know him who is, and from the studying the works did not know the artisan...For if they so far succeeded in knowledge that they could speculate about the world, how did they not more quickly find its Lord"

I have recently been reading a book entitled, "I do not have enough faith to be an atheist." The book's premise is that atheist in order to be atheist actually require more faith than believers. There is more evidence for belief in God by looking and examining the world around us than the reverse.

It is a fascinating read. I don't agree with all of the "logical" conclusions because I think the authors makes some jumps, but the authors make good points. In the book there is this statement from Einstein, "God does not play dice with the universe." Then Philip Gold continues, "Einstein was right, God does not play dice with the universe, rather God plays Scrabble!"

I like scrabble. I like Word with Friends. SO I really enjoy the analogy.
Scrabble requires some intelligence or cleverness. It is not just random. The quote implies that when you look out into the world, we recognize order, design, specific complexity. The simplest life forms consist of such amazing complexity that it is equivalent to 1000 complete sets of Encyclopedia Britannica.

As the first reading tells us, so many have been distracted by the works of God they have missed the one who worked it. The psalmist tells us that the "heavens proclaim the glory of God." SO today, spend some time thinking about the created world. Spend some time looking at the design of it all. Let the heavens tell the story. Let the heavens proclaim the message. Be amazed.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Martin de Tours. At the age 15 he joined the army of the Roman Empire in 4th century. While a soldier he had an encounter with a poor naked beggar who was requesting alms. Martin, having only his sword and his mantle, cut his mantle in half and gave it to the poor naked beggar. THat night he had a dream in which JEsus was the poor naked beggar.

He chose ot leave the military and join the ranks of serving Christ. He told the general that he would "do more with than the sign of the cross to the enemy than with a shield and sword."

He did. At the end of his life as we was facing death, surrounded by his monks who he helped guide and formed, upon their request for him to turn on his back so that he might be more comfortable he responded

"Brothers, rather let me look toward heaven than to earth so that my soul in its journey home may take a direct flight to the Lord."

St. Martin pray for us.

How do we carry the cross in our life? What good do we do with the sign of the cross as soldiers of Christ?

We remember our Veterans today on this 11th day of November. Countless men and women have served our country and the nations of the world in seeking to restore peace and bring about liberation. They have put themselves in harms way. They have put their lives on the line. We stop and pause to remember them, to thank them, to honor them. We ask God to protect those who continually serve.

Today thank a Veteran. Pray for them all that they may heal from the wounds incurred on the battle field. Work for Peace.


Lastly here is a excerpt from a blog I follow. Melanie Ringley had an insight I thought worth sharing. Read if you like. She recently wrote a book about coming back to the church.

"That’s one of the things about people, whether they’re contemplating a return to the Church or conversion, or even if they’re cradle Catholics. Sometimes, we choose to ignore or criticize Church teachings because we don’t like them or think the Church is wrong, outdated, misogynistic, behind the times… in essence, we decide our knowledge is correct and superior to anything we might find in dogma or doctrine. It’s easier to criticize… and either walk away or ignore what’s there, to preserve our life and our views as they are.

It’s harder to research the reason for the Church teachings on birth control or celibacy or purgatory and determine where precisely we disagree. Sometimes, the results may even change our minds, or at least make it easier to submit our will and intellect. Sometimes, we lose our knee-jerk reactions… and gain knowledge. Or, having gained that knowledge, we are all the more capable of engaging in intelligent discussion over knowing God as He is.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

eyes peeled

Wisdom 7:22-8:1; Ps 119 Your word is forever, O lord. Luke 17:20-25

Today we celebrate the memory and life of Pope Leo the Great. Before we get to Leo. Yesterday, Pope Benedict in his wednesday audience gave a reflection on Psalm 119. Since today we incorporate this psalm in our celebration I thought I would leave a snippet of the Pope's reflection:

"And this psalm is wholly pervaded by love for God's Word -- it extols its beauty, its saving power, and its capacity to bestow joy and life. For the divine Law is not a heavy yoke of slavery but a gift of grace that liberates and leads to happiness. "I will delight in thy statues; I will not forget thy word" (Verse 16); and again: "Lead me in the path of thy commandments, for I delight in it" (Verse 35), and yet again: "Oh, how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day" (Verse 97). The Lord's Law, His Word, is the center of the life of the one praying; in it he finds consolation, he makes it the object of his meditation, he keeps it in his heart: "I have laid up thy word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Verse 11), and this is the secret of the psalmist's happiness; and again: "The godless besmear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep thy precepts" (Verse 69).

The psalmist's faithfulness is born of listening to the Word, of keeping it in his inmost heart, of meditating on it and loving it --"

Now back to Leo the Great.

The fame of Leo the Great is centered around the meeting between him and Attila the Hun in 452. Yea, that is correct, Attila the Hun. Attila was for lack of better words a "bad ass" of his time.

Here we have the Pope riding out to meet him to convince him not to continue his war of destruction on Italy. IT worked.
Certainly, Pope Leo the GReat had courage and strength and was willing to defend peace and any cost even it meant putting himself in harms way.

Pope Leo the Great also presided over the Council of Chalcedon which reaffirmed the identity of Christ who in union of his one Person of his two natures, human and divine.

Jesus Christ is true God and true man: the Hypostatic Union. Sounds pretty darn cool if you ask me. Jesus is both Human and Divine which means he brings heaven to earth in the incarnation; it also means Jesus brings earth to heaven when he ascends. Thus, Jesus takes our humanity to heaven when he ascends. THere is one like us in heaven.

Pope Leo the Great also, tried to instill in the faithful the reality that the Christian liturgy is not the memory of past events but the actualization of invisible realities which act in the lives of each one of us. Grace is always present to us at each moment. The past helps us visualize what grace does but it is lived in the present moment.

Hence we have the reading from the book of wisdom, "Wisdom passing into holy souls from age to age, she produces friends of God and prophets. " Grace is always right now and it is ever present everywhere.

The words of the gospel, "the kingdom of God cannot be observed..." The kingdom of God can only be lived. This is the task of grace in our lives. Believe it, love it, live it!

Now we go to the very end of today's gospel, "But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation."
Even here in this cryptic passage there is truth. What is it about the fallen nature of man that rejects perfect goodness? What is it about the fallen nature of man that refuses to receive the offer of grace? Grace is all around us but when it comes in a package we are not ready for, we run from it or we reject out right. There is a diligence required on our part. Daily we must surrender and trust that the hidden and disguised reality of grace is what we need for it is what God offers.

Grace will come and we will know it because it will irritate us and make us uncomfortable.

How many times in our life we have come face to face with God's invitation and like the pharisees and the scribes we reject it because we didn't like it.

Keep you eyes peeled!

Pope Leo the GReat pray for us.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mother Church

I love to go back home. As you drive from the big city setting to the small country town things change. The land becomes quieter and the atmosphere is little more peaceful. The rushed pace of city living surrenders to a slower pace existence of the rural affair.

As you approach my home town, as you maneuver over the rising and falling of the hills, there off in the distance the steeple of the Catholic Church rises high to greet you. The steeple stands tall and towers above casting a shadow upon all who are below.

It is striking and beautiful image. It is a reminder to all that we always live beneath the shadow of the cross. We live, breathe, move and have our being in the shadow of the cross which is the wake of victory.

Every time I spy the rising steeple as it cast it shadow below, as it marks the horizon, I think of Jesus' words to his disciples before he died. He gathers them together to encourage them and he tells them, "do not fear, do not be afraid, I have already conquered the world."

As the steeple rises high it is a public testimony of victory, a public testimony that all who gather beneath the steeple gather to celebrate victory.

It wasn't always this way. The cross wasn't always allowed to be on public display.

For the first 300 years of the early Church, Christianity was a forbidden religion, a forsaken faith. Christians were considered to be enemies of the state, public enemy number one; they were looked upon as criminals, renegades, rebels reeking havoc on the Roman Empire.

They had to gather together in secret places, hidden and out of sight. They would worship in cemeteries at night, or locked behind close doors in someone's home, or underground in the catacombs.

Then something happened.

Around the year 300, a Roman Emperor, who had come from a long line of Roman emperors who made sure that the soil of the empire was fertilized by the blood of Christians, had a conversion.

As the Emperor Constantine was riding out to battle he had a vision. The cross appeared in the sky and he was told 'by this sign you shall conquer.' He marked the armor of his men with the cross and rode out to battle and came back victorious.

In 313 AD, out of gratitude, he declared that Christianity was to be a lawful religion. It could be publicly celebrated.

Over night it seemed the Church went from hiding under ground to standing tall above it. The prayers of faithful that were once spoken in a whisper, hushed behind closed doors was now echoing through the open streets of the empire, resounding through the vaulted ceilings of cathedrals publicly dedicated to Christ our Saviour.

In plain sight, in broad day light, Christians now publicly proclaimed the Good News; they would bend their knees and bow theirs heads in worship, raising their voices in praise for love had conquered fear and light had come into the darkness and the darkness did not over come it.

As they gathered to public worship the words of Jesus flooded their memories, "do not be afraid, I have already conquered the world."

The first church to be publicly dedicated was St. John Lateran, whose dedication we commemorate this day,a church raised on the blood of martyrs.

It is the mother of all churches. It is the Church of the Bishop of Rome. It stands as a sign of unity, as a sign of hope that God's kingdom is at hand, that God's Kingdom will not be denied.

As you approach the Basilica today, towering above the city of Rome is a 7 meter statue of Jesus with a cross in one hand and the other pointing out toward world. He is surrounded by his apostles and he gives them the great commission, "go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, of the Holy Spirit, teaching them all I have commanded you and behold I am with you always until the end of the age.

For 1700 years the steeple has stood tall, it has marked the horizon for all to see, and men and women have walked through the ages beneath the shadow of the cross gathering publicly to celebrate victory in Christ.

We gather today to commemorate this victory. As we gather, we too give the men and women who shed their blood, who share in Christ' victory, honor, not just today but every time we gather publicly.

When we gather, we become that public sign of victory. For like the church, that was dedicated with sacred oil, so too we remember that we ourselves are dedicated a temple at Baptism; as the oil is poured upon our heads we are consecrated and set apart for a mission, to be a public sign of victory in our very lives we live. We remember that just as the steeple marks the horizon, so too our forehead was marked with the sign of the cross at baptism, we were claimed for Christ to be that sign of victory.

As the steeple rises high and reminds us of victory may each of our lives always carry the message forth that the Kingdom of God is at hand, salvation has come, the world is redeemed in Christ's blood; may we hear the words of Christ and may they be our strength, "do not be afraid, I have already conquered the world."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

wisdom 2:23-3:9; Ps 34 I will bless the lord at all times; Luke 17:7-10

"God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made them. But by the envy of the Devil, death entered the world, and they who are in his possession experience it. But the souls of the just are in the hands of God, and no torment shall touch them."

Think of these words for a moment.

The answer to the question, "Why is there death?" is found in these first verse. The envy of the Devil brought death to man.

The Devil did not want man to experience what he himself denied, friendship of God, harmony in grace, fullness of life.

This is what Envy is all about. Envy is when we can't have something we want and we don't want anyone else to have either.

It is a terrible reality to be so closed on oneself that we can no longer rejoice in the goodness of the other. It is a terrible reality when we are so blinded by our own self loathing that the goodness of the other causes us pain and remorse.

Envy! The remedy for envy is the willingness to rejoice in the goodness of the other. To rejoice in another's goodness prepares us to recognize the goodness God has put into our lives.


Notice the reading tells us that those in the devil's possession experience death while those in the hand of God, no torment shall touch them.

It seems that those who die in faith experience death but it is an abridged version of death. We do not experience the death of the faithless. There is something different about dying in faith, held by the hands of God, than dying in faithlessness and being gripped by the hand of Satan.

Even in faith, death is not what it could be. In faith, we already experience the fruits of redemption even as we die for death in faith avails us to the warmth and light of the presence of Christ who has filled death with his presence. Death is no longer cold and cruel for in faith we experience the warmth of Christ who has gone before us.

This is different. THis is the gift of the death of Christ for those who die in faith.

Just something to think about to boost your faith.

Death is waiting but in Christ, it is different.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Wisdom 1:1-7; Ps 139 Guide me, Lord along the everlasting way; Luke 17:1-6

JEsus said to the disciples, "Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin."

IT is said that JEsus is a realist. He always has an eye for reality, the way things are. Perhaps his statement is really an insight into the human condition, "things that cause sin will inevitably occur."

Wrongdoing shall accompany humanity to the end. Things shall invoke and elicit a response of sinfulness.

But, in the cascade of wrongdoing that unfolds, we are not powerless. We do have a say. Just because sin, the turning from God, happens, it does not have to happen because of us.

We must strive each day a new to "do no harm."

Do no harm to ourselves and to others.

Jesus certainly doesn't treat sin lightly nor does he excuse it because it is inevitable, "better to have a millstone put around the neck than to cause one of these little ones to sin."

Yikes! A millstone around the neck is quite a load, quite a weight.

We should all use our power to avoid the near occasion of sin, either in us or in others.

How often have I heard the excuse, "Well, father we are only human." That doesn't fly before the Lord. Notice the Apostles are raised to a new standard of living, Not only should they not cause sin but they must also rebuke it.

"Be on guard! IF your brother sins, rebuke him;"

We have a dutiful obligation to no longer just stand idly by and watch sin unfold. We must speak up, stand up!

JEsus doesn't say that we should take the sin "personal" as so many do and get all caught up in emotion but rather simply be direct, be straight forward, and move on. Rebuke then and if they repent forgive them.

We just have to keep it real.

Perhaps this is why the apostles said, "increase our faith."

It takes faith to rebuke, it takes faith to not take things personal, it takes faith to personally involve ourself in the unfolding of life.

JEsus in today's gospel is inviting us to learn how to live.

Albert Camus, author, said knowing how to live is learning to reconcile vice and virtue.

Rebuke and forgive and thus the circle of life unfolds daily for us and in doing so we keep the millstone off our back.

Friday, November 4, 2011

friend of God

Romans 15:14-21; Ps 98 The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power; Luke 16:1-8

Look at the psalm once again and hold it in your mind: The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

How? How has the Lord revealed his saving power to the nations?

Now, we instantly think of the cross, Christ dying and rising or we think of the miracles in the gospels of Jesus curing the sick, making the blind to see, walking on water, raising the dead.

Or perhaps we think of other miracles, other events that have refused to be bound by the natural laws.

But in reality, we miss the point if that is all we think about and if that is all we look for.

The answer to the question, "How does God reveal his saving power to the nations?" is a simply one.

You and me! We are the vehicles of that saving power. Our words, our actions, our lives knit together reflect the power of God.

Today the Lord will reveal if we let him his saving power through us. What an amazing purpose and calling we have received.

THis is why we celebrate the feast of the saints, like Charles Borromeo.

Their lives reflects something of that saving power we not only what to see and experience but we are invited to be part of each day anew.

This is what it means to be a friend of God.

"Life is no more than the swift passing reflection on the changeless mirror of eternity and men who burn with love of God wear out their mortal sheath before old age dulls their mind and spirit."

Charles Borromeo would often say, "be mindful of others but not forgetful of self."

Know your role. Know what God wants to do with you by the life you lead. Open yourself up to him and let him have his way with you.

Things to remember about Charles Borromeo. He was born in a castle and he lived like a Rock Star. His uncle was the Pope and in those days it meant you had the world at your finger tips.

Then something happened. In the lives of the saints there is always something that happens that turns the light on. He gave up all of his worldly stuff and began to work tirelessly for the sick and dying and poor, as a priest of God.

He got it. He realized that he couldn't wait around for the saving power of God to just happen but rather he allowed God to use him to make his power known, to revealing his saving reality in the world.

What about you and I, today, here and now, as we are, where we are, what we are. OPen you life, your heart, your mind, let God reveal his saving power through you, as a wife, as a mother, as a husband, as a Father, as mechanic, as a farmer, as a rancher, as teacher, as genuine lover.

Go on, be not afraid, your destiny awaits. Be a child of the light.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

that one

Luke 15:1-10

Jesus gives us that beautiful and striking image of the Shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep in order to track down that one that strayed.

How dare he? How dare he abandon the 99 for the sake of that one?

You know which one I am talking about?

That one, who has abused his wife, that one who has drank himself unconscious, that one who now sits in prison with blood stains on his hands, that one who has lied and cheated his way to the top and there he finds himself empty, that one who brings down everyone in the room with their negativity, that one who gossips continually about everyone in the work place, that one who spreads her legs at every Tom, Charlie that comes her way, that one who is a womanizer and cheat, that one who is a home wrecker, that one who can't seem to put food on the table and clothed her chidlren but she finds time to be at the bar each night, that one...yeah, you know which one I am talking about, that one that is lot like you and I,

that one who is lost, and ridiculed, and made fun of, that one who is the butt of jokes, that one who every one turns away when they walk by, that one who can't seem to find a listening ear, that one.

Be on the look out for that one!

"What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?"

"I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repenatnce."

Have you made heaven rejoice yet? Have you?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Faithful departed

Wisdom 3:1-9; Ps 23 The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothign I shall want.Though I walk in the valley of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me. Romans 5:5-11; John 6:37-40

Today we celebrate the Feast of all Souls. Yesterday we raised our eyes heavenward to recognize the saints in light in doing so we also became face to face with the reality that we are created for glory. The Church Triumphant stood before us singing the heavenly chorus: holy, holy, holy Lord God of Host.

Today we turn our gaze to the not yet reality, to all those who are on their way, who are experiencing the purification of God's love for them as their own selfishness is slowly removed and thus they are made ready for glory.

The Church Suffering, and suffering here is not to be understood as soley punishment but rather the pain of letting go, the pain of union, the pain of full surrender of self so as to be conformed to the image of Christ, as gold is refined in fire, so too the soul is purified.

We as the Church Militant unite our prayers for those on the way.

Here we are reminded of the beauty of the communion of saints. The merits and prayers of one can help all, thus no one is insignificant in the eyes of God. All have value, all are valuable.

We give what we can as we pray for the faithful departed and we trust that our prayers are effcetive and aid the souls on their journey to join the saints in light.

Today as we pray for the dead, the faithful departed, we live out the need for charity and justice in a concrete way.

Today also teaches us about the consequences of sin. It reminds us that true love remains not just and ideal but a reality by which we strive.

Surely, those who have dragged their feet in selfishness, though professing their faith in Christ, must be purged and made ready. Surley, justice demands this and charity makes it a reality lest we make a mockery of the heavenly banquet.

We all must wash our hands before we eat becasue of the dirt that had gathered beneath our fingernails.

So too the soul must be made ready. Think of all the wounds and filth and dirt our soul gathers through our life. What do we do with this? How do we accoutn for this?

Thus arises the teaching of purgatory. The Lord gives us the possibility of being made ready by his charity to us on the cross. Purgatory reveals the power of crucified love.

It is this crucified love that the souls of the faithful departed must pass through on its way to the fullness of glory.

And we here and now assist them with our offerings, our prayers. Christ has made our prayers significant for others, let us not waste the gift we have received.

Listen to the words of Jesus in the gospel today: "Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me...this is the will of my Father, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but I should raise it on the last day."

The golden rule applies for us. Let us do unto others as we want them to do to us. We pray for the faithful departed so that when they arirve their celebration in heaven will assist us on the journey as well. Reciprocity is part of the communion of Saints; They hope is us and we hope in them and together we find hope in Christ.

Here is a article on all souls and indulgences

Eternal rest grant unto to the O' Lord.

Let perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in Peace. AMen.

May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. AMen

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

And all the rest

Revelation 7:2-4,9-14; Ps 24 Lord this is the people who long to see your face; 1 John 3:1-3; Mt 5:1-12

Today we celebrate this Holy Day of Obligation.
Before we get into the actual day of celebration, All Saints Day, I thought I might reflect on the difference between a Holy Day and a Holiday.

These are the two realites we celebrate throughout lives, and sometimes they are the same reality, sometimes a Holy Day is a Holiday but seldom do we treat holidays as holy days.

Nonetheless here we go.

Frist, a Holiday is man made. It is the day we give to ourselves as we look on our history such as july 4th, labor day, Columbus day etc. We look to our human accomplishments and success or progress.

A Holy Day is not made but received. It is the CHurch's gift to us. It does not depend on what we have done; it does not depend on us at all; it is offered to us.

A Holiday is a break from the routine of work and the routine of living.

A Holy Day is not a break from something but rather a pause by which we are invited to take a step back and to recognize the living God who wants to breakforth into our lives and fill this routine with his presence, daily.

Thus a Holy Day reminds us that Time is not just measured by the 40 hour work week, by the movement of the stars and suns and planets that revolve; time is not just about theearth spinning or the seasons changes but rather time is a gift form the maker of the universe, the one who creates time, and sustaisn us in time.

Each Holy Day brings us face to face with the beauty that is awakened by Faith.

It is faith that gathers us on these days. Faith that unites us even in our differences. It is faith that build our community and reminds us as we gather that we do not stand alone.

In fact as we celebrate All Saints Day we remind ourselves of all those who have travelled before us on the path we seek to travel now.

We look to all those who have gone before us, those who have our back.

This is not just a caste of a chosen few but a "great multitude, too numerous too count" according to the first reading.

these are the named and unamed who have left us a pattern by which we are to pattern our lives.

Saints do not need our honor. Our celebration does not affect them but it does affect us. In honoring them we are inspired, encouraged and given a boost for the journey.

As we turn our gaze heaven ward we find a litle extra pep in our step as march to the rhythm of eternity with the saints in light. We want to do as they did so we might be where they are.

They awaken us a desire to be like them, simply Happy to be near God.

The saints invite us to never settle for second best. they invite us to run the race of faith as to win the prize.

The recipe for succes is simple. Primarily is is being oen to the action of grace in our life. We are invited to Lsiten to JEsus, Follow Jesus, and never lose heart as we journey toward Jesus. Then we simply repeat the process.

Oh! One last thing. Rejoice and be Glad for your reward will be great in heaven!

Mother Church welcomes us all to this family reunion where no one is left behind. We recognize those who are named but more importantly those who are not, these are All the rest.

May we strive to be with them and be counted among those "too numerous too count."

Wednesday audience on Tuesday's feast

Words from Pope Benedict on being saints

"God wants your friendship. And once you enter into friendship with God, everything in your life begins to change. As you come to know him better, you find you want to reflect something of his infinite goodness in your own life.

You are attracted to the practice of virtue. You begin to see greed and selfishness and all the other sins for what they really are, destructive and dangerous tendencies that cause deep suffering and do great damage, and you want to avoid falling into that trap yourselves. You begin to feel compassion for people in difficulties and you are eager to do something to help them. You want to come to the aid of the poor and the hungry, you want to comfort the sorrowful, you want to be kind and generous. And once these things begin to matter to you, you are well on the way to becoming saints.

When I invite you to become saints, I am asking you not to be content with second best.

I am asking you not to pursue one limited goal and ignore all the others. Having money makes it possible to be generous and to do good in the world, but on its own, it is not enough to make us happy. Being highly skilled in some activity or profession is good, but it will not satisfy us unless we aim for something greater still. It might make us famous, but it will not make us happy.

Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look for it in the wrong places. The key to it is very simple – true happiness is to be found in God.

We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts."