Saturday, January 24, 2009


We live in a world of opposites. If there were no opposites, we would never be able to understand relationships. Would there be only good? Would there be only hot? Would there be only light? Our God has distinguished opposites to help us live find eternal life where we can experience the positive aspects of all that is.Can I truly appreciate a warm summer day if I did not have to experience the frigid winter? Could I ever really appreciate good health, if I had not suffered the pain of a herniated disk in my back? And could I ever completely appreciate the unconditional love and light of God had I not left His light and wandered in the depths of darkness and dispair?

Most certainly there is darkness in the world. That old addage of misery loves company applies to the darkness. Those who reside in the darkness I doubt like it, but they cannot see the way out and they do not want the loneliness of they will try to pull anyone they can into the darkness with them.

Think of being trapped in a dark cellar with no electricity. Someone upstairs discovers that you are down they and opens the door and you can see that there is electricity and light upstairs, so you walk toward the light, hoping to escape the darkness. Unfortunately there is no light switch for the basement, so you must stumble and you fall many times as you do not have enough light to escape. You fall so often that you tire out and get frustrated. You cry out that you want to give up trying! So, the person from upstairs gets a flashlight and comes down to rescue you.

From that crude analogy, I would suggest that if the person upstairs has no flashlight or avery weak flashlight as he tries to go down and rescue you, he might easily stumble and fall himself and be in te same predicament as you. But, if the person upstairs is wise he will be prepared and come to rescue you with a strong flashlight and guid you to the safety of the lighted upstairs.

My point in all of this is that if we are to combat the darkness and not fall into the pit is to prepare ourselves if we are to bring others to the light. If we don't have a flashlight (faith and love) that is strong enough, we cannot help another who has no light (faith and love) at all. We do need the Church, because the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, gave the Church that light to pass on to all of us. We need to strenghten and prepare ourselves in and through the Church if we are to be Christ for our world.

As we conclude a week that saw a change of power in the White House, a wonderful March for Life on Washington, D.C., and still so much darkness throught the world, let us let's us be about the task of strenghtening our light through our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Preach It!

I have been studying the Order of Preachers (a.k.a. Dominicans) for a while. At first, I had difficulty warming up to them. One of their primary charisms is preaching. This seemed too intellectual and not spiritual enough for me. But, the more I studied them, the more I came to appreciate them and love the order. My problem was that I failed to understand the real depth of preaching! And I must confess that it was a failure I had when I left the Catholic Church and briefly became a Protestant pastor. I needed to expand my understanding of "preaching" to include both the verbal and non-verbal aspects of it.

There is a tremendous amount of deep spirituality involved in true preaching of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. It is meant to be for all Christians of every walk of life. Preaching must include how we preach with our lives. By that I mean we must express the gospel message of God's love for us through our daily living. Too often we can miss opportunities to share our faith with others by forgetting the object of our love and faith--God! How often have we maybe done the opposite and taught people that God is not real or with us?

Most people are very observant when it comes to how we react under many kinds of situations. If they know we are Christian, we are especially scrutinized. "Oh look! And that person says they are a Christian, but look how she/he acts!" When we are put into situations that are stressful or require us to be dilligent, fair, just, or compassionate, how do we respond? Do we just jump in and do what is expected, and if it gets too frustrating, do we pack it in and quit?

Do we pray about the situation and ask God to become a part of all of our actions? This requires lots of practice! Many of us do not initially think about God as we are confronted with a situation. Many of us wait until we are in REAL deep before we ask God for help. Usually, we have already become frustrated and ranted and cursed and created a scene that is anything but a gospel message. But, if we turn to God in all parts of our life and we pray to God and ask God to be in our lives, we can become a preaching moment for anyone who is having trouble with their own faith life.

Their is a very deep spirituality in this kind of preaching, and it is available to anyone who would simply include God and prayer in their lives throughout the day. For a returning Catholic like me, the Order of preachers has taught me a valuable lesson for my faith and how I live it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back in Action!

Sorry for the prolonged absence, but I have had a busy last few weeks. I hope everyone has had a blessed Christmas season. Epiphany has just past. Epiphany is my favorite day. Well, it's my birthday, too so I can always remember it. but there is more to Epiphany than my birthday. Epiphany has always been explained to me as the "Ah-Ha! moment" It is that realization that God is indeed among us. A saviour is born to us and it is Chrst, the Lord. For a returning Catholic, I have received several epiphanies over the past few years. The greatest is that I came to realize that the Catholic Church does, in fact, contain a richness of spirituality provided through the grace of God in Christ, Jesus.

Once back in the Church, my priest invited me to take my tim and get to know the Church again. There is such a tendency to want to jump in and experience everything that the Church has to offer all at once. Now, I don't know about you, but I want everything like yesterday. I am sure that I missed out on a lot in life simply because I wanted to rush to experience all that I could as quickly as I could. The advice from the priest was sound. In fact, it was because of his advice that I did some soul searching and discovered my need to find balance and simpicity in my life. And this is where the richness of the Church's spirituality came to the rescue for me!

I knew I needed balance and simplicity and, of course, God. With this in mind I began a quest within the confines of my Catholic faith. Sure enough, there was group that could support, encourage and help me in my quest. There were several possibilities and my struggle was in finding just the right fit. All of the groups I looked at were Catholic and were approved by the magisterium, but it is helpful to have the group that allows you to grow spiritually and have those epiphanies of God that help us develop a relationship with God.

For me, the Benedictine's have a lay group called oblates. This group has helped me to experience a structured way to live so that I could slow down my pace, seek God and simplify my life so that I could hear that still small voice that is God. There are many associations, teritery orders and groups within the Catholic Church that can accommodate many and varied interests.

The beauty of my life now is that I can relax in God. I know I am not perfect and I know that God is aware of this fact! But, now I have a place within my Catholic faith to slowly begin to reorganize myself. I would encourage you to explore the Catholic Church and all of its associations, religious orders, lay orders and organizations. See if there isn't something that you would fit your spiritual needs.

God Bless! Pax!