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Monday, March 19, 2007

Growing a little weary...

...of blogger.

So, I am laying the foundation for moving out. I've notified the Super that the hotwater heater has scalded me for the last time. That I'm packing up and moving on!

Actually, the Super could care less.

Blogger (and blogspot) are just fine, for what they are. I've enjoyed it here. And, this will stay around for a while longer.

But, I'm wanting to take things in a different direction.


I just started. It will take a while to gather my things and move. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

SOC 2: Jesus Carries His Cross

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Jesus said " If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me."

Lord Jesus, you humbled yourself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Help us to love your cross, and accept the crosses you ask us to carry for love of you.

Jesus was led away,
and carrying the Cross by himself,
went out to what is called
the Place of the Skull, Golgotha.

You were led to Calvary, Lord,
carrying the cross by yourself.
Yet was the cross only yours,
or was it also mine you bore?
By your holy cross, O Jesus,
make me strong and able
to take up the cross I must bear.

Lord, You showed a ready obedience in taking up your cross. I often forget that it takes strength to obey, not weakness. Forgive my disobedience. Since all lawful authority comes from God, I am really obeying you out of love.
Christ willingly took the cross upon himself. He asked first, to be sure there wasn't another way. But he submitted to God.

In our lives, when we ask if there isn't another way, do we really hear God's answer, or do we allow our own answer to interfere? Beyond just accepting and bearing our own crosses, we should draw from Christ the ability to hear God's answer; to live in His Will without allowing our inner voice to out-shout Him.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A bit of a diversion

This isn't Lenten, per se. But I'm posting it anyway:


When you think about how much we have to be grateful for, it is hard to believe how quickly we become like the “stiff-necked” people that Moses led through the desert. They experienced the plagues brought down on Egypt, they saw the deaths of the non-Israelite first-born, they walked through the parted sea on dry land, and they were given manna from heaven and water from a rock, yet after every miracle - almost immediately -they turned to God and said, “What have you done for me lately?”

Sometimes when we worry and fret about our finances – both our personal finances, and the financial stability of our spiritual home – we sound very much like the Israelites. We focus on the negative, the short-falls, and the areas we want to be better.

Some of us forget the Egypt we came from; failing to recognize the many blessings God has given us. We insist on measuring our material success not against our legitimate need, but against some preconceived notion of what more we need (or want) and comparing ourselves to someone else who we perceive to have “more stuff.”

In my own life, it can be easy to do this. I forget that I lived in a small, rented house, with a single mother who struggled to make ends meet. I forget that I started working at 16 because if I was going to drive, I had to pay my own insurance and gas, and I would be responsible for the bulk of my college education. I forget that for the first six months we were married, Cami and I lived off of less than what we make now in one month, or that we shared one car for several years until we were on our feet.

You would think I would recognize our blessings now that we have two cars, a three-bedroom house in a nice neighborhood, and we eat rice or Raman noodles rarely, and only because we want to. But it isn’t hard to allow the wandering Israelite inside of me to come peeking through; to look across the street at the bigger house, or the nicer car and say, “God, what have you done for me lately!?!”

It is the same in our parish. We have talked a lot recently about the financial needs of the parish. Let me say that those needs are very real, and it is a legitimate topic of discussion for us to have as a community of believers who will only reach our potential as we respond more fully to the Will of God. “Of whom much is given, much is expected.”

But, while we are working to improve our parish – both fiscally and spiritually – it remains important to keep the many blessings we have in mind, and to genuinely praise God for those gifts he has given us. Or, in the words of the Bing Crosby song, “We need to, accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative…”

We do have a beautiful facility, and we have many people – both paid staff and unpaid laborers – who work diligently to maintain the physical spaces we know as St. Joan of Arc Parish. We have so many opportunities to enrich our faith, and many individuals who serve as teachers, encouragers, hosts, and facilitators. The educational and faith formation opportunities extend from the smallest of our children, through our most seasoned elders. We are given many wonderful chances to have fun, make new friends, strengthen old relationships, and broaden our social horizons through the various social events of the parish. We offer emotional and spiritual support to our members in all stages of life. We are each given many chances to invest our time, our talent, and our monetary resources back into this Spiritual Home, and we have many individuals who – on a regular basis and in often-extraordinary ways – return the gifts God has given them. Most importantly, we have the opportunity daily to meet Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and to receive God’s grace through the sacraments of His Church.

These are important things to remember as we approach the Lord in prayer. We must each make an effort to express our gratitude to God for these gifts. He has so richly blessed us.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

SOC 1: Jesus Condemned to Death

The First Station – Jesus is Condemned to Death

Pilate said to him: “So you are a king?” Jesus answered: “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said, in answer: “What is truth?” At this point the Roman Procurator saw no need for further questions. He went to the Jews and told them: “I find no crime in him.”

The tragedy of Pilate is hidden in the question: what is truth? This was no philosophical question about the nature of truth, but an existential question about his own relationship with truth. It was an attempt to escape from the voice of conscience, which was pressing him to acknowledge the truth and follow it. When someone refuses to be guided by truth, he is ultimately ready even to condemn an innocent person to death.

The accusers sense this weakness in Pilate and so do not yield. They relentlessly call for death by crucifixion...When [he] brings Jesus, scourged and crowned with thorns, before the crowd, he seems to be looking for words, which he thinks might soften the intransigence of the mob. [Maybe if they see Jesus as a man, they will relent in their obstinate insistence on crucifixion.]

Pointing to Jesus he says, Ecce homo! Behold the man! But the answer comes back, “Crucify him!”

[Pilate] is increasingly convinced that the accused is innocent, but this is not enough for him to decide in his favor.

Thus was Jesus, the Son of the living God, the Redeemer of the world, condemned to death by crucifixion. Over the centuries, the denial of truth has spawned suffering and death. It is the innocent who pay the price of human hypocrisy. Half measures are never enough. Nor is it enough to wash one's hands. Responsibility for the blood of the just remains. This is why Christ prayed so fervently for his disciples in every age: Father, “sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”

From John Paul II's Way of the Cross

Lord Jesus Christ,
you accepted an unjust judgment.
Grant to us
and to all the men and women of our time
the grace to remain faithful to the truth.
Do not allow the weight of responsibility
for the sufferings of the innocent
to fall upon us and upon those who come after us
To you, O Jesus, just Judge,
be honor and glory forever and ever.



We adore thee, O Christ, and praise thee;
Because by thy holy cross thou hast redeemed the world;

Lord Jesus, crucified!
Have mercy on us!

For the sake of your sorrowful passion,
have mercy on us, and on the whole world.


Jesus is all alone. Far off now are the days when the words of the Man-God brought light and hope to men's hears, those long processions of sick people whom he healed, the triumphant acclaim of Jerusalem when the Lord arrived, riding on a gentle donkey...Lord, where are your friends? Your subjects, where are they? They have left you. This running away has been going on for twenty centuries...We, all of us, flee from the Cross, from your Holy Cross. Blood, anguish, loneliness, and an insatiable hunger for souls...these are the courtiers around your royal throne.

From The Way of the Cross, Josemaria Escriva


And they will ask him: what are those wounds that you bear in your hands? And he will reply: I received them in the house of those who love me. (Zach 13:6)