Discernment

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Posted by on in Pilgrim's Passages

b2ap3_thumbnail_st.meinrad-church.jpgQuiet. Serene. Peace.  Those were the thoughts I experienced after attending Mass this morning with the monks from St. Meinrad in the deep hearth of southern Indiana.  I'm here for a couple of days on a retreat for pastoral musicians.  The church itself is an amazing structure of brick, plaster, marble and tile.  But what makes it truly "church" for me was worshiping with the monks and other guests at daily Mass. Chanting the psalm response and acclamations, centering myself to receive Christ.  The gospel talked about a mustard seed, about how something so small and so insignificant could grow into something greater than most plants.  

That is God's plan for all of us.  To be extraordinary in our ordinary life.  To engage in our own sacred space and experience Christ.  To be the living church in the world.  But in doing so, we need to cultivate our own mustard seed, giving it its own sacred space to grow, to be nurtured... to thrive...to live.

How is your sacred space?  How is your mustard seed growing?

Posted by on in Pilgrim's Passages

“Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.”  Happy Feast Day St. Thomas Aquinas!

Posted by on in Pilgrim's Passages

Often I think of how fast I see the Christmas decorations come up during Thanksgiving or right after “the big game” and I think to myself, “Wow, that was quick!”.  But this year, I was quite bothered in the fact that right after Halloween, I saw Christmas decorations up! Yes, right after the Gorilla mask or the Sponge Bob costume went back into storage, out came the wreaths, the holly, the ivy, the Rudolph, the Frosty, the lights and tinsel and many other “Christmas” things.  I was quite dismayed because, you see, I’m a big proponent of Advent and of having those weeks to prepare myself to celebrate the birth of Christ.  In scripture, we are often reminded to “be ready” (Matthew 3:1-12) for we know not when the master will call us home.  And yet, we are so filled with anxiety and anticipation of “the ultimate gift” that we steamroll past Advent right into Christmas and forget any of the preparation that is so important to our spiritual lives.

So this year, I’m asking all of you to take the time and use this Advent Season of only 25 days to truly reflect on your journey with Christ.  Are you making time for Him?  Are you calling out to Him?  Are you being silent and allowing Him to speak to you?  Or are you telling Him, “Well, the Bears play in 15 minutes, after that I’ll say a prayer or two…”  If all we want for Christmas are two front seats to see the Lion King on Broadway… then we’ve missed the boat.

Use this time of Maranatha to prepare your hearts for the Christ Child- to bask in the season of Advent and to watch and pray (Matthew 3:12).  To silently reflect if you are on the same page as our Savior, and if you’re not, using the time to reconcile with Him and get back on track.  And don’t feel guilty, it’s not about “doin’ Advent time”, it’s about offering, about giving a bit of yourself and getting much back in return.

And remember… Christ will come into this world regardless or not if we are ready.  Christmas will be here before we know it.  But before we open that present we’ve been shaking for two weeks, before we sing “Over the river the through the woods…”, before we even make that return trip to Walmart to return the bright pink and purple tie we received from Aunt Edna, let’s take the time to render our hearts unto the Lord.

Think about it, pray about it, and then just do it. 

Prepare ye the way of the Lord (Isaiah 40:3-5)

Christmas comes but once a year, but Advent also does as well.

Posted by on in Pilgrim's Passages

All too often we get caught up in the “Oh, Woe is me!” syndrome where we think we’ve have been dealt a “bad hand” in this life of ours.  All the failures, the frustrations, the “downers” of the day, week month culminate in an exasperated sigh as we try to make sense of it all.  Why is this happening?  What have I done to deserve this? Why, why, why me!

And yet the Master calls us and comforts us.  He motions to us and then wraps His arms of grace and mercy around us.

He speaks: 

” My child, I love you and will always love you”.  I will not give you anything more than you can handle.  But handle it with me, as I am always ready to guide, to direct, orient you in my ways.  Celebrate your life and know that you are blessed beyond measure”.

In those times of frustration, I feel a calming sense in knowing that I have been blessed with many good things.  A wonderful and awesome wife and four incredible kids, all of which who love me regardless of how many times I ask them to clean their rooms, mow the lawn, do their homework before attacking the next adventure on the X-box or 3-3 basketball game outside.  I am blessed with a great extended family of which I truly call my mother and father-in-law “mom” and “dad” respectively.  I have been given many opportunities to preach the Gospel through music and that ministry has continued to uplift and deepen my spiritual growth.  I celebrate today as another day that God given me to His light bearer, kingdom builder, and Emmaus traveler.

I have come that you may have life and live it abundantly (John 10:10).  There’s a lot expected of us in this world by our Savior, and yet He tells us in John, that if we truly trust Him, and count on Him, he will bless us and give us an abundance- we just got to believe it!

This week, say a quick prayer to God and thank Him for the many blessings He’s given you.  And don’t despair or get caught up in the “woe factor”- the best is yet to come!

SEEK.  TRUST.  KNOCK.  CELEBRATE.

Have a great week!

God bless you and your journey.

Tony

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