The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Persecution of the Church - the Body of Christ ...

…the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from external enemies, but is born of sin within the Church.”


And we are witnessing this today. Read more about problems in the contemporary Church in the article of Mark Mellett ...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Touching story of faithfulness ...

ROME - Since his owner died two months ago, Tommy the dog has not missed a single mass in the small church in southern Italy where his mistress's funeral was held, Italian media said Wednesday.

When the bells of the Santa Maria Assunta church begin to toll each afternoon in San Donaci near Brindisi , the 12-year-old German

Shepherd sets off from the village to get himself a front row seat next to the altar, Il Messaggero newspaper said.

His owner, who was known in local dialect as "Maria tu lu campu" -- "Maria of the fields" -- had lived alone with Tommy and three other rescue dogs, who used to follow her faithfully on her daily rounds and have now been adopted by the village.

After following his mistress's coffin up to the church on the day of her funeral, Tommy has returned daily, sitting quietly throughout masses, baptisms and funerals, according to local priest Donato Panna, who now wouldn't do without him.

How many of us can do this ? :-)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I Sunday of Lent - C

Years ago the explorer, Richard Byrd, spent the winter alone at the South Pole. For almost 5 months he lived in total darkness, buried beneath the snow in a tiny room. The temperature in that room often dipped to 50 degrees below zero. Three times a day, Byrd climbed the stairs to the roof of his shelter, opened a trapdoor, pushed away the snow, and went out into the cold and darkness to record weather information.

Why did Byrd choose to live by himself during these months of total darkness? He answered that question in his book Alone where he says he did it because he wanted to get away from everything. He wanted to do some serious thinking. He writes: “And so it occurred to me . . . that here was the opportunity. . . . I should be able to live exactly as I chose, obedient to no necessities but those imposed by the wind and night and cold, and to no man’s law but my own.’’ After the first month of solitude, Byrd discovered something “good’’ happening. He discovered that you can live much more deeply and profoundly if you keep life simple and don’t clutter it with a lot of material things. Byrd emerged from his room a changed man. He ends his book with these words: “All this happened four years ago. Civilization has not altered my ideas. I live more simply now, and with more peace.”

We sometimes need to retire and go off into a desert to re-think our life and the forces present in it. We need to hide ourselves in a solitary place; we need to create a desert in our lives so to be able to think carefully about the demoniac forces and powers which try to terrorize our lives. And they are many.
There are the 7 capital sins or vices: pride, avarice, lust, gluttony, envy, anger, laziness.

1 - There is the temptation of the body which is famished and hungry, starving and lacking something, but not always necessarily food. The temptation of the body tries to dominate my life and tyrannize it. There is lust, the desire for any pleasure and not only what is sexual in nature. There is gluttony and laziness (a capital sin) – the bodily tyrants of our lives.
2 - The temptation of greed and materialism, the temptation of wanting to make more money, to possess more, and to have to be rich are all around us, these lead us to avarice and envy.
3 - And then there is the biggest temptation of all: pride - with our conceit, vanity and arrogance, the desire for power, the desire to dominate, and the arrogance of supremacy.

These forces are dominant in our contemporary society; these three temptations are present in the whole of our lives. Jesus had three proposals against these demoniac forces .... the three evangelical virtues:

1 - the virtue of chastity to counter the domination of the body - His answer: “one does not live by bread alone” – you are not only a carnal being, you are a spiritual being as well
2 - the virtue of poverty against the domination of money - His answer: “worship only the Lord your God” and not money, not material possessions
3 - the virtue of obedience to answer the domination of pride - His answer: “do not put the Lord your God to the test”. The obedience to the reason and not to the famished body, obedience to the conscience and not to the money, obedience to God and not human caprices.

These three “temptations” are dangerous because they reduce other people--- and even the material world--- to things that can be used purely for my personal gain. They are dangerous because they create a world and a society in which everyone has to compete to get as much for themselves as they can.
In such a rat race, a minority corners to itself a disproportionate amount of the world's goods while the majority is left without what they need.

Above all, living this kind of life are dangerous because they can create the prevailing creed of the society in which we live. They believe that undiluted happiness comes with winning millions in the lottery. They believe that the ownership of what they have acquired is absolute. But there is no absolute ownership of anything.
When we think of temptations, we tend to think of sexual sins, telling lies, losing our tempers, gossiping about people's real or imagined faults, getting angry, feeling resentment and the like.

But the really dangerous temptations are:
- to want material wealth for its own sake (the ability to turn anything into money ['bread']),
- to want status (everyone looking up to me),
- and power (manipulating people and things for my own ends), things which are seen as going with wealth, power and status.

Three key areas​Rather than just seeing them as three consecutive temptations happening almost simultaneously at a particular moment, we should perhaps see them as three key areas where Jesus was tempted to compromise his mission during the whole of his public life. They were not just passing temptations of the moment, but temptations with which he was beset all throughout his public life.

Some real examples of these temptations can be found in the Gospel accounts:
- The Pharisees asked Jesus "to perform a miracle to show that God approved of him" (Mark 8:11).
- "Save yourself if you are God's Son! Come down from the cross!" (Matthew 27:40).
- After feeding 5,000 hungry people with an abundance of food, "the people there said, 'Surely this is the Prophet who was to come into the world!' Jesus knew that they were about to come and seize him in order to make him king by force; so he went off again to the hills by himself" (John 6:14-15).

Clearly, in varying forms, these temptations of Jesus can come into our lives too. They are certainly coming. What will my response be to them?

Friday, February 15, 2013

2 Timothy 4:1-5

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?(Luke 18:8)

…in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel… The real problem at this moment of our history is that God is disappearing from the human horizon, and, with the dimming of the light which comes from God, humanity is losing its bearings, with increasingly evident destructive effects.

Leading men and women to God, to the God who speaks in the Bible and bringing God to men and women: this is the supreme and fundamental priority of the Church and of the Successor of Peter at the present time.

—Letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to All the Bishops of the World, March 10, 2009

First Sunday of Lent ...

You have a vision of the desert it is hot the sun is beating down, you see an oasis or a mirage . This desert is not friendly reptiles are hunting, it is cold at night.
It is in this desert that Jesus encounters the devil.

In the final settlement of His encounter Jesus says to Satan, "Go out Satan!"

In this example, Jesus proves to us that we can be successful in our fight with the devil with God's help this fighting will be a triumph.

When we analyse the Holy Bible we learn that when God brings the people out from the desert, He is preparing them for this special task.Why?

Because this is the chance to hear His voice. When Jesus goes out to the desert to better hear His Father, we go as well.
But do not forget to leave at home your cell phones, computers, and other accessories.
We have a beautiful view in the desert, but where is God?
We must wait, take a nap and in this moment it will be good. But, where IS God?Where IS He?
I start to experience strange feelings. I feel that behind me is somebody who is breathing down my neck and it is NOT God. Suddenly, I hear the question?
If you are the Son of God, why do you not have better luck in your life?

Why graduate from school? There is no guarantee that you will have a good job or salary.
Why are most people around the world hungry?
Is it not a fact that you can "live on bread alone?"
Are you the Son of God?
Why do you not have certainity that He wishes you all the best in life?
Is He your reliable and trustworthy friend?
In that every step of yours is like a step of stabilty and safety even though you and your close associates do not know what tomorrow holds.
Why does He try YOUR friendship, why do you not try HIS friendship?

Are you the Son of God?
Why help and serve other people? It is demanding of oneself.
Why do only a few people see your goodness or good works?
Why do you not have the right to retribution for your goodness or good works?
Is everything that you are doing of no concern?

Now I must sustain the present temptation in my life the result of my presence
in the desert.
Show me that I can experience God or the devil so I can have knowledge of my weaknesses.
Thanks to this experience (in the desert) I have time to choose.

Sometimes it is worth it, to go to the DESERT of my life to notice the temptations which are surrounding me because then with the help from the ONE who shows me how to fight, I WILL defeat the devil.
Fr. Thomas

Ash Wednesday ...

"Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return"

We will hear these exact words from the priest as he places the sign of the cross on our forehead with the ashes.
In this moment, the words are very serious, very solemn. However,as we hear in St. Pauls' words, "see now is the acceptable time, see now is the day of salvation", these words are encouraging.

Today is the day in our lives when we can say these are acceptable times for us to change ourselves for the better.

We must not only think of Jesus' suffering and death and our own death, but we must focus on Jesus on the cross, and His message.

This time of lent is not just a time to rid ourselves of our sins but rather a time to build a relationship with Jesus.
This why the prophet Joel says to "rend your heart not your clothing".
Clothing is our sins, and our heart is the mirror of our soul.

We are not just a body we have a spirit and, today when we are called to do penance and to renew our love to God we must see how our soul looks.

Is this not a fact, that our life dictates to our soul?

The less time we have for God in our life, as St. Paul says, "the less time we have to be reconciled to Him".
When we reconcile we are open to God's love to God's will.

The moment the symbol of the cross and ashes is placed on our foreheads, we begin the time of alms giving, prayer and fasting. This means it is time to do work in ourselves, as we call to Jesus "Help us in this time of lent bring us closer to You, our families,and to each other in our Holy Family Community".

I wish for you and myself, that after this lenten season our sins and our weaknesses will be the dust, and all the good we do will be the stability on our road to heaven. The stability of the road is like a cross, the sure way to a better life on earth and in eternity (heaven).

Fr. Thomas

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

humble resignation ....

I cannot sleep tonight ... I am too much excited by the shocking decision of the Pope Benedict.

One of many thoughts coming tonight:

The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is only a beginning of the Calvary of the Church. The Church, the Mystical Body of Christ was founded by Christ Himself on the Cross. The Renewal of the Church, wounded so strongly by liberals and perversities of some priests, bishops and even cardinals ... must come through the suffering, persecutions and purifications. Only those who love the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ in an unconditional way, will be able to go through the persecution.

The chaff must be sifted ... And this is the only one way of sifting. The chaff and rubbish can not resist the persecution and will be sifted in the hour of Ultimate Truth. Come Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth, Spirit of Power, Spirit of Consolation and Spirit of Courage. Come Holy Spirit and renew the Face of the Church of Christ deformed so much by human perversities and sins. Amen ....

Saturday, February 09, 2013

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time - C

Peter, and some of the apostles, were trying to catch fish all night, but their efforts produced no results. Then, Jesus appeared and everything changed.

Is this not the case in our own life when we try but our effort alone is not enough? Because,first of all, we must ask for God's help. Of course . Without God's help, or intervention our bigger efforts will produce no results.

The close associates of Christ did nothing, but they wanted something.

Of course, this does not mean that we should just wait for God's help and sit patiently waiting for His intervention.

Today's gospel shows us these truths:

First, we must be truthful. Christ loves us as we are. He knows the truth about us and our weaknesses. Let us be open for God's action in us.

Second, we must have perserverance. We can never be resigned or give up.
Sometimes we imagine that God's tasks are beyond our capabilities. It is then that our work is not effective.

Third, we must be mindful or obedient like a Christian. An obedient Christian is to have trust in God.

We must relinguish or abandon our agenda and have faith that God has a better idea or vision for our life.

Simon and his companions, after a successful catch, abandoned their nets full of fish and went and followed Jesus.
It was the first step toward the unknown but they had everything they needed.
They left everything behind and they were obedient to christ.

How many times have we lost OUR sense of direction?

How many times have we felt God is "kidding us" or is "pulling our leg" for not realizing OUR plans.?

How did you feel then? ..

After our emotions settle we start to see another direction or purpose a better direction we see Gods direction a higher purpose.

Because when we have lost everything we can profit more we profit with just God. .
Fr. Thomas