Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Just in time for Advent...

Ok, I found my motivation and I've overcome a slight case of writer's block.  Regular postings returning soon.

In the meantime, check out this awesome website: http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Short Video on the Mass

3 minutes... time well spent!

RCIA Week 2

Last night we talked about Faith, Reason and had a brief introduction to Grace.

Here's a link to more information on the movie trilogy, "The Matrix". Again, I highly recommend watching all three of these movies!

-Our faith is not in Creeds(strictly speaking, the actual creeds), but in God, a person, His Son, Jesus Christ. (Kreeft)
-Faith is an act of the will; it involves the whole human person: will, intellect and feelings.
-Faith and reason are not contradictory.  Our intellect, our reason, when ordered properly, can take us closer to God, not further from Him.
-From the CCC, Grace is divine favor; the free and undeserved help from God. It helps us to respond to God's invitation to become his Adopted sons and daughters (CCC).
-Grace is also the participation in the Divine Life. Remember the metaphor of the field covered in fog.

Next week: God the Father, the Triune God. Man made in His image.

As a reminder: meetings with Father Craig are in his office. Father Craig's office is in the Parish Center: the brick building (the old church) between the priest's house and the convent.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

RCIA Week 1 Follow Up

A link to a biography of St. Augustine.

A link to his autobiography/spiritual journal called The Confessions.

Points from the Presentation:
-Man's desire for something or someone is hardwired into his/her very being.
-That desire is placed there by the Creator.
-Only the Creator can satisfy that Desire.
-We call the Creator God.
-We believe certain things about God, one of which is that He wants to have a relationship with us.
-This relationship with Him will satisfy that Desire.
-We are invited to reach out to Him and take the Hand He offers.
-Our acknowledgement of the Hand and our willingness to take it is called Faith.
-Mystery: God becomes human in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
-Jesus is both human and Divine.  Therefore our Faith is in the Words and Actions and Teachings of a person- Jesus, the Christ.

Next Week: The Human Person: Faith, Reason and Grace: How do I know God? How do I meet Him?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Homily for 22nd Sunday of the Year

[This homily was given at the 12:15pm Mass on Sunday, September 1.]

Click here for the Scripture readings.

There's something you should know about me... I'm brilliant! Why are you laughing? Seriously! Ask anyone who knows me: I'm brilliant. Off the charts brilliant! Stop laughing!

One of the benefits of being a "late vocation", having a done a few things before becoming a priest, is that there's whole big group of people who knew me as Craig, before I became Father Craig. And boy do they have some stories: stories of me not being so brilliant. In fact, it's my friends and family that keep me ground, they keep it real, they help me laugh at myself, they, in a word, keep me humble.

We are so familiar with this Gospel passage today. We've heard Jesus teach us before about being humble. But I'd like to spend a little time wandering around this passage this morning and see if Jesus has something more to tell us.

The word humility comes from a Latin word that means "low" or "of the earth".  Just think of that tasty treat we enjoy on crackers: hummus. Hummus is made from basic food stuffs of the earth: grain and such. But, another way to think of it is this way: humility can help us remember those words spoken over us at the beginning of Lent, on Ash Wednesday: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return."  That stuff is the stuff of the earthy, lowly, that from which we were created, and to which, one day, we will return.

But I'd like to give another definition today for humility. Humility is seeing and experience ourselves and others NOT as we would like to, but as God already does.

I know God sees us in two ways. First, He sees us as wounded, broken people, with a tendency to sin and fall into patterns of unhealthy behavior. And he knows that we have to saved from that, rescued from that. And so he sent his Son, Jesus Christ to do just that. And in our Redemption and Salvation, and because of our Baptism and sharing in this Eucharist, God also sees our amazing and world-changing potential. He sees our ability to Love and Serve and Pray and Forgive and Give that transcends that brokenness and woundedness that is a part of who we are. But this Good News! We are capable of great things for the Lord, all of us, and humility is seeing that in ourselves and in others. But humility is also seeing the brokenness of those around us. Humility is recognizing the person as God recognizes them: spouses, children, co workers, neighbors and friends: Humility is seeing them, and ourselves, not as we would want, but as God already does.

My friends, this week, we ask for an outpouring of Humility into our hearts. We want to be able to recognize and embrace the brokenness of others, and of ourselves, and see it not a cause of resentment or prejudice, but as an invitation to witness the great healing power of Love that comes from God alone, working through us. This week we recommit to to nourishing that awareness of that people, including ourselves, are in need of Healing and Redemption. Perhaps even those closest to you, like your spouse, are in need of radical healing. In humility, we approach the people in our life with great gentleness this week. And we move, ever so slowly and steadily, to embracing that brokenness in them and in ourselves, and ask the Lord to heal them through the way we Love and Serve and Pray and Forgive and Give.

May we stay grounded this week, may we be willing to laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves to seriously. May we love with urgency remembering that all is Gift and one day, we will return to He who loved us first.


Daily Point for Prayer

Click here for today's Scripture readings.

Paul encourages us today to children of the Light. In the early Church, those who had been Baptized, were called the Enlightened or the Illuminated. They became members of Christ, who is the Light of the World. Today, let us be Christ-Bearers. Let us take Him who is the Light of the World into the world today. Wherever we go, whatever we do, whoever we greet, let us share the Light that was given to us at Baptism and is renewed by this Eucharist.

Let's be one of those of whom it is said, "When they walk in, the room is lit up!"

Through Love and Service and Smiles, let us be men and women of Light today!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Daily Point for Prayer

Click here for the Scripture readings.

Jesus seems to use rather harsh words in an attempt to call the Pharisees out of their hypocrisy and be transformed by His Gospel. St. Paul tells the Thessalonians today that it the Power of the Holy Spirit that has transformed them into Christians and Disciples of Jesus Christ.

So, our point for prayer today: how will we allow the Gospel to transform us today? How will we allow this Word and Eucharist to transform us from the inside out? The Power of the Spirit is that which animates and lifts things Up to the Father. How will the Holy Spirit animate and lift us Up today?


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

On Pope Benedict's Resignation

An article I found on NPR.

Daily Point for Prayer

Click here for the daily readings.

Notice the way in which the landowner is lavish, almost foolish, with his own money. If we apply this parable to our God and Father we can reflect on how remarkably generous God is to us, His Beloved Sons and Daughters.

So, two points for prayer today:  sometimes the greatest thing we can do in our relationship with the Lord is to receive the gifts He is constantly giving us. As we go about our day today, let us be aware of the things and blessings and ways in which is giving to us. And may we have receptive hearts. Secondly, let's pray too that we might have an opportunity to be generous like Him. May we share the good things that God has given us by being generous with our time, our Love, our forgiveness, our compassion. In these two ways we mirror our God and Father who is madly in Love with His Beloved Sons and Daughters. May we receive that Love and share it.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Homily for the 19th Sunday of the Year

[This homily was given at the 12:15pm Mass on Sunday, August 11.]

Click here for the Scripture Readings

I love Peter’s question here in the middle of our Gospel, “Jesus, is this parable meant for us, or for everyone?”

In my imagination I see Peter asking this question with some hesitancy, not quite sure he wants to hear the answer. Jesus uses this opportunity to talk about something that everyone will experience: the one universal that no one will escape- death. Now, we already now that Jesus wants us to be detached from our possessions: there’s nothing wrong with having money or material possessions: we just don’t want our possessions to possess us.

But Jesus then goes on to talk about the certainty of dying and the challenge of having stored up, what Jesus calls, “treasures in Heaven”. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a bank account: I’ve got a savings account and I’ve even got a retirement account. Granted there’s not much in there, but I put a little money away each month and then I get a statement telling me that the thing is growig. But what I don’t see is my statement for the treasures I’ve stored up in Heaven. No monthly statement; no earning statement at the end of the year. It’s hard to know how much treasure I’ve got stored up there in Heaven. I’m hoping for a lot.

Listen to this: Katherine Drexel was born in 1858. Her dad was a banker and made a fortune.  When Katherine was 29 her father died and left his estate, totally $250 million in today’s money, to his four daughters.  Katherine took her share of that money and put it into a trust; she then moved out of her mansion in Philadelphia, gave away her personal belongings, and started a religious order of nuns that would be dedicated to serving African and Native Americans. Over 60 years, she spent close to $20 million dollars building schools, health clinics, and chapels for Native and African Americans in 16 different states.  She was hated and loved by many- what she did for racial equality in the first half of the 20th century would not be made law until the Civil Rights Act was passed in the second half of the 20th century.

A question: do you think St. Katherine Drexel had stored up some treasure in Heaven? Did her acts of service, kindness, generosity, tolerance, compassion, forgiveness, faith, hope and Love contribute to her Salvation and Redemption?

Answer: you’d better believe it.

Here’s the thing: St. Katherine Drexel did these things because she Loved Jesus and was convinced that her call to Discipleship mandated that she serve those who were in need. Her Faith in the Eucharist taught her that God’s presence among us in invitation to make Him known through acts of Love. She knew Jesus’s word were true: at the moment of her death, only one thing that mattered. And that is Love. Only Love.

So, we circle back to Peter’s question: is this parable meant for every one or just for us? Answer: yes, both.

Perhaps you and I don’t have vast fortunes we can give away. It’s likely that God is not calling us to abandon our responsibilities as providers for our families to give away everything to the poor and live in poverty. You and I are not called to be St. Francis of Assisi, St Louis and St. Katherine Drexel. But Jesus is talking to us to day: he’s talking to you and he’s talking to me.

So, the question this week, for our prayer: what can I do, or continue to do, to store up treasure in Heaven? In my own way, given the circumstances of my life, how can I imitate the heart of St. Katherine Drexel in storing up treasures in Heaven?

My friends, I’ll give you a hint: it has a twofold beginning: minimize sin and maximize kindness. That’s the place to start. So, as we pray and live and love this week, where can I minimize sin and maximize kindness? Is there a vice or habit or sin that I need to cut out like a cancer? Is there gossip, judgmentalism, intolerance or envy that’s rotting my insides? Can I start spending less time wasting time? And then where can I maximize kindness? How can I reach out to those in need, especially the poor and hungry, the sick and the lonely? Can I share kind words with friends and coworkers? Can I pour a little more effort into my relationships with my spouse and kids?

Jesus is speaking to all of today: he wants us in Heaven, with Him, for all eternity. He is inviting us to make vast contributions to the treasure store waiting for us in heaven. This week, my friends, through our acts of Love, service, and kindness, lets call upon God’s grace to inspire and move us. This week, we move closer to our own sainthood. Our community can be full of disciples of Jesus Christ; full of saints-in-the-making.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Is He Calling You to Become Catholic?

An Invitation to all Non-Catholics and Unconfirmed Adults

Are you or someone you know being called to join the Catholic Church? Do you desire to be a member of our vibrant faith community, the Catholic Church and St. Joseph’s parish?  If so, our Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults session is beginning with an introductory and informational session on Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 7pm in the St. Joseph Room in church. The RCIA is about encountering Jesus Christ, learning about His Church, His Word, His Sacraments, and our invitation to Discipleship. Father Craig Holway will explain the RCIA process, the resources used, and the great beauty of being Catholic.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining the Catholic Church, please contact Father Craig Holway at (636) 441-0055, ext 109 or cholway@stjoecot.org or join us on September 3rd at 7pm in the St. Joseph Room.

Daily Point for Prayer

Click here for the daily Scripture readings.

Notice all the rebuking that's going on: first Peter to Jesus, and then Jesus to Peter. In Greek, the word used for "to rebuke" means to put back into place. First, Peter tries to put Jesus back into place. But that's not gonna work. So Jesus has to put Peter back into place.  In all the bravado, Peter has placed himself in front of Jesus. So that's why Jesus says, "Get behind me!"

The point here is that Jesus wants to go to suffering and death before Peter. No doubt, Peter will have his time of persecution, suffering and death. But before then, Jesus has to go!  Jesus is going to do it before Peter!  Get behind me Peter! Let me do it first! That's what Jesus is saying.

Today, we can live in this awareness. That as we confront the difficult parts of our live and relationships; as we confront the difficult parts of our vocations, our discipleship, our striving to be holy and be with the Lord, we can rest assured, with trust and confidence that Jesus is going before us! He is already leading us even though we may be unaware.  Let's stay behind the Lord today- let's allow him to do the heavy lifting and fighting for us. May we remain faithful- following close behind!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Homily from 18th Sunday of the Year

[This homily was given at the 10:30am & 12:15pm Masses on Sunday, Aug 4]

Click here for the Scripture readings.

I'm what they call a "late vocation". That means I worked out in the corporate world before entering the seminary. I worked for 4 years, three of those with a company in St. Louis. That company got a new CEO and when he arrived, he called the staff down to the conference room so he could introduce himself. He did: telling us he was married with grown children. He'd moved around a bit for his work and then he said something that I will never forget. He said, "I don't really have any hobbies or anything. All I do is work." And I can remember thinking then, as I do now, with a great deal of compassion in my heart, how sad.

Hold onto to that for a minute.

Our Gospel reading today seems to have two parts. On the first we have two brothers approaching Jesus and asking him to arbitrate their division of their father's estate. Jesus declines. And then he goes into a second, but related, part in which he tells a parable about a rich man and his wealth. The lesson here, the moral here, the easy homily here is don't put too much effort or stock into material possessions or wealth. It's ok to have wealth and possessions, we just don't want our possessions to possess us. But as I reflect a little more deeply with our Gospel reading, I'm struck by this line: "Tonight, your life will be demanded of you." And when I pray about this, I think about Charles Dickens, and more specifically, A Christmas Carol.

You know the story: Ebeneezer Scrooge always working and always concerned about himself and his money. Visited by Jacob Marley and told, "Scrooge, tonight your life will be demanded on you!" Visit by the ghosts of past, present and future; eventually transformed by this experience. And while Dickens wasn't a Christian and the story having only vague Christian tones, we can glean a lot from it. I wonder if at some point Scrooge didn't come face to face with regrets. I wonder if the man in Jesus's parable didn't come face to face with regrets when told his life would be demanded on him. I wonder if my old boss wouldn't be filled with some regrets. Regrets: acts of love left undone; words of love left unsaid; mistakes left un-redeemed.

So, this is one invitation from Jesus this week: have we spent so much worrying about and concerning ourselves with other things, that we may have regrets about the life we lived and are currently living?  Have we spent too much time building bigger barns and accumulating stuff that we've allowed a fog to come between us and the people in our life? Do we have regrets? Acts of love left undone; words of love left unspoken; past mistakes left un-redeemed?

This week, the Divine Physician offers healing.

This week, lets ask the Lord to ever so gently reveal those regrets to us. May he set them before our mind's eye in only the way he can. May we then ask for the Spirit's gift of courage to take positive steps to heal them and be forgiven and reconcile with God and any persons He brings to our hearts. This week we ask the Lord to heal regrets and so make us ready to hear those words that, no doubt, will one day be spoken to each us, "Tonight, your life will be required of you."

May we go with nothing left undone; nothing left unsaid; all sins forgiven; and peace reigning in our hearts, and in our homes.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Some Fuel for Prayer

"God loves us more than we realize or can ever repay Him. Remember weakness is no hinderance to love: in our relations with God it is even an enormous strength. Let us remain, then, united in weakness, in prayer, and in the desire to belong wholly to God" (p 120.

"Believe, the, that in this topsy-turvy world in which we have to live, in this world so bereft of peace and so far from God- above all in our soul, that soul so crushed- GOD IS PRESENT: loving, giving Himself, pouring His peace into souls of good will... Believe this, I say, not trying to understand it nor seeking to feel it. For to believe is precisely to gives one's assent to a word without understanding or feeling. Believe" and that very Word, the Word of God, will transform us into Himself, and make us partakers in His Life" (p 19).

[From They Speak by Silences, by a Carthusian Monk. Gracewing Press: Herefordshire, 1955.]

Thursday, August 1, 2013

George Saunders at Syracuse University

George Saunders in a fiction writer who has a deep, deep humanity. The link below is the commencement speech he gave at Syracuse University this past spring.  I'm not sure if Saunders in a Catholic, or even a Christian, but this short speech is worth the read.

My favorite line: "What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. 
Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded…sensibly.  Reservedly.  Mildly."

His Commencement Speech

Daily Point for Prayer

"The first question to be considered is what order we should follow in our prayers. This has been decided in principle long ago. The order to follow is God's order. We must ask for all that may contribute (and in the measure in which it will contribute) to His glory, and the advancement of His kingdom. That is why the first and essential object, and the one we must never lost sight of, is our eternal salvation and our union with God. This is the end of all prayer and of every movement of the soul: to praise God, to be united with Him, to be transformed into His likeness forever; to become forever His image and His child."

[From The Prayer of the Presence of God, by Dom Augustin Guillerand. Sophia Institute Press: Manchester, p. 36.]

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Pope Francis and 3 million of his closest friends

A great article about the Pope's Mass in Brazil. (From The Washington Post)

Homily for Sunday, July 28

Given on Saturday, July 27 (5pm) and Sunday, July 28 (7 & 8:45am)

Click here for the Scripture Readings.

Preaching about Prayer is a lot like trying to fix 10 pounds of rocks in a 5 pound back. It's often hard to do. So, what I'd like us to do today is just stroll around a little bit and maybe the Lord will speak in our hearts.  I'd like to talk about prayer by connecting three different people: Jesus, Woody Allen and The Rolling Stones.  Here we go!

There's an image in the Book of Revelation that Jesus uses, speaking through John the Evangelist, to encourage people to come to the waters fo Baptism and become a disciple. The image comes from the third chapter of the Book of Revelation and it's of Jesus standing at a door, knocking. The lines reads: "Behold I stand at the door knocking. Whoever hears my voice and opens the door to me, I will enter and dine with them." The word dine is somewhat of a euphemism: it means that Jesus will have an intimate encounter with the one who opens the doors for Him. This is the first image for our prayer this week: Jesus standing at our door, knocking. He is standing at the door of our hearts, our lives, our relationships, our marriages, our families, our fears, our doubts, our anxieties, our temptations and even our sins. He stands there knocking and waits for us to open to Him. The opening my friends, is prayer. The minute we transcend our selves and reach out time Him, this is prayer. Prayer is transcending the selves and having receiving from Him that which we can not give to ourselves. Jesus IS the answer to our prayers, all our prayers.

But we have to turn to Him every day and seek from Him that which our heart yearns.  Woody Allen is quoted as saying, 99% of life is just showing up. That might be true, but not when it comes to prayer. Prayer, according our Catechism of the Catholic Church, is a response to God. In other words, we are responsible for 1% and God the other 99%. If we make ourselves available to God, everyday, to spend a few moments in silent and solitary prayer, if we give Him our 1%, He WILL provide the other 99%. Wherever you are on the prayer spectrum, whether you're a daily pray-er; a good prayer; or you don't pray at all; no is the time to delve into an interior Life with God. Now is the time, Jesus is inviting us to enter into a deep relationship with Him in prayer. So, where do I start? I'd offer one suggestion. If you're just starting out praying, try this: read today's Gospel reading everyday for the next 6 days. Read it once; pick out a word or phrase that stirs in your heart and then just sit with it for about 10 minutes. Turn your mind and heart to God and God-ly things and allow Him to work in your heart for 10 minutes each day.  I promise you, those moments will not be wasted.

The last thing I know about prayer is that prayer is less about me telling God what I want, and more about God shaping my heart to desire what He wants to give me. He knows what we need. The question is, do I? So what do we need to be the people God wants us to be? What do we need in our relationships, our marriages, our relationships, our jobs. What do we need to embrace ever more deeply our vocations and our discipleship.  What do I need? And are my needs the same things that God wants to give me: the things that a Father wants to give to His children.  In other words, to paraphrase the Rolling Stones: you can't always get what you want; no you can't always get what you want; no you can't always get what you want; but if you PRAY sometimes, you just might find, you get what you NEED!! Ahh yeah!


Friday, July 26, 2013

An article on Religious Freedom

From today's Wall Street Journal.  A very good article on the essence of Religious Freedom.

Click here.

Daily Point for Prayer

Click here for today's Scripture Readings

Our Psalm tells us today that the Words of the Lord bring Life into the world and also promise us Eternal Life. As we reflect upon God's Word today; and as we reflect about all the things that the Word calls us to do and be and sacrifice and offer, let's remember that the Word and the Acts of Love and Service and Sacrifice that flow from there are meant to give us Life, and as Jesus says in John's Gospel, give us Life abundantly.

Click here for information about Saints Joachim and Anne.  And here for even more.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Daily Point for Prayer

Click here for today's Scripture readings.

Notice the way in which the Father provides for his children. He gives them their daily portion of bread. And notice that when we pray the "Our Father" we ask for our "daily bread". This is the great reality in which we live: the Father gives to us each what we need.

This then is our point for prayer: as we go about our day to today, as we live out our vocation and find ourselves with the people, and in the circumstances we will, let us recognize that the Father will give to us exactly what we need to encounter and engage with those people and circumstances. He gives to us through this Eucharist and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit that which we need to do and be today.

Let's be confident throughout the day, even if the day grows long and difficult, that the Lord has provided to us that which we need. He has done it today; and He will do it tomorrow.


Today's Saint: Saint Sharbel Makhluf

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Homily from Sunday, July 21

Click here for Sunday readings.

Google tells me that the city of Las Vegas is 158 square miles and has 1.9 million residents. I've never been to Vegas but people who have tell me that it's something to behold. And if there is one word that summarizes their experience, it's overwhelming.  Between the lights and sounds, bounty of food and drink, all the entertainment, it's overwhelming they say. They say that there's, "A lot to do in Vegas."  There's a lot to do, plenty to do. So, if you're looking for something to do, go to Vegas.

Google also tell me the Mojave Desert that surrounds Las Vegas is 47,778 square miles and has only 850,000 residents. Unlike the city of Vegas, there's not much to do in the desert. Excluding nature itself, there are no flashing lights or loud speakers. It's aridity and simplicity makes for a rather boring place to do things. So, if you're looking for something to do, I wouldn't go into the desert.

But think about this, throughout Scripture, the desert has always been a place, and a symbol, of encounter with God. Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, Jesus himself: they all go into the desert to encounter God. They all go into the desert to BE with God.  So, perhaps we can set up a paradigm then: the desert is a place of BEING. A place of being with God.

In today's Gospel reading we encounter Martha and Mary.  Friends of Jesus, they are hosting him at their home. Martha, taking up the work, finds herself doing all the work: she's got a house full of people. Mary, on the other hand, sits at the feet of the Master and is listening to him, engaging in conversation, being taught by him, being nourished by him; simply being with him. This of course gets Martha all is a tizzy- isn't better to always be doing something?

Today, Jesus says loud and clear, "No."

No doubt, my friends, you and I have plenty to do. From sun-up to sun-rise you and I have plenty to do: work, kids, errands, social engagements, other commitments. We have plenty to do. We can sometimes do so much that we end up lamenting how busy, how tired, how stressed we are.Sometimes, we can even measure a person's value or purpose but how much they do for themselves or worse, for others.

Today, Jesus invites us to not be so concerned with always doing things. Today, Jesus invites to work on being. He invites to work in being with Him, and on being with the people in our life. Jesus invites us every day to journey with him into the desert so that we can be alone with him. He invites us to daily prayer, and may even invite us to occasion retreats so that we can simple be with him for a time; to be nourished and taught; encouraged and corrected. A place of encounter; a place of felt presence.

But today he also invites us to be present for the people in our life. No doubt things have to get done. But Jesus invites us to remain aware of the PEOPLE that we are doing things for. For Jesus, it's not about doing things, it's about doing things FOR PEOPLE. It's the person, it's about the person. When we remember the people we are doing things for, it gives our actions meaning and purpose; it allows them to flow from a place of Love.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta once said, "Do all things, even small things, with great Love."

This week, we recommit ourselves to doing all the things we need to do with great Love. But we even more deeply recommit ourselves to being present to the Lord that he might nourish us on a daily basis through prayer and acts of service. We also recommit ourselves to being present for the people in our life. To sit at one another's feet; set aside the things that we need to do; and find time simply to be together. And to allow the bonds of Love that join us together, to grow and deepen and strengthen.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Daily Point for Prayer

Click here for the daily Scripture readings.

Jesus words to us are an invitation. And invitation to come to Him when we need rest and peace from the burdens that we carry.  Likewise, in our first reading we hear the God is the "Great I AM" and wants to lead His people to a place that is flowing with milk and honey- a place of abundant life. I am remembering a line from John's Gospel: "I come that they might have life and have it abundantly"(Jn 10:10).

For our prayer today, what most robs us of peace and rest? What's the heaviest burden we carry? A doubt, fear, anxiety, a sin? Whatever it is, God reminds us today that He wants us to come to Him with those things and allow Him to heal them.

So, today we surrender our heaviest burdens to Him and ask Him to replace them peace and rest. May He restore our tired minds, hearts and bodies. May He lead us to that place where there is only Life- and Life to the full. Our home- Heaven!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Daily Point for Prayer

Click here for the daily Scripture readings.

Moses encounters the Lord and he is then sent on Mission. An encounter with the Lord changes lives; it changes plans and preferences and priorities. An encounter with the Lord sends us on Mission too. Maybe nothing so daunting as saving God's people, but we are called and then empowered to Mission, empowered to Witness to our discipleship.

So, today, let's be aware of this encounter: first at our Baptism and then every time we receive the Lord in Word or Eucharist or Prayer. We are given the opportunity to encounter the Lord everyday!  What then is the Mission He gives us? Certainly our vocations. But what else? What experiences or opportunities may He give us today that will be our Mission to serve Him and others? Maybe an act of Love, Service or Forgiveness or Healing that He wants us to work today? Maybe a kind word or smile for someone who needs it? Maybe a few moments of deep prayer to nourish and refresh our tired spirit?

May we be aware of those encounters and be willing to embrace the Mission that follows. Today. And every day.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Little Summer Reading

A little off the beaten path, but well worth it. Wonderfully written; very informative; and spiritually nourishing.

Click here for description of Halfway to Heaven: The Hidden Life of the Carthusians.

Would go well with this movie called "Into Great Silence."

I also just finished reading a novel called The Son, written by Philip Meyer. A great story about fathers and sons; survival, loneliness and redemption.  Well worth the read.

Daily Point for Prayer

Click here for daily Scripture readings.

Today, as we celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we ask Mary and St. Simon Stock's intercession as we ascend our own interior mountain to encounter the Lord in our prayer and interior life. With the same zeal that inspired St. Simon Stock and continues to inspire the other members of the Carmelite Order, may we pursue God in prayer. He dwells within and is waiting to encounter us there. May we recommit ourselves to daily prayer, silent and solitary moments, with Scripture, the Rosary, spiritual reading and just sitting in silence with thoughts raised to Him.

He is waiting there for us. Let us ascend to meet Him.

Click here for info on St. Simon Stock.
Click here for info on the Brown Scapular.
Click here for info on the Carmelite Order.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sunday Homily, June 14th

I don’t want to alarm you, but there are actually two of me. When God created Father Craig he also created a duplicated. When God created Father Craig, he also created Father Craig’s twin brother, Christopher. It’s true: I have a twin brother. So, if you’re out and about and you see a guy who looks like me with a beautiful wife and two little boys, rest assured that I am not living another life. It’s my twin brother and whatever you do, do not, do not, no matter what sad story he tells you, lend him money.

There is a picture taken several Christmases ago. It is of my grandfather, who is now deceased, my dad, my twin brother, and one of my nephews. What’s interesting about the picture is the striking facial similarity that the four men in the picture share. It’s uncanny really. My dad looks like my grandfather, my brother looks like my dad, my nephew looks like my brother; in the case of our family, there’s no mistaking a Holway man. Not only do they share similar facial features, but not including my nephew, the three of them have a similar gait; my brother says some things the same way my dad does; my dad has this look of curiosity that I remember my grandfather having too. There are a lot of similarities between the four men in that picture.

In our complex, yet beautiful second reading today, Paul’s letter to the Colossians, St. Paul is explaining to the Colossians and to all of us, the true nature of Jesus Christ. At the same time, Paul is teaching us about Jesus’ Identity, His Meaning, and His Mission. Paul tells us that Jesus is the image of invisible God. But that word image is loaded with meaning. From Greek the word is translated into the English word icon, and that means something like to be a copy of the original. But it also means to represent and manifest the original. So what Paul is saying is that if we want to know what God looks like, we have only to look at Jesus. But more than that, if want to know what God is like, we have only to look at Jesus (cf. Pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth, Vol. 1). If we want to know what kind of characteristics God has, we only have to look at Jesus because He is not only the image of God; He is God, the second person of the Trinity.

You see, Jesus came into the world because God the Father wanted to make it clear and definitive, that He wants to have a relationship with us now, so that He can enjoy an eternity with us later. And so to prepare our hearts for that eternity he sent Jesus who will help us in the preparation work. Jesus’ mission is to make of us an image of God the Father. Jesus’ mission is to make us like himself. Jesus’ mission is to make us saints.

We believe that the great reality of our baptism is that we are radically configured to be images of Jesus. Sealed at Confirmation and nourished by the Eucharist, that image is renewed in us as we allow Jesus to slowly, steadily, almost imperceptibly, convert us, mold us, join us to himself in a deeper way, so that the Father might see and Love in us, what He sees as loves in His Son. This Eucharist is turning us into another Christ- from the inside out. And the more we receive Him, the more we become like Him.

So, our point for prayer this week.  As we go about our week, and as we encounter our life and relationships, as we encounter God in prayer and service, let’s be aware of this great reality: we too are images of God. May our words and actions be like those of the Good Samaritan: full of Love and Kindness. My friends, we are images of God: we are Christians, Beloved Sons and Daughters to God the Father. Our souls are stamped with his Image and Likeness. We pray that this week our words and actions may also be images and likenesses of the words and actions of Jesus. May our words be full of love and kindness; our actions be full of kindness and service for those who are in need. May our prayer be like that of Jesus’: “Father, not my will, but your will be done”(Lk 22:42).

This week, we pray that we may speak kindly, care deeply, love generously and live simply.