Category Archives: Poiema

Blog posts here were inspired or include quotes from St. Josemaria Escriva.

In Order to see the Church Rebuild, will we dare do this?

devotional thought of the day:

“ ‘This is what the Lord GOD says: I will respond to the house of Israel and do this for them: I will multiply them in number like a flock. 38 So the ruined cities will be filled with a flock of people, just as Jerusalem is filled with a flock of sheep for sacrifice during its appointed festivals. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’ Ezek 36:37-38 CSB

m 28 They will know that I am the LORD their God when I regather them to their own land after having exiled them among the nations. I will leave none of them behind. 29 I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel.” This is the declaration of the Lord GOD. Ezek 39:27-29 CSB

“Give me your heart, my son,”12 he seems to whisper in our ears. Stop building castles in the air. Make up your mind to open your soul to God, for only in our Lord will you find a real basis for your hope and for doing good to others.

As we come out of COVID, I find the church offered a myriad of solutions to address the fact that prior to COVID, the church in America was already shrinking. We want to blame people not coming back on COVID, but if we are honest, many had left before that, in fact they have been leaving for decades.

It is not because the church isn’t relevant enough, or faithful enough to traditions. It isn’t because we haven’t found the right book or the right coach/consultant/father-confessor/seminar or podcast.

It is much simpler than that.

We aren’t looking to God to full our ruined cities and churches. We aren’t looking for Him to fulfill His promises.

SImply put, we don’t know that He is the Lord, that He is our God!

And so we don’t look to Him to fill our churches, to bring healing and reconciliation to our communities,.

We build our castles, both physically and mentally, when we need to open our soul to God. St Josemaria is correct, it is there, open to God, led by the Spirit, that we not only find life, we find a reason for living. Walking with Him, we find the most incredible blessings. As the Spirit changes us, the masks are lifted, and we can see what God is doing.

And that is revive the church, by reviving the people who find themselves in His presence.

Abba Father, let Your Spirit fall on Your church! Draw our eyes to Your Son Jesus, that our hearts and souls are open to the Spirit’s presence, and help us to see Your work, reviving and restoring Your Church. Amen!

Escrivá, Josemaría. Friends of God . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

“Lord, I can’t do this anymore” and other prayers the prevent burnout

Devotional Thought of the Day:

14  May the day I was born be cursed. May the day my mother bore me never be blessed. 15  May the man be cursed who brought the news to my father, saying, “A male child is born to you,” bringing him great joy. 16  Let that man be like the cities the Lord demolished without compassion. Let him hear an outcry in the morning and a war cry at noontime 17  because he didn’t kill me in the womb so that my mother might have been my grave, her womb eternally pregnant. 18  Why did I come out of the womb to see only struggle and sorrow, to end my life in shame? Jeremiah 20:14-18 (CSBBible)

It can’t be otherwise. It’s annoying when one has the best of intentions but things don’t turn out well. Surely this is murmuring. I do the same, and I can’t banish the thought from my mind when I wish that I had never started [this business].88 So likewise when I wish I were dead rather than witness such contempt [for the Word of God and his faithful servants].89 Accordingly it is only speculative theologians who condemn such impatience and recommend patience. If they get down to the realm of practice, they will be aware of this. Cases of this kind are exceedingly important. One should not dispute about them in a speculative way.

14         “It’s very difficult”, you exclaim, disheartened. Listen, if you make an effort, with the grace of God that is enough. Put your own interests to one side, you will serve others for God, and you will come to the aid of the Church in the field where the battles are being fought today: in the street, in the factory, in the workshop, in the university, in the office, in your own surroundings, amongst your family and friends.

I resonate with Luther’s words in purple far more than I want to admit. When he questions his very life because of what he observed, his writings hit hard to things I dare not admit. (for friends readings this – not today)

He’s not the only one – Jeremiah 20:7 is a favorite passage, and has been for over 30 years. Yet, only over the last decade have I learned to give voice to that without feeling guilty and ashamed.

It is good to know at least Jeremiah and Martin Luther understand this – and were able to give voice to it… and still trust in God.

You see, it takes more faith to pray in this way, to be this honest, this transparent. To depend on God to be with us in the places where we are exhausted, the places we don’t have the answers, or the answers are not pleasant to consider. The points where God calls us to action in the ways we can’t imagine.

Once we give voice to it, once you’ve come to trust God in that moment, then the wisdom of Escriva’s comments make sense. Depending on that grace, we find the abiltity to set aside our own pain, and minister to those around us.

This isnt to deny it, but to trust God with it. Embrancing and moving past it, we find those scars a critical element in our ability to serve, in our ability to praise God.

Jeremiah would do that – continuing his prophetic ministry through the rest of this book and Lamentations as well. Luther would move forward in minsitry, even more resolved to help people understand the grace of God. He would come to the point of taking action, finding it was the time for impatience, not patience. It was time to act, knowing the presence of God meant He would be sustained.

That’s the key in these things – find your refuge in Jesus…find your rest in Him and you will find yourself ministering to others.

That is the miracle and the paradox….

That is walking with Jesus.

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 54: Table Talk, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 54 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 30–31.

Escriva, Josemaria. Furrow (Kindle Locations 294-298). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Christian, Heaven is NOT your reward!

This is your God!

Devotional Thought of the Day:
23  I will establish my people in the land and make them prosper. I will show love to those who were called “Unloved,” and to those who were called “Not-My-People” I will say, “You are my people,” and they will answer, “You are our God.” Hosea 2:23 (TEV)

1030      My God, when will I love you for yourself? Although when we think about it, Lord, to desire an everlasting reward is to desire you, for you give yourself as our reward.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the church, and its message recently.

Part of that is do to people challenging the church, saying that its message, or the way it shares that message has become irrelevant. That we have progressed even deeper into the irrelevancy, and if the church doesn’t change, it will die.

I think the church needs to be careful as it hears these voices. It must continue to answer the questions of life and death, good and evil (and its partners guilt and shame). And it must answer them with God, with Jesus, hung on the cross to introduce us to the Father who loves us, and would heal the brokenness caused by our sin, and the sin of the world.

The challenge there is that we hold out heaven and rewards for living a good life, and when we do not, turning to God for forgiveness, so the hope of heaven is restored. As if the place with St. Peter’s gate and clouds and angels playing keyboards, and the streets of gold is our reward.

It isn’t.

Your reward is the presence of God. To see Him face to face, to hear Him welcome you, His child, into His presence, into His peace. That is why St. Josemaria talks of our loving God for Himself. To desire to spend time with Him.

That is why prayer and meditating on scripture, and spending time receiving Christ’s Body and Blood in the Lord’s Supper are critical in our lives. They are how God keeps us realizing His promised presence in our lives. These times should not be entered because we have to, because we want some reward from Daddy.

It is about being there, with God, in His presence, with your Creator, who loves you enough to set up all of creation to then show you off, His greatest treasure…

If we realize this, if we realize the love of God. How could we not want to spend any time we could, in any way we could….

He is your reward, He is your God…



Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

The Church Can Endure this as it does ALL Challenges.

Nothing else mattered! Just being with Jesus, and knowing His love

Devotional Thought of the Day

7  If your servant comes in from plowing or from taking care of the sheep, would you say, “Welcome! Come on in and have something to eat”? 8  No, you wouldn’t say that. You would say, “Fix me something to eat. Get ready to serve me, so I can have my meal. Then later on you can eat and drink.” 9  Servants don’t deserve special thanks for doing what they are supposed to do. 10  And that’s how it should be with you. When you’ve done all you should, then say, “We are merely servants, and we have simply done our duty.” Luke 17:7-10 (CEV)

We come now to the taproot of our surefire program: intimacy with the indwelling Trinity. To put it simply: the main source of deep conversion is to fall in love with endless Beauty. A genuine person will gladly sacrifice for real love. Christic martyrs are in love. Jesus tortured to death on the Cross is the icon of perfect love, unconditional, selfless love. All the saints imitate him in their heroic virtue because they too are in love. Their concern, determination, and motivation are rooted in and arise from their intimacy with triune Beauty who is purest and endless love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8).

1025 You will have as much sanctity, as you have mortification done for Love.

When you love someone, truly love someone, you are willing to embrace pain and suffering if you know it will help them. I know a husband who gave a kidney to his wife, or couples who have endured hardship to stay together. I don’t know if children of any age ever realize what their parents give up, so that they can have things the parents never had at their age.

That is what love is!

It is the same as the servants, who have cared well for their master. It is just the way things are supposed to be. We are just who we are – nothing special here… just doing what we do….

We need to grow in this as the church. Whether it is in trying to help the poor, or train up more people to serve in ministry, here or abroad, whether it is in giving of time or treasure, or letting someone else learn to serve in our place and coaching them in it, we need to learn to sacrifice our preferences in view of the love we have for God, and the people He’s created.

It may be even sacrificing our preferences, in order to work with the government during times like this. ( I hate saying this… but hey – gotta preach to myself as well as to you!)

The key to this is the cross, to being drawn to where Jesus is lifted up, not just as an observer, but being transformed into His image, as we are united to Him on the cross there. There everything is so based in a love so incredible, so deep, that everything else, including the work to help others be drawn there… is nothing.

Being loved by Him becomes everything. – other challenges… – what challenges… God is with us!

Thomas Dubay, Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006), 99.

Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Saul, David and the American Political Season

God, who am I?

Devotional Thought of the Day:

3  At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave! 4  “Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the LORD is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe. 5  But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. 6  “The LORD knows I shouldn’t have done that to my lord the king,” he said to his men. “The LORD forbid that I should do this to my lord the king and attack the LORD’s anointed one, for the LORD himself has chosen him.” 7  So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul. After Saul had left the cave and gone on his way, 1 Samuel 24:3-7 (NLT2)

You became a bit frightened when you saw so much light, so bright that you thought it would be difficult to look, or even to see. Disregard your obvious weaknesses, and open the eyes of your soul to faith, to hope and to love. Carry on, allowing yourself to be guided by God through whoever directs your soul.

I have to admit that I am more than a little hesitant writing this blog this morning. Yet I have seen to many people who believe in God who struggle to live in the peace God has given them.

Fear, anxiety, anger, even hatred have done this damage to people’s souls. And as I see those emotions pouted out on social media, my heard aches. People look for scapegoats to blame for hurt they even struggle to identify. We look for that one person, or that one group that causes our pain.

David knew that pain. Heck, it wasn’t just projecting his problems on King Saul, Saul was out to kill him. He was hunting him down, and David had to live off the land, and dwell in caves. People who helped him were punished, and rewards were out for his life, and those who served beside him.

And yet, as he tweaks the king, (when he could have assassinated him) he feels guilt. He knows the pain, the betrayal, and et, part of him knows he should not have even tweaked the king….

As I read this, I wondered what it would be like, if we had that much respect for our leaders, that we bathed them in prayer rather than mocked them, or critiqued them and spewed hatred at them behind their back? What would happen if we treated them as we wanted them to treat us? If we didn’t use their actions to justify our own.

What would happen if we loved them as Christ loves us?

This is the kind of light we struggle with entering , this glorious love of God that takes away sin… This is the glory that realizes God’s at work, somehow, in all of this. This is the kind of trust, that comes from knowing God. Not just knowing about Him, knowing Him.

That will change us, even a it impacts the country.

For if we enter into a time of revival, it will not matter who wins the election.

Lord, reveal the work of the Holy Spirit in this world, Help us to trust you more than we fear, more than we are hurting, more than we have learned to hate…and heal us . AMEN!

Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Do We? Do We Really?

do we know what “sin” means?

Devotional Thought of the Day:

You people aren’t faithful to God! Don’t you know that if you love the world, you are God’s enemies? And if you decide to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. 5 Do you doubt the Scriptures that say, “God truly cares about the Spirit he has put in us”? James 4:4-5 CEV

1002      To save mankind, Lord, you died on the Cross. And yet for one mortal sin you condemn a man to a hapless eternity of suffering. How much sin must offend you, and how much I ought to hate it!

I have to wonder, do we hate sin?

Do we hate any and all idolatry?

Do we hate it when people use God’s name (or titles) as cuss words, or damn others with it, or just don’t call on Him?

Do we hate it wen people don’t take time to find the rest and recovery they need, for God is their fortress? Do we get righteously angry when others steal that time that others are supposed to spend with God?

Do we hate it when people dishonor their parents, or rebel against any parental authority over them?

Do we hate it when people hurt others? What about when they refuse to help others in need? Others that God put in their life, so they could help them?

Do we hate it when people try to break up marriages, or say that marriage isn’t needed, that it isn’t a gift? Or take advantage of others for personal gain?

Do we hate it when people become victims of others, when their livelihoods are taken?

Do we hate it when people have their reputations damaged, either by lies, or by a presentation of their faults that was specifically meant to hurt them?

What about when people are envious, when people want what others have, more than they are happy that God entrusted them with that blessing?

These are hard questions, but what happens if we don’t ask them?

And one final question,

If we don’t hate sin, how can we truly rejoice in the mercy that forgives them at the cost of Christ’s death?

Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

The Secret to Getting Close to God

Devotional Thought for our day:

We have run to God for safety. Now his promises should greatly encourage us to take hold of the hope that is right in front of us. 19 This hope is like a firm and steady anchor for our souls. In fact, hope reaches behind the curtain and into the most holy place. Hebrews 6:18b–19 (CEV)

969      We Catholics have to go through life being apostles, with God’s light and God’s salt. We should have no fear, and we should be quite natural; but with so deep an interior life and such close union with Our Lord that we may shine out, preserving ourselves from corruption and from darkness, and spread around us the fruits of serenity and the effectiveness of Christian doctrine.

Thus all the curses pronounced after the fall are a blessing in disguise. They direct us back to God. Like the curses in Hosea 2 (read it!), they are God’s whisperings of love to us in our wilderness exile, enticing us back to Him, our first and true love, by the hard way of suffering and death and the failure of our million little idols

I get a lot of advertisements, all telling me how to grow my church, or be a better pastor, or to be a more dynamic Christian. On occasion, I will look into them, even interact with them. On even fewer occasions, I manage to turn off my cynicism. You see, as I have done this, I have never asked how my church was spiritually. Whether people were reconciling with God, and with each other.

Never been asked whether my people were being drawn closer to God…

That is the key point… that is the question we need to be asking ourselves, are we being drawn closer to God, are we more aware of His presence, for then we can take a hold of His promises, confident of His faithfulness. This is the interior life that St. Josemaria speaks of, linking that life to the not only a less anxious life, but our ability to be seen as God’s special people.

The challenge is how God draws us to Himself. which Kreeft (in green) speaks clearly to, our being drawn closer is out of desperation. That is the unique benefit of the disciplinary curses God places on those who rebel, who sin, who worship and have faith in other things, rather than entrusting their lives to His care.

You want to be drawn closer to God? Then let Him remove the idols, let Him strip you of your sins, removing the grip they have on your life. It will not be easy, but these curses that we live under, when we turn from Him are there to drive us back to God. They are there to remind us of His care and His love.

These curses aren’t blessings, they are used to draw us closer to God, to help realize we need our Creator.

We need to be thankful for such discipline, for a God who loves us enough to call us to repentance. That is how He will preserve us from corruption, correcting us, burdening out consciousness so that we run to Him. The more mature we get in the faith, the less time it takes to start running back into His arms. The closer we draw to Him, the more His word, and His sacraments mean to us.

This flies in the face of most spiritual growth practices, where we are told what to do, and how to do it, and the promise is made that if we do, we will become holier, we will become stronger in our faith, because WE have exercised it. If it depends on you and I, our faith will not grow stronger, we won’t run to God, our pride and narcissism will prevent it.

Spend time with God, let Him call you to repentance, and delight in His mercy. And when you find yourselves being disciplined… don’t run and hide, unless it is running back to Him.

God is with you! Remember to let Him be God! AMEN


Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 120.

Be Real with God…

Devotional Thought of the Day:

1  Shout praises to the LORD! Praise God in his temple. Praise him in heaven, his mighty fortress. 2  Praise our God! His deeds are wonderful, too marvelous to describe. 3  Praise God with trumpets and all kinds of harps. 4  Praise him with tambourines and dancing, with stringed instruments and woodwinds. 5  Praise God with cymbals, with clashing cymbals. 6  Let every living creature praise the LORD. Shout praises to the LORD! Psalm 150:1-6 (CEV)

5  Your anger lasts a little while, but your kindness lasts for a lifetime. At night we may cry, but when morning comes we will celebrate. Psalm 30:5 (CEV)

965      I have been thinking of all the priests throughout the world. Help me to pray for the fruitfulness of their apostolates. ”My brother in the priesthood, please speak always about God and, when you really do belong to him, your conversations will never be monotonous.”

The individual’s interaction with God is never dull or routine. At least, it should not be.

There are going to be times of great joy, and times of sorrow and grief. There will be times were we lash out in pain and anger, and times were His comfort will be all we have, for we are crushed by despair. Every emotion that we feel can and should be revealed by us to God, for He knows how we feel.

He even knows how we feel when it becomes necessary for Him to correct us. The hurt and pain we feel, when we admit we have sinned, the grief and shame that comes with the guilt.

If this is true for the individual, it should be true for the church as well.. We are to laugh and cry together (see Romans 12:15), therefore our worship services should have true emotions in them.

That is why we should be emotional as we speak about God, the God we know, the God in whom we are not afraid to cry or laugh, for we know His love. That is why we plead with be to let Him reconcile them to Himself. Growing comfortable in His presence is not about taking God for granted, but letting Him see us as we are….

And knowing He loves us.

Allowing our emotions to show doesn’t mean putting on false displays, or manipulating the congregation. It means simply living life, comfortable in the presence of God.

Let’s be real with Him, and in our communities… Amen!

Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

An Intense Faith

Devotional Thought for this Day

7  Our LORD, punish the Edomites! Because the day Jerusalem fell, they shouted, “Completely destroy the city! Tear down every building!” 8  Babylon, you are doomed! I pray the Lord’s blessings on anyone who punishes you for what you did to us. 9  May the Lord bless everyone who beats your children against the rocks! Psalm 137:7-9 (CEV)

896      At this time—and always!—when the Lord wants his seed to spread in a divine diffusion among the different surroundings, he also wants the extension not to lessen in intensity. And you have the clear and supernatural mission of helping to ensure that this intensity is not lost.

The passage in Psalm 139 bothered me for decades. To an extent, it still does. The retribution, the revenge the psalmist proposes seems over the top, it seems beyond belief. How could a follower of God write such a horrid peace, how could they wish that kind of pain on someone else.?

How is this loving their enemies and praying for someone who persecutes them?

The intensity of the faith is some good, the way it ovices itself, perhaps not so much?

Then I see the power of addiction, the brokenness of those who have been abused, the heartache of those betrayed by a close friend, and I want to use that passage to justify praying for revenge, asking God to crush those who cause such damage.

And am I wrong?

Yes, if the enemy is another human.

No, if the enemies are the demonic forces that tempt, that kill, that try to blot out the image of God created in mankind.

I need to be praying for those who seem to be the cause of such, praying for God to reach their heart, to circumcise their hearts, even as I need mine to be. To free them from the enslavement to sin that creates the havoc in their lives, which spreads like a virus, affecting all around them.

This is the intensity we need in our faith, that dear Josemaria speaks of, that focuses our battle where it should be, crushing the gates of hell which tries to stop the power of the gospel.

This is the seed which must be sowed, in more and more places, but not with any less intensity.

May we increase in our intensity, may we realize the damage the powers of hell try to create in life, and may our hearts be set on seeing God’s love free and heal those who have been so damaged.

Lord, Lead us into this battle, and protect us, we pray. AMEN!

Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Learn to Know God…. intimately

Devotional Thought of the Day:

8  “So now, with God as our witness, and in the sight of all Israel—the LORD’s assembly—I give you this charge. Be careful to obey all the commands of the LORD your God, so that you may continue to possess this good land and leave it to your children as a permanent inheritance. 9  “And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 10  So take this seriously. The LORD has chosen you to build a Temple as his sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work.” 1 Chronicles 28:8-10 (NLT2)

865      He came on earth because omnes homines vult salvos fieri, he wants to redeem the whole world. While you are at your work, shoulder to shoulder with so many others, never forget that there is no soul that does not matter to Christ!

David’s words to Solomon are worth looking deeply into, they are the words he gives, as he hands over the Kingdom. Of great importance to David is the building of the Temple, the building of the place were God would put His name, that people may know they are forgiven, where they may find they are still His people. Not just the people of Israel, but people who are foreigners, who are strangers, who are…different.

When David talks of God’s commands, he is not talking merely about the “do” and “do nots” found in Scripture. He is talking about all that God established, all the God called into existence. He is not just talking about the covenant terms, but the promises. He’s not just talking about the curses, but about the blessings, especially the blessing of God making us His people.

That is why David talks about us knowing God intimately, for only in that relationship can we understand that God is about far more than obedience to the laws, that He is about knowing us, and us knowing Him. It is then that the laws slide away, that our brokenness is laid into His hands. THat every soul matters to Jesus, that He would, through His church, draw all people to the Father.

Walk with Him, let Him draw out of you everything that has poisoned your life, that has turned you away from Him. As He draws you to Him, seek Him, knowing His love will see you through, even as it cleans and heals you.

This is why David so badly wanted to build the temple, why it was his son’s greatest duty and work. Not for the edifice, but that people could know God the Father, drawn to Him by Jesus. May we see the same done today!
Amen!



Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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