Category Archives: st josemaria escriva

Can You Hear Him NOW? Can I?

Devotional Thought for this day:

Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 (CSBBible)

When Luther’s puppy116 happened to be at the table, looked for a morsel from his master, and watched with open mouth and motionless eyes, he [Martin Luther] said, “Oh, if I could only pray the way this dog watches the meat! All his thoughts are concentrated on the piece of meat. Otherwise he has no thought, wish, or hope.”

The workers in the marketplace had all day to spare. The one who buried his talent wanted to kill the passing hours. The one who should have been looking after the vineyard went off elsewhere. They all prove insensitive to the great task the Master has entrusted to each and every Christian, that of seeing ourselves as his instruments, and acting accordingly, so that we may co-redeem with him, and of offering up our entire lives in the joyful sacrifice of surrendering ourselves for the good of souls.

There was a commercial series that ran for a long time. It had a man walking around, in all sorts of places, asking someone on his cell phone, “can you hear me now?” In Deserts, forests, rain, sun, no matter where or how he was, he always made sure he was connected to someone. (we never did hear whether they could hear him)

As I read in 1 Samuel this morning, I realized that Saul’s issue was that kind of issue. He couldn’t hear God, and even when he could, too many things drowned out what he heard.

Saul was so unlike the dog who focused on the food forgetting everything else. He was more like the one who buried the treasure entrusted to him. Or the ones who abandoned the vineyard or the sheep because the wolves were near.

I am not any better, for just a moment ago, while writing this, an ad for a Can-Am Ryker caught my attention. I lost my focus on what God was trying to communicate to me. I lost track of this idea of focusing on Him so completely that His task becomes ours. So completely that we don’t think of the cost to us, but the blessing of others, as they come to know the God we say we love.

But how do we grow in our ability to pay attention to God? How do we mitigate the distractions? I do not believe it is something we force ourselves to do as if we simply whip our bodies into submission. It cannot be, for even the most disciplined people will eventually fail and give up.

I think Luther was on to something as he referenced the dog. The mongrel knows the meat’s taste, and it is beyond his power to not respond. He locks in on it, using every tool to make it his own; pleading eyes,  speed, power, all of the tools to try and gain that which their heart and stomach are focused.

The Psalms testify to this desire as well!

1  As a deer longs for flowing streams, so I long for you, God. 2  I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God?
Psalm 42:1-2 (CSBBible)

Some things cause us to respond, we don’t have to even think, because we have learned to treasure them.  The smell of coffee does it for some, the smell of bacon for others. It might be playing that perfect instrument or driving a particular car, being on a golf course, finding the perfect shoe; these things are triggers for us. Once we sampled it, we have to return to it.

Following God is like that if our focus is on Him. The more we’ve experienced His love, the more we can’t live without it.  The more we see Him work through us. The more we realize our role in redeeming this world, the more we want to see more people freed from the power of sin, Satan’s influence, and the fear of death, the more we want to see it happen and again.

Ministering to others becomes our meat that draws our attention, for there we know we are in God’s presence, we know He is there, and the transformation He has done in our lives…. A transformation that means He can work through us… as He ministers to others.

Lord, help us hunger for You and then satisfy that hunger by working in and thru us. We pray this in the name of the Father, the Son†, and the Holy Spirit!  AMEN!



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), 37–38.

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

Are You Tired? Wondering if you are on the right road?

Devotional Thought for the Year:

You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths. 4  I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe. Psalm 23:3b-4 (CEV)

I love to speak of paths and ways, because we are travelers, journeying to our home in heaven, our Father’s land. But don’t forget that, though a path may have some particularly difficult stretches, and may occasionally involve wading across a river or passing through an almost impenetrable wood, as a rule it will be quite passable and hold no surprises for us. The danger lies in routine, in imagining that God cannot be here, in the things of each instant, because they are so simple and ordinary!

I am tired.

In the last year, almost 10 percent of my congregation passed away. Not one from Covid. And that was only a small part of the trauma my people endured…

This year seems to be competitive so far. Yesterday, I received news of a mentor whose health is failing. Then, a message that a staff member’s sister is in ICU after a drunk hit her head-on. I was with my mom, who had a procedure that confirmed another complicated procedure is needed. Four other people with other serious health issues came to my attention.

I am tired.

Did I say that?

If I am honest, there are days I wonder if I am on the right path. One of my elders joked that we change the church’s name so that trouble and trauma would have a more challenging time finding us. I wonder what I had done, which caused all this mess and all this trauma. Am I the bad luck charm that causes all the trauma, all the stress, the crap that invades the world around us?

This path that St. Josemaria mentioned is one that is one that has particularly difficult stretches. It seems that we are going through such a time right now. Like the forests in a Tolkein novel, the forest seems impenetrable, the dark valleys where things that terrify surround us. ( I think those show up in his novels because he endured them as he journeyed with Jesus.)

It is those dark valleys that David walked through that caused Psalm 23 to be written. The CEV translation broke the sentences a little differently, which hit me this morning. For before and after the mention of those dark valleys, there is the assurance of the presence of God. Hie leading, His protection, His PRESENCE.

Amid the weariness, hearing this is so needed. St. Josemaria notes that danger is found when we imagine God is not there… that He is not in each instant. I know that, but I need to hear it as well.

He is here… HE IS HERE!

Realizing that I can find the rest I need, even if it is only for a moment in a praise song, in a word that reminds me of His love, His mercy, His presence.

When we realize that, our weariness changes form. It changes, no longer communicated by groans, to that with sighs of peace For we know the hope created by our destination; and we know Who it is to guide us on the journey.

Be still, find your rest in Jesus, with whom we have died at the cross so that we are raised in His glory and peace.

If you don’t understand this, please give me a call – or drop me a message. These days, this forest is too challenging to take on, on your own.

Fazio, Mariano . Last of the Romantics: St. Josemaria in the Twenty-First Century (p. 149). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition. (taken from Friends of God by St Josemaria Escriva , p 313-314)

About that $20 you found on the ground…Love Your Neighbor

stack of american paper money on black background
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Devotional Thought of the Day

If you see your brother Israelite’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it; make sure you return it to your brother. 2 If your brother does not live near you or you don’t know him, you are to bring the animal to your home to remain with you until your brother comes looking for it; then you can return it to him. 3 Do the same for his donkey, his garment, or anything your brother has lost and you have found. You must not ignore it.a 4 If you see your brother’s donkey or ox fallen down on the road, do not ignore it; help him lift it up. Deuteronomy 22:1-4 CSB

Along with mortification of our character, this “laying down one’s life for others,” this imitation of the Lord, and transformation of all our relationships with others into opportunities to live charity, implies a spirit of service. Turn your gaze constantly to Jesus who, without ceasing to be God, humbled himself and took the nature of a slave, in order to serve us. Only by following in his direction will we find ideals that are worthwhile. Love seeks union, identification with the beloved. United to Christ, we will be drawn to imitate his life of dedication, his unlimited love, and his sacrifice unto death. Christ brings us face to face with the ultimate choice: either we spend our lives in selfish isolation, or we devote ourselves and all our energies to the service of others.

You probably won’t see your neighbor’s ox or sheep walk into your yard this afternoon (unless you are my friend Tara), but you might see a $20 bill on the ground.

What do you do? Does it depend on whether anyone is there? Do you try and justify keeping it, saying you need it just as much as anyone else?

Do you turn it in, hoping that no one claims it in 10 days?

What if it’s $100, or a wallet with $5000?

Does it make a difference?

Deuteronomy would have you look for your brother/neighbor or wait for them to return. Some might say that seems unreasonable for $20, but it might not for a more considerable amount.

Dare we ask what Jesus would do in this situation? Or what someone like St. Josemaria would do? Would we want to face the question of what would be the “loving” thing to do? What would be that which sets aside our own self-serving nature? What looks to the best of our neighbor, to the best for others?

We have to learn to consider ourselves again as part of a community, part of a family, and a group that cares for each other. It is not a closed group either, but a group that brings us all together; a group, a community that is willing to do what it takes, embrace the hardship, embrace the challenges, sacrifice saying what we want to say what they need.

This is not because we have to go to heaven. It is something far more of an intimate need than that. This is who we were created to be, men and women made in the image of Jesus. This is when we find the true self, this is where we become genuinely self-actualized, as Maslow described it. This is where life begins, as our identity is so clearly reflective of our Lord.

What do you do with the twenty doesn’t matter as much as how you process being responsible for it.

God’s peace in the process…

dt



Fazio, Mariano . Last of the Romantics: St. Josemaria in the Twenty-First Century (pp. 144-145). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

The False Dichotomy Paralyzing the Church

Photo by Ric Rodrigues on Pexels.com

Devotional Thought of the Day:
In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all— the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. 2  People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. 3  The LORD will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore. Micah 4:1-3 (NLT2)

After getting the heart filled with the Holy Ghost, it is well to get the head filled with the very facts and truth that should be there. The Bible speaks of grace and knowledge. They go well together.

In particular I should like to concentrate on the phrase “he went on his travels.” I come immediately to the conclusion that we Christians must not abandon the vineyard where God has placed us. We must direct our energies to the work before us, within these walls, toiling in the winepress. And then taking our rest in the tower when our day’s work is over. If we were to give in to comfort, it would be like telling Jesus, “Look, my time is mine, not yours. I don’t want to tie myself down to looking after your vineyard.”

500 years ago, the Church was torn apart because it wouldn’t take the time
to discuss the relationship between faith and works. Each side demonized the other, and rather than working it out, they polarized, and the Church was torn in two, and then into a thousand pieces.

These days, I am not sure the Church is being torn asunder, as much as the
arguments are paralyzing it. False dichotomies appear or are accidentally
generated. The discussion over the dichotomy distracts the Church from being who She was created to be.

I experienced that this morning, as a friend put up a meme talking about
mission and method. One was to be loved more than another, or else the Church would die. I heard it as an exclusion, and I know there are those in our brotherhood who would say the inverse is true, that exclude the
“other” and mission is worthless – because the Church is already
dead.

And for 20 years as a Lutheran and 16 with another denomination ( technically a non=denominational movement), I have watched people make this argument.

Mission versus method. We gotta being doing stuff, or the Church dies. If we do stuff the wrong way, the Church is dead. We have to be preaching the gospel, not doctrine. If we don’t teach our people, our gospel may be false.

All the time, we are discussing this, writing books about this, fighting for
power in our denomination so we can make sure everyone else gets it right… we are not being the Church.

And we end up without a mission or a method.

Look at the passage of Micah – it ignores the dichotomy. People will be drawn to God (mission) and walk in HIS paths (method). The Lord settles their disputes. The blogs, youtube videos, and other weapons become tools to use in the harvest, for the Lord has ended the disputes.

It is not one or the other; it is them working together in Christ. Mission and
Method, Grace, and Knowledge.

Our role, our vocation is not to be found in arguing this, but in working the
vineyard, in sharing the reason we have hope.

Immanuel – Christ with us. The Holy Spirit dwelling in us. Guiding us in
righteousness.

both. and…

Because of His promise, hell cannot withstand the onslaught of a church guided by the Spirit has His mission and His method.

A. W. Tozer and Marilynne E. Foster, Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 366-Day Devotional (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2007).

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


Evangelism and the Toboggan Tape…

Devotional Thought of the Day:
18  You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. 19  When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. 20  For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Matthew 10:18-20 (NLT2)

For a Christian apostolate is something instinctive. It is not something added onto his daily activities and his professional work from the outside. I have repeated it constantly, since the day that our Lord chose for the foundation of Opus Dei! We have to sanctify our ordinary work, we have to sanctify others through the exercise of the particular profession that is proper to each of us, in our own particular state in life. . . . We have to act in such a way that others will be able to say, when they meet us: this man is a Christian, because he does not hate, because he is willing to understand, because he is not a fanatic, because he is willing to make sacrifices, because he shows that he is a man of peace, because he knows how to love.9

There is a great modern error which I want to mention: it is that the coming of the Spirit happened once for all, that the individual Christian is not affected by it.… This error asserts that the coming of the Holy Spirit is an historic thing, an advance in the dispensational workings of God; but that it is all settled now and we need give no further thought to it. It is all here and we have it all, and if we believe in Christ that is it, and there isn’t anything more.…

Somewhere in New Hampshire there is a cassette tape that would bring a smile to the baddest of Scrooges, that would make a Grinch chuckle uncontrollably. And it is the perfect illustration of Evangelism.

I may have been 5, my brother 7? When we descended the stairs on Christmas morning, there were the usual stockings filled with lifesavers books and other things. New underwear, new socks, a new shirt or two. But there were two special gifts that we had to share. A Radio Shack cassette recorder and the TOBOGGAN!!!

The first thing we were to record was what we got for Christmas. My mom wanted us to record our gifts, beore we tested the big gift out. So I started that. I would mention the lifesavers, and Steve would yell – and a Tobaggon, I say new pajamas, and a TOBOGGAN, a new hot wheels car, and A TOBOGGAN. This went on for 10-15 minutes, with TOBOGGAN becoming a comma, but louder and louder each time.

So excited was my brother about going out on the Tobaggon, that it was all he could think of! ( I knew who would be dragging it back up the hill each time… so I was excited, but I wasn’t as excited!)

Our mission, our apostolate has to become like my brother’s determination to mention the Tobaggon as the greatest of gifts he had ever received! (Uhm … Steve – it was given to us, by the way!) We have to be that excited, that we just tell people about the Lord who has come to us,

That is the impact of the Spirit (when we aren’t theologically quenching Him) as He works in our life. Showing us a fortaste of the glory of God in which we shall share, comforting us, making all things work for good for those in love with God, because we know He loves us.

That is why we don’t have to worry, because we have been so aware of the presence of God, the words come right out, as we share with people the reason we have hope – because of the love of God… because He loves US?!!!! How amazing is that?

We are as enamored with His love, as a child is with Christmas presents. The way to do this is simple, compare what life is like without Jesus to what it is now> Now you are assured your sins are forgiven, that you are no longer broken and alone, and that eternity, celebrating with God is coming…

Hear the Spirit, open your eyes and see what the scriptures reveal to youabout Jesus and you!

And may you truly be as excited about His gift, as a child receiving a tobaggon!

Quoted from Escriva, Josemaria, Christ is Passing By, in Fazio, Mariano . Last of the Romantics: St. Josemaria in the Twenty-First Century (p. 109). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

A. W. Tozer and Marilynne E. Foster, Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 366-Day Devotional (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2007).

Church on Sunday, Work on Monday… Why do we have such burdens?

Can we bear to see the pain,
in order to see the beauty?

Devotional Thought of the Day:

With your faithful love, you will lead the people you have redeemed; you will guide them to your holy dwelling with your strength. Exodus 15:13 CSB

Poor and lukewarm is the Church that flees from and avoids the cross!

For many of our contemporaries, though, work is “a tedious function”: they see their professional obligations—intellectual or manual, of public relevance or unfolding quietly within the four walls of home—as a weight that must be carried “because there’s no way out of it.” Some live for the weekend and try to bear with the fatigues of work with the consolation that their well-deserved break is coming. Thus, they condemn themselves to five days of suffering and two of fleeting enjoyment, for the gray monotony of the next Monday appears immediately on the horizon. Others imagine that work is a divine punishment, the fruit of original sin. They forget that when God created man and woman and placed them in the Garden of Eden ut operantur, to work, he gave this command before the Fall of our first parents.

Yesterday, I had the honor of confirming 4 young adults in the faith. Over the time we studied together, I hope I gave them a different view of church than many adults have. A way that Fazio expressed above regarding work, the idea that we have to go “because there’s no way out of it.” That church is somehow an invasion, God trying to take his chunk out of the time of rest that people are owed for their back breaking work.

I think people need to see both work and church in a different way. Not as tedious things they must do, but as a time they are able to work alongside the God who loves them. Managers and bosses can encourage this, giving people the freedom to do their work in a way that encourages their artistic sense, or gives them a measure of satisfaction and joy.

We need to do this with church as well. To help people run to the cross, because they know the faithful love that is revealed there. They know how singing and even dancing in the presence of God, no dancing with God, is more fulfilling than anything else. That the feast of the Lord’s Supper is something to be celebrated, a time of great joy and wonder. We need to be drawn to the cross, not purpose driven.

This is the picture Moses drew for the Israelites in Exodus, as God guides His people into His presence, into their home. To see the faithful love of God at work in those moments, and to see it infect people who take that joy of being home with God into their work places, recognizing His presence there. He would guide them there, patiently, just as He guides us…

To that place where we look on awe, realizing the strength of the love that endured all of it, from the pain of the betrayal to the beating, from the mocking voices ot the tearing pain of the spikes which pierced His hands and feet. Hebrews tells us that He not only endured it, He did it for the joy set before Him, the joy of reuniting us with the Father, of bringing us home.

When we are there..at the foot of the cross, it changes everything. No longer is work an obligation, no longer is church a duty to do, a burden laid on us. It is a time of refreshment, of joy, of being reminded that God surrounds us in peace. That peace extends out from these few hours on Sunday, and makes even work come alive.

For we are His people…His beloved people, and He is with us… even if all we do is work in the kitchen…

Lord, help the people i minister to see Your love for them, and rejoice in it.

Pope Francis, A Year with Pope Francis: Daily Reflections from His Writings, ed. Alberto Rossa (New York; Mahwah, NJ; Toronto, ON: Paulist Press; Novalis, 2013), 366.

Fazio, Mariano . Last of the Romantics: St. Josemaria in the Twenty-First Century (pp. 105-106). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

The Paradox of Sharing God’s love with others.

Devotional Thought for the Day:

1  Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. 2  I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. Romans 10:1-2 (NLT2)

49  “For everyone will be tested with fire. 50  Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.” Mark 9:49-50 (NLT2)

In apostolate, respect for the inner sanctum of personal conscience is essential: “It is necessary to banish any form of intolerance, coercion and violence in the dealings of some men with others. In apostolic action, rather, especially in apostolic action, we want no slightest trace of coercion. God wants to be served in freedom; therefore, any apostolate that failed to respect the freedom of consciences would not be honest.”

It should be simple, but it is a strange paradox.

The greatest gift we can give to a person, to reveal to them the love of God, we can’t force them to accept. We can’t try to overwhelm them with the logic, we can’t force them to believe.

I have struggled with this most of my ministry, as a lay person and as a pastor. I have struggled with so desiring family and friends to know God’s love. Even to the point of ringing their stubborn necks as they reject God. The opposite approach doesn’t work either – to leave them in peace, hoping and praying tht they might come to their senses.

Mark’s gospel seems contradictory – for salt attcks, it stings, even while it preserves and brings healing. How can we sting and bring peace? How can we long, with God, that all come to repentence, and put our heart into the ministry of reconciliation. How do we correct those who have misdirected zeal, who long for justice without righteousness, who long for love without morals, who long for heaven on earth, without a relationship with the Lord of life?

Is there no easy way to do this? Is there no short and simple approach to saving the world? Can’t we find some Machivellian ruse that brings them into God’s kingdom, and creates enough fear that they live a life free of sin and doubt?

The simple answer is to have faith in God. To simply share with people why they need God, because of sin and death. And then share that God si there. merciful and loving. Then the hardest part – to trust the Holy Spirit to work in them. Just like we have to trust the Holy Spirit to work in us.

To realize the heart of God, and simple live in that heart. To allow God’s message to course through you, and be communicated in love, and know that God will cut open the stong heart, and bring healing. For the will fall in love with God without our coercion, as the Holy Spirit brings them into His presence.

Know the God you have faith in.. and trust in… His desire will make His word, spoken through you, not return void.

Fazio, Mariano . Last of the Romantics: St. Josemaria in the Twenty-First Century (p. 91). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Trust God in this…it Will Only Hurt a Moment or Two.

If Michelangelo saw this in a block
of Marble, what does God see
in you?

Devotion for our Day:

6  The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love him with all your heart and all your soul so that you will live. Deuteronomy 30:6 (CSBBible)

IT IS SAID THAT MICHELANGELO, contemplating the unworked block of marble that had arrived at his studio, declared, “The statue is there, inside.” His labor consisted of removing the extra material so that the image he had in mind could appear. The day I met the founder of Opus Dei, he used that example to explain to the group of young people that we had to let God work in our souls and consent with docility to his getting rid of whatever was extra so that the face of Christ could appear in our lives: that we were called precisely to be other Christs, Christ himself. And the labor of identifying ourselves with Christ is the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

So carnal is the body of Christians which composes the conservative wing of the Church, so shockingly irreverent are our public services in some quarters, so degraded are our religious tastes in still others that the need for power could scarcely have been greater at any time in history. I believe we should profit immensely were we to declare a period of silence and self-examination during which each one of us searched his own heart and sought to meet every condition for a real baptism of power from on high.

The Michalangelo discussion came up about a week ago, as I talked with a friend about the need to let God circumcise the church. His response was that it was too graphic. But it is the same concept, and maybe a little less painful than Michelangelo’s solution.

Surgeon or Sculpter?

A very sharp knife, or a chisel and hammer?

The illustration is much the same, God has to reveal who we are, by eliminating all that is not reflective of Jesus. All the sin, all the anxiety, all the resentment, guilt and shame.

To reveal what the Artist sees in us. For God, and God alone, sees the image of Christ in us. It is there, it always has been. Others can surely see all that has been added, all that is marred, all that is disfigured. An in many of our lives, we bear as little resemblance to what God sees as a cube of marble represents the Pieta. (that image is better than the Apostle Paul’s!)

We need to realize God is doing this in our lives. We need to realize He is doing this in the church as well, and I feel, especially the church in America. We desperately need to cut away, chip and hammer at us, so that all that remains is the image of Jesus. Will it hurt? Perhaps, but the Holy Spirit is here to comfort and heal us. You, me, our local churches, the One, Holy, catholic and Apostolic Church.

We need to be still, and know He is the LORD.

The work will only take a moment….





Fazio, Mariano . Last of the Romantics: St. Josemaria in the Twenty-First Century (p. 49). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

A. W. Tozer and Marilynne E. Foster, Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 366-Day Devotional (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2007).

What I Want to Be When I Grow Up….

Devotional Thought of the Day:
1  Take me as your pattern, just as I take Christ for mine.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (NJB)

For the Christian, the Mass also becomes an encounter of love. St. Josemaría lived it this way, and many are the testimonies of those who left renewed after participating in a Mass he celebrated. For example, Antonio Ivars Moreno, a student who attended a Mass celebrated by the founder in Valencia one day in 1939, notes:
“I didn’t miss a word. Not a single gesture. When he celebrated Mass he made all of us there feel that he had penetrated the depths of the great mystery of our Redemption. That Mass was truly the same sacrifice of Calvary without the shedding of blood.”
There was no room for distractions.
20 He kissed the altar, aware that he was kissing Christ himself. During the celebration, he knew himself to be at the center of the universe, of history, contemplated by God the Father and identified with Jesus Christ, the Eternal High Priest. He possessed a very lively awareness of the cosmic meaning of the Eucharist: “When I say Dominus vobiscum
(The Lord be with you), even if I am alone with the one assisting me, I say it to the whole Church, to all the creatures of the earth, to the whole of creation, to the birds and the fish, too.”
21 He proclaimed the Word with the conviction that its pages were authentic letters from God to men, inspired by the Holy Spirit. At the moment of the presentation of the gifts, he brought there, together with the bread and wine, many intentions, and made himself spokesman for the sorrows, joys, yearnings, and plans of all humanity, beginning with those of his own spiritual sons and daughters.

When I was young, one of the nuns I had for a teacher sugggested we imitate saints for Halloween, rather than pirates or Spiderman or a police officer, fireman or soldier. The goal was to be able to share with others the saint’s story, and why we chose them.

I used to take the easy way out – and look at St Francis. Good guy, a bit odd, not well understood. I could ge that. I think now, I would choose St. Josemaria, and find a pattern of life in his life, where he was able to pattern his after Jesus’s life.

The above quote I think explains what I would desire more than anything. That people, when attending worship, would realize that they are in the presence of God, and that together, we have penetrated that great mystery of redemption. There are a few things, differences in practice because f thoelogy that need to be considered, but the general quote is that where i wish life could be found.

To be a spokesman for the sorrows, joys, yearnings and plans of all humanity, bringing them to Christ, Letting the Holy Spirit shepherd them, thorugh the word of God, and bring healing to them through the sacraments. What greater role could there be in life?WHat greater pattern to emulate?

TO help people see that God could work through one such as me, assuring them that He will make their lives a masterpiece? (that is the greatest role of the pastor/priest – to prove to people God can work in their lives, because he took wretches like us and has done so in our lives) It isn’t about us, we realize that each time we distribute the Lord’s Supper, each time we baptize a baby, or a 70 year old, or declare Christ’s forgiveness on those who are bring cleansed and renewed by the Spirit.

There is a pattern to long for, to have that impact on people, where they pay attention to the words we utter, because they are used to draw them closer to God….

Lord, I pray thatevery pastor, every priest would serve in such a way that this observation they declare to people is true, “The Lord is with You!” May that declaration convince their weary souls of this, and empower their love for another. AMEN!





Fazio, Mariano . Last of the Romantics: St. Josemaria in the Twenty-First Century (pp. 37-38). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

At the End of our Story, We Find He Protected us.

Devotional Thought of the Day:

16  All those who truly respected the LORD and honored his name started discussing these things, and when God saw what was happening, he had their names written as a reminder in his book. 17  Then the LORD All-Powerful said: You people are precious to me, and when I come to bring justice, I will protect you, just as parents protect an obedient child. 18  Then everyone will once again see the difference between those who obey me by doing right and those who reject me by doing wrong. Malachi 3:16-18 (CEV)

No man can be renewed without as real and true a manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s energy as he felt at first, because the work is as great, and flesh and blood are as much in the way now as ever they were. Let thy personal weakness, O Christian, be an argument to make thee pray earnestly to thy God for help.

Deliver us, Lord, we beseech you, from every evil and grant us peace in our day, so that aided by your mercy we might be ever free from sin and protected from all anxiety, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Do you want to accompany Jesus closely, very closely? . . . Open the Holy Gospel and read the Passion of our Lord. But don’t just read it: live it. There is a big difference. To read is to recall something that happened in the past; to live is to find oneself present at an event that is happening here and now, to be someone taking part in those scenes. Then, allow your heart to open wide; let it place itself next to our Lord. And when you notice it trying to slip away—when you see that you are a coward, like the others—ask forgiveness for your cowardice and mine.

There are calendar year ends, fiscal year ends, liturgical year ends, and for me, the end of a year of devotional readings. That is why the reading from Malachi heads this list, the promise of God writing our names in the book, and offering His care, His protection to us. While we do not always realize this, this is our story, this God who loves and protects and comforts us!

The other readings touch on the same theme, the work of God in our lives, protecting us from the work of Satan, from the struggle with dying, even from our own broken nature.

Spurgeon makes it clear, we need the Holy Spirit working to bring us to His gift of repentance, As he notes, our flesh and blood just loves to ge tin the way! And so we struggle with God breathing life into our exhausted souls..

We Lutherans, as well as the Protestants need to pray the prayer above from the Catholic mass, remembering that what we are praying was granted to us as we were united to Christ,, united to Him in His death, and HIs resurrection. ANd as we realize this, we find that we are protected, not just from evil, but from the anxiety that obscures the hope from knowing Jesus will return for us. As I read this prayer this morning, the words poured out, they are what God is doing in our lives! By praying it, we realize twhat God is doing in our lives

And finally, in Mr. Fazio’s recounting of the life of St. Josemaria, in this encouragement not just to read the gospel, but live it, we live in the time of deliverance, where Jesus saves us. you and me.

And yes, Satan will try to cause it to slowly slip away… and then our answer must be to cry out to God, to depend on His presence, and the blessings He pours out on us, when we are delivered….

We need to pray for each other in those moments, that we do not slink away like a coward, but instead our encouragement stimulates us to run toward Him… knowing and counting on His love.


C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).

Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997), 687.

Fazio, Mariano . Last of the Romantics: St. Josemaria in the Twenty-First Century (p. 35). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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