When Sacrifice Becomes Mundane

02-28-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary MomentsTracy Earl Welliver, MTS

It seems to happen every year, like clockwork: we drag a bit, as we enter into the second week of Lent. On Ash Wednesday, we feel a bit like soldiers banging our shields, rushing into battle. “We’re ready, God!” our hearts cry out. “Transform us through sacrifice! Your will be done!”

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2nd Sunday of Lent

02-28-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

A pregnant woman was walking in the store and met an old friend. Her friend exclaimed, “You are absolutely beaming!” The new life God placed in her womb radiated throughout her body. It was brightly visible on her face and in her eyes. Transformation and change usually happen from the inside out. It is very rare that simply imposing structure from the outside does any good. Yes, it is true that routines and habits can change when things are done differently. But, for this change to last there has to be an interior renewal and metamorphosis as well. Simply regulating behavior and bringing someone into conformity with accepted protocols doesn’t mean their heart and soul come with them.

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Temptations

02-28-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Think how many temptations we might face in an ordinary day.

Growling at the breakfast table - the temptation to unkindness.

Arguing over who should change the baby this time - the temptation to selfishness.

Starting work late without permission - the temptation to slothfulness.

Losing your temper when a co-worker crashes your computer - the temptation to impatience.

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The Unlikely Suspects

02-21-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

Have you ever taken a nature walk? Have you leisurely strolled through a forest or field, with no real destination in mind and your only objective being receptivity to and observation of all God’s creation? Sometimes, Scripture readings can feel like a nature walk. All of salvation history plays out against the backdrop of the natural world, with all elements of God’s creation — plants and animals and the dust of the earth itself — turning in a supporting performance. How about Jesus in the hot and dusty desert, tempted, living “among the wild beasts?” Noah departed from his ark with the animals he rescued, observing God’s sign in the very clouds of the sky. Even God Himself, offering us salvation from original sin through the waters of baptism.

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Tell God all that is on your heart

02-21-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

Francois Fenelon, a seventeenth century Roman Catholic writer said this about prayer: "Tell God all that is on your heart, as one unloads one’s heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend.

Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, that He may purify them; tell Him your dislikes, that He may help you conquer them; talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them; show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil, your instability.

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It's Not About Us!

02-21-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

St. Oscar Romero said, “Aspire not to have more, but to be more.” These powerful words provide the perfect framework for a conversion oriented Lenten experience. God is giving us this Lenten sign to stop being concerned about what you have and focus on who you are. This requires that we create a desert space and listen more attentively for God to reveal His presence. It is all so wonderfully simple on the one hand and so incredibly challenging on the other. The message is simple: love God, neighbor, and self. Those simple words make great sense, but we struggle translating them into reality. Our attachments, compulsions, obsessions, addictions, routines, and busyness all anchor us to the “idol of the self,” keeping us mired in our compulsive need for self-aggrandizement. It’s not about us!

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The Gospel of Life

02-14-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

The Church, as a voice of the Gospel, proclaims the sacredness of all human life. Everyone created by God is fashioned in God’s image and has Divine DNA at the center of their soul. God never leaves what God creates but always remains intimately bound to what he has given form. Everyone has a place and because they have received the gift of Divine Blessing, nobody deserves to feel inferior, unworthy, unwanted, unclean or marginalized. Even the most broken of souls has a place.

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Don't be an Inactive Bystander

02-14-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

When Rosina Hernandez was in college, she once attended a rock concert at which one young man was brutally beaten by another. No one made an attempt to stop the beating. The next day she was struck dumb to learn that the youth had died as a result of the pounding. Yet neither she nor anyone else had raised a hand to help him. She could never forget the incident or her responsibility as an inactive bystander.

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Allow God Into Your Pain

02-07-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

If I only knew then what I know now, how different life would be. This sentiment, expressed in myriad ways, is found on every human being’s lips at one point or another. Life may have brought us to a vulnerable place where we see some of the poor choices we made and the effects they are having. Perhaps we fell into some destructive and dysfunctional relationships or behaviors and are finding how they held us captive. Our zeal and passion for life may have drifted away and we are waking up to the reasons apathy has taken hold.

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The Audacity of Holiness

02-07-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary MomentsTracy Earl Welliver, MTS

Do you know a holy person? I’m not talking about piety — that’s important, too, in its own way. But right now, I’m speaking of holiness.

St. Therese of Lisieux called holiness “a disposition of the heart that makes us humble and little in the arms of God, aware of our weakness, and confident — in the most audacious way — in His Fatherly goodness.”

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The Huddle

02-07-2021The Pastor's PenRev. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

In football they have a "huddle."

The goal of the huddle is to give you thirty seconds to call the play, that is why they give you a huddle.

At a professional football game there may be sixty thousand people watching you huddle, they don’t mind you taking thirty seconds to call the play.

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The Seven Last Words by Bishop Fulton Sheen

02-01-2021Recommended Reading

The Seven Last Words by Bishop Fulton Sheen, was written eighty years ago. Few books can match it for either retreat or Lenten spiritual reading. Christ's statements on Calvary, as recorded in the Gospels, are reflected upon and prayed over. This is a work of devotion meant to stimulate one another ever more heroically. The truly cosmic implications of the shattering events of Calvary are brought to the fore in these stirring reflections.