Saturday, March 26, 2016

Something Strange is Happening

From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday....
"Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”"

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Prayer of St. Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God's strength to pilot me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Lenten Reflectons: Healing

"But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him." 
Luke 22:51

When we come to Christ, we come for healing. Whatever the manifestation of our pain, whether physical, emotional or spiritual, healing lies at the center of our need. When we suffer, our attention is directed to the source of our pain, and with precision targeting, we fixate our desires on one thing: healing. And our prayer rises to the ears of God, "Please, Lord. No more of this!"     

"No more of this!", we pray to the Lord

No more violence.

No more death.  

No more lies.

No more fighting.

No more destroyed relationships.

No more pain.

No more suffering.

No more....

Lord, hear our prayer

"You can say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." - John Lennon  

We hope for a world in which "No more of this" will be and unnecessary cry. We declare these things, but words do not make them true. The enemy stands ready and waiting to respond with delight, "Yes!  MORE of this!  Much MORE of this!" 

Sin drags us down. 

We become more and more weak. 

Ready to give up. 

And we resolve to ourselves that we are just dreamers. The only one. 

Lord, we come to you in need of healing. We're broken in body, mind and spirit. Messed up from the day we were born. Yet you, in your love, grace and mercy, can mend all wounds, heal all of our hurts and repair all relationships. Come, Lord, and heal all that hemorrhages in our lives. Amen            


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Lenten Reflections: Tears

"Jesus wept." - John 11:35

Lent and Advent are spiritual journeys of faith for the follower of Christ. They stand as bookends to the year and give us balance. Yearly milestones to guide us as we walk through this world. One cannot exist without the other.

But as Advent is a carefully manicured path of joy and anticipation, Lent is a rocky trail laden with thorns.

Lent is a journey of tears as we make our way to Resurrection.   

"Jesus wept."  We weep.

Culture teaches us that tears are to be avoided. We harden ourselves. We avoid tears, because tears equate weakness. Culture teaches that weakness is to be avoided.

"I am a rock. I am an island."

"Jesus wept."

Only two words. The shortest of scripture, but deeper than the ocean of tears cried ever since.

Tears are cleansing. Tears are healing. Tears are release. Tears are strengthening. Tears prepare.

For as with Advent and Lent, laughing and weeping are emotions that cannot exist without the other.

They stand as emotional structure to guide us as we walk through this world.

Lord, as you wept, we weep as well. Remind us that in our sorrow, you join us and weep even now. Let our tears cleanse us as we make our way through Lent. Let us embrace them, knowing that they prepare us and empty us, so that laughter can return once again. Prepare us today for resurrection. Amen      

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Lenten Reflections: Violence

"But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear. “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword."

Matthew 26:51 

These words of Christ are much more inclusive than they may appear. Swords don't have to be drawn. Fists not need be clenched in anger. Words can cut far deeper than any physical weapon. The verbal battles that we wage can often turn more violent than entire wars. And the wounds that are inflicted are far worse than amputated limbs, shrapnel scars or paralyzed bodies.

Violence is violence.

Physical. Emotional. Spiritual. 

The antithesis of God's Kingdom.

"Love your enemies", but only if they look like you, sound like you, smell like you, believe like you, and above all else, agree with you 100%. 

When we put conditions on love, we create something that's not really love at all. Love has no conditions. Love cuts through the differences. Love breaks down walls that divide. Love transforms.

As I've journeyed through Lent this year, I am remind that our words can do more damage than the sword. Let's encourage one another by our words, rather than tearing each other down. And let us remember that everyone is worthy of our love, even the most despised of enemies. In fact, they may need it more than our closest friend.

Lord, You were met with violence of deed as well as word. Help us to do away with all violence in our lives; whether physical, emotional or spiritual. Pacify our actions, words and hearts that we may live in peace with all. 

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen                

Monday, March 7, 2016

Lenten Reflections: Escalation

"Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.  What do you think?”  “He is worthy of death,” they answered. Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him."

                                                            Matthew 26:65-67

Escalation. Pride's evil and deceptive ways widen. With each choice that Pride makes, the tensions in our relationships escalate. With each move of Pride, the battle is fueled and the ante is raised. More troops are sent in. We launch more offensives. Relationships don't die; they are murdered. Sin stands guilty as a war criminal. GUILTY. 

Anger gives birth to accusation. 

Accusation gives birth to action.

Action gives birth to violence. 

Violence gives birth to death.

Another relationship causality in the war of selfishness, with Pride leading the way. 

We count the costs of the war. We see the destruction. And yet we choose each weapon with great care, hoping for victory. 

Pride - 1  Relationships - 0 

Lent reveals to us that things are often backwards in the Kingdom of God. Pride has no place at the table. War in our relationships is unthinkable. Escalation becomes pacifism. And death becomes life. By living our lives through Christ, we find less need to slaughter our relationships, and more desire to heal them. We disarm ourselves, dismantle our military and end violence of any kind. Through Christ, we cherish each relationship as something of great value, more valuable than the temporary possessions we accumulate for ourselves. We count the cost of war, and realize that it's not worth it. 

Anger gives birth to forgiveness. 

Forgiveness gives birth to unity.

Unity gives birth to community.

Community gives birth to life. 

Lord, we realize that one of the most tragic losses in the war of Pride is relationships. So often we sacrifice those closest to us in order to protect the self. Help us to lay down our weapons and seek peace. Help us to cherish each relationship we have as more valuable than anything we possess, even life itself. Amen.              

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Lenten Reflections: Forth Sunday of Lent

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Matthew 11:28

Lent is a long journey. Four weeks are now in the rear view mirror. Four weeks under our feet. The soles of our shoes are wearing thin. The dust is building up on our hands and our faces are red from the sun. 

From Ash Wednesday to this point, most of us have faced many of the difficult aspects of who we really are. That's what Lent is all about.

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

Humiliated. Anger. Violence. Darkness. Pain. Guilt. All by simply looking in the mirror. 

Confronting our demons. Pride. Selfishness. Arrogance. Lies. Deception. Death.

Are you tired? Exhausted? Weak? You should be. 

But keep going. 

We're together.


United as one Body: The Body of the One we journey to meet in a few weeks, naked as we are. Resurrected and unashamed.

We unite with Christ on Easter, but we've still got quite a ways to go.     

Lent can be such an exhausting journey. We face things that stir up deep emotions within. Whether emotional, physical or spiritual, we all feel the miles that we've covered. 

Weary and burdened.

But today we rest....










Today we rest.

Lord, today we rest and celebrate you. We put aside our burdens, rest our weary bones and reflect on your goodness; your grace, mercy and your love for us. Enable us to rest. Help us to turn off the distractions and refresh our minds, bodies and spirits.  Today we rest in you. Amen