What Gets You Through Hard Times?

02/22/2016

The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.  –  Psalm 23:1

My thoughts:

 

 

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.

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Litter Box Theology, Advent Style

12/20/2015

Do you listen closely enough?

I do. But way too infrequently.

Thankfully, I was listening today. While tending to cat box duty.

EWTN Radio broadcasts The Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible New Testament on Sundays after Daily Mass. Today, the broadcast coincided with time for cleaning the litter boxes.

I heard the end of St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians and the beginning of St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians, through Chapter 3.

The end of Chapter 3 is Paul’s instructions for wives, husbands, children, and fathers. You know… the passage that always causes so much controversy because Paul tells wives to be subject to their husbands.

But that’s not what struck me today.

And not how I heard God talking to me.

Immediately following his instructions for families, Paul continues.

Slaves, obey your human masters in everything, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but in simplicity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others, knowing that you will receive from the Lord the due payment of the inheritance; be slaves of the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3:22-24

Here’s what slammed me up against the proverbial wall, what slapped me in my proverbial face:

Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord…

 

What was I doing? Scooping cat poop. Washing the floor and sloshing pee from under one of the boxes because Little Kitten has difficulty hitting the mark these days, poor thing.

It’s not her fault. She’s a cat.

But… all of that… irrelevant.

… do from the heart, as for the Lord…

So I did.

He and I carried on a little more conversation, about my place in life, my place in time, what I was doing at this very moment, what I was doing with my life.

It all happened in a flash.

But it was so real.

Two things:

  1. Do you take time to listen for the Lord to speak to you, no matter what you are doing, no matter what your circumstances?
  2. Do you do whatever you do, from the heart?

I’m not perfect. I’m no holy roller.

That’s why I talk (i.e., whine) to Him so often.

And why I try to listen.

And not only listen.

Hear.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention is to post regularly and to comment on the Daily Liturgy. I’ve fallen short of that lofty goal. However, I have begun posting video reflections (and other stuff) on YouTube. Click here to take a gander: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating. And for still not posting daily.

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Déjà vu All Over Again

05/01/2015

Interesting juxtaposition in today’s Daily Mass readings. In the First Reading, from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 13:13-25), Paul recounts the royal lineage of the Hebrews and leads all the way up to John the Baptist foretelling the coming of Jesus.

Historically, that would be just prior to Jesus commencing his public ministry.

The Gospel (John 13:16-20) jumps forward to Holy Thursday, the very end of Jesus’ public ministry. Jesus is washing the disciples’ feet.

We have a symbolic cleansing in the Jordan by John. Not a true baptism, of course, because this is before Jesus had instituted the sacrament. And we have symbolic cleansing by sacrificial death in the Gospel.

We’re halfway through the Easter season and we’re already again recalling the death of Christ?

Folks, we do that every single day.

Or at least, we should be.

You never cease to gather a people to Yourself, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to Your name. – from Eucharistic Prayer No. 3, Third Edition of the Roman Missal

Every single day.

So many times, each day, “from east to west,” a priest hoists a piece of bread heavenward, invokes the words of Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, and Jesus Christ Himself transubstantiates the earthly nourishment into the Divine.

What was that?

He changes the bread into His body.

Likewise, he changes the wine into His blood.

Déjà vu. All over again.

This is what makes the celebration of the Mass so beautiful, so powerful, so vital.

For the last two thousand years, we have recalled the death of our Lord, Jesus Christ. And we continue to

Do this in memory of me.

 

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.

 

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Man, Do We Harbor a Lot of Darkness….

04/23/2015

Well… I sure didn’t expect this…

All I wanted to do was learn one thing about linking the “Catholic tradition” of the Eucharist to Thursdays.

And instead, I stumbled upon the following blog, Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts, and the following blog post, “The Luminous Mysteries and Why You Should Dump Them.”

Today’s Gospel is John 6:44-51. Jesus calls Himself the Bread of Life, “the living bread that came down from heaven.”

Since I’ve started praying the Rosary with consistency and vigor, I’ve also adopted the pattern of praying the Glorious Mysteries on Sunday and Wednesday, the Joyful Mysteries on Monday and Saturday, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday and Friday, and the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday.

Pope St. John Paul II introduced the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, or Mysteries of Light, in October 2002. At the time, I was not totally engaged as a Catholic. Yes, I practiced, assisted as a Lector and Extraordinary Minister of Communion (also a heinous act, I learned this morning), and led some faith formation small groups, but we were too busy raising kids and figuring out life. I don’t even remember the Pope officially introducing the Luminous Mysteries. And I don’t even remember him proclaiming a “Year of the Rosary.”

But he did. He messed with the long-standing tradition of the 15 mysteries of the Rosary, also known as the Marian Psalter or Mary’s Psalter (15 mysteries of the Rosary, 10 Hail Marys per mystery, 150 total Hail Marys in the “complete” Rosary compared to 150 Psalms in the Holy Bible). Apparently, this caused enormous angst among Catholics who embrace a rigid traditionalism (and maybe I should capitalize it as Traditionalism).

I had no idea.

Until this morning.

I innocently wanted to make the point about how devotion to the Fifth Luminous Mystery has deepened my faith and devotion to the Eucharist, an idea that I want to develop further at some point in my life (hold me to it, please… somebody remind me).

Instead, I learned why I should never have been praying that mystery or any of the other Luminous Mysteries.

At least according to some.

And the blog post referenced above was particularly direct in telling me why (1) I should dump the Luminous Mysteries because the Pope really didn’t have the authority to add them, (2) the Pope was really inferring that the Rosary as Mary originally gave it to us wasn’t any good any more, (3) adding Mysteries that meditate on Jesus’ life make nonsense of the “rhythm of the prayers,” (4) Heaven certainly did not approve of 20 Mysteries that the conclusion found in a book out there titled “EWTN: A Network Gone Wrong” (had I only known…), (5) the Pope was arrogant for seeking to change Mary’s devotion, (6) all popes since 1958 (who are really not “popes” at all) were and are all puppets of Freemasonry AND John Paul II was “a manifest heretic,” (7) oh! And that John Paul II was grand standing the Mother of God by introducing the Luminous Mysteries, and (8) Pope John Paul II really should have just brought back the Latin Mass if he was really interested in giving ‘people of the 80s and 90s true appreciation of the faith.’

O———kay.

I couldn’t let it go. I had to respond when the author of the blog (Jeff) paraphrased the scripture passage, asking a commenter about giving (your child) a stone when they ask for a piece of bread. My comment — on the blog site — is still awaiting moderation. Since I don’t know if it will be published or discarded, I reproduce it here.

I am not a Catholic scholar. I am far from sainthood. I can’t go a few minutes without sinning. I certainly don’t know the history and tradition of the Rosary like many of you who have commented.

But I gotta tell ya… this “debate” in the comments troubles me greatly. Saint John Paul is a modernist? There’s some tie to Freemasonry? We don’t have a real Pope?

Jeff, I wanted to respond directly to your reply to Adelina (September 1, 2014). You are right to point out that Christ is unchanging. I think I have sufficient faith and understanding to say that with absolute certainty! WE (my caps) are the changelings. WE are the flawed, the sinful, the imperfect. God only made one of us perfect. So… we as Church, we as Catholics must interact — flawed entities that we are — with the rest of the 6 billion or so flawed souls out there.

And we do our best.

Jeff, you asked:

“If someone is hungry and asks you for food, do you give them bread, or do you give them a stone?”

I happened upon the (apparently heretical) EWTN about five years ago. I knew EWTN was on the air years before that day. I just never paid any attention.

But something caught my attention that day and renewed my sense of Catholic purpose.

Since then, I have been devoted to study of Scripture, specifically Liturgy, and to praying the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy daily.

Never once have I ever — EVER!! — considered that viewing or listening to EWTN or praying the Luminous Mysteries of the Holy Rosary have done anything less than nourish my faith and devotion. More specifically, my faith in God and Jesus Christ and my devotion to my Lord and Savior, to His Blessed Virgin Mother, and to the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I would consider that “bread.”

I have to admit that your referencing that particular scripture made my head spin.

The Luminous Mysteries a “stone?”

How in the name of God, in the name of Christ, in the name of Mary, in the entire tradition of the Holy Catholic Church does this detract from devotion to Almighty God?

I’ve said more than I intended already.

Just one more thing. If any of us think that we have the one set of answers, that WE can interpret the unchanging Christ and the EXACT MESSAGE that He gave us, we’re replacing Him as God. We are setting ourselves up as our own gods. (Small ‘g’ for all the traditionalists.)

I welcome discussion.

And I do welcome discussion on any of this. Here or on the original blog. All of this simultaneously fascinates and depresses the hell out of me.

(Oops… can I say “hell” and still consider myself a ‘good Catholic?’)

How’s THAT for a daily meditation?

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


Speeding and Sinning

04/19/2015

We live in a unique area here at the northeast tip of Lake County, Illinois. Drive due south along picturesque Sheridan Road and it’s a 50-mile city and suburban drive to Chicago and parts south of the city. Drive due north along Sheridan Road and it’s a city and suburban drive 50 miles north to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Can’t drive east. Lake Michigan gets in the way.

But drive five miles due west and you’re in the middle of pasture, horses, and farmland.

This morning, I needed the wide open spaces.

We were late for church. We’re Kwiecinskis. We’re late for almost everything, much to my wife’s chagrin (poor Kathy; she obviously was not born a Kwiecinski). St. Patrick’s is south and west of us.

To make matters worse, Martha and I were scheduled to read. Mass was going to start in 20 minutes. It’s a 9-mile drive if we stroll through the country, only 8 miles if we head south on Sheridan. But the shorter route is the city route. Lots of traffic lights. Slower speed limits. More traffic.

The choice was obvious. Head for the wide open spaces and pray for no squad cars.

As we’re careening southward on Kilbourne Road, I’m thinking about the second reading. The reading I was going to be reading.

My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.
The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep
his commandments.
Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments
are liars, and the truth is not in them.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him. – 1 John 2:1-5a

“What happens if I get tagged for speeding? We’re two minutes from church. One of us needs to be there in two minutes. If a cop starts following us, he can arrest me at church.”

Yes, I’m actually thinking this on the way to church.

So we don’t get stopped, we get to church (in two minutes), plenty of time to prepare before Mass begins, all good.

Was speeding to church sinful? Was I being a hypocrite?

Are we all liars who do not carry the truth inside us?

Or does God already understand that about us?

(And as I’m putting the finishing touches on this, watching the Blackhawks vs. Nashville playoff game, you can only imagine the sins spewing outta my mouth…)

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


What the heck happened?

04/17/2015

If your life was threatened because you were the constant companion of a popular “somebody” who suddenly became a despised “nobody,” what would you do?

If you were afraid of a mob that turned on your friend, beat him bloody, and killed him, where would you go? Where would you hide?

What would you do, then, still hiding and afraid of being attacked, if somebody came running up to you, all excited and wild-eyed, and said “He’s alive!” You know, the guy who you watched get beaten, nearly to death, then hung up on a tree, then you watched him get carried down and buried… that guy…

Would you suddenly say, “Oh, no problem! Everything’s gonna be fine now!”

Would you be confused? Would you have a question or two? Or maybe want a stiff drink? Or just to sleep all day, hoping it would all go away?

Then let’s say your dead friend showed up. He told you not to be afraid.

“Oh, sure! Thanks. Yeah, all’s good now!!”

Would you maybe doubt your senses, too? Would you be more ready for that adult beverage?

Well, gang, that’s probably purty dang close to what happened to the Apostles who followed Jesus around for three years, watched his popularity explode, then witnessed the whole thing implode in a matter of days.

What happened to these guys? Timid, ordinary dudes who rode the coattails of this amazing, inspiring teacher. You know the guy. He attracted crowds wherever He went. But when He got in trouble with the authorities, all the coattail-riders took off in the other direction.

In a matter of days, inspiring teacher guy goes from most popular to most hated. Before you know it, he’s dead! The adoring mob becomes a lynch mob. Coattail-riders are scared to death. Will the mob come after them, too?

Today’s Daily Mass Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 5:34-42) recounts how the Jewish authorities, having detained the Apostles, decide to release them from custody.

“But hang on boys, before you go? Here’s a parting gift.”

The authorities flog the Apostles, then send them on their merry way. “Hey, but don’t mention this Jesus guy any more, okay?”

What do the Apostles do?

They can’t shut up! Everywhere they go, in public, even in the temple,

“they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.”

Something happened to these men. Something transformed them from shy, timid, afraid of their own shadow, locked away for fear of retribution…

and fearless to the point of not caring if they were killed themselves.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning today, Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it.


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