Another Sex Scandal

03/14/2016

The more things change, the more things stay the same. Despite the “sexual revolution” we’ve experienced in the past fifty or sixty years, we’re really no different than we were thousands of years ago.

We obsess over sex. We want what we can’t have. And when we’re caught with our figurative (or literal) pants down…

*******   don’t jump all over me, grammar police  *******

… we lie.

We compound the problem.

We compound our sin.

 

The two guys in the reading from Daniel really get their pants in a knot today.

Susanna is accused by two elders. They were lying. They sought to have her put to death for not having sex with them. The people believed them. They were elders. They were respected. Daniel didn’t. Somehow, he saw through their false testimony. The men perjured themselves when Daniel cross-examined them.

The result was their death, not Susanna’s.

So what do we do with this?

Hear my case for confessing sins to a priest:

Correction (times two):
Okay, I apparently cannot speak coherently today. Correction #1: We are in the season of Lent. We are getting closer to Easter. And… Correction #2: I was speaking about going to confession and then referred to your parish’s Communion Service when I meant to say Penance (or Confession) Service. A thousand pardons.

 

There is no better feeling than the forgiveness you experience after confessing your sins. Getting the words out of your mouth. To another human being. And knowing you have been forgiven.

There is no greater freedom.

Is your parish conducting a Communal Penance Service?

GO!

Try it. You’ll like it.

Not kidding.

Try it once. Then tell me about your experience.

Try it.

 

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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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What’s Your “One Thing?”

05/27/2015

What is the one thing — one thing and one thing only — that you cherish more than anything else?

How much would you sacrifice to keep it?

How much would you endure to defend it? To fight to keep it?

Ever think about things like that?

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What is the one thing that you do that causes you the most angst? What is the one thing that pushes you off course… makes you angry… tempts you… creates bitterness…

… prevents you from being more than you are now?

“You are lacking in one thing.” – a portion of Mark 10:21

Jesus counsels a rich man in the Gospel according to Mark (Mark 10:17-27).

“You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.”  –  Mark 10:19

The man is a righteous person. He seems to be leading a holy life. He follows the commandments.

He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”  –  Mark 10:20

… but there’s one thing that is keeping the rich man from a complete relationship with God.

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”  –  Mark 10:21

Who throws obstacles in front of us? Who blocks our path? Who prevents us from following God’s commandments? Who doesn’t want us to enjoy a complete relationship with Christ?

You know the answer.

The devil manifests in many forms. There may be elements of truth in the lies. There may be elements of goodness in the lies.

But the devil cannot manifest the truth. He is always deceptive.

We cannot and do not know exactly why the rich man’s possessions were preventing him from enjoying a complete relationship with God. But there was something about this one thing that stood between him and inheriting eternal life.

What was it?

And what’s your one thing?

Maybe you are following and keeping all the commandments, like the rich man.

Maybe you are working for worthy causes.

Maybe you pray like a banshee for countless causes.

But maybe there’s one thing that stands between you and inheriting eternal life.

Do you know what it is?

I know my one thing.

I’m not going to tell you. It’s too embarrassing. But God knows. I talk to Him about it just about every day. And often several times a day.

It stands in my way.

I don’t presume to speak for God, but I suspect it stands in my way of inheriting eternal life, too.

I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it may not matter. If I have a contrite heart. If I beg for God’s mercy.

God is love. God is truth. God is mercy.

Jesus told St. Faustina that His grace was ours if only we would ask for it.

God knows our hearts. God knows that all of us sin. It’s in our nature.

That’s why he sent Jesus. To assume our nature. To die for the sake of all of us who cannot control ours.

I believe that we have an obligation to lead good Christian lives even if we confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

I don’t think it’s enough to say “I believe” and go on enjoying our possessions at the expense of neglecting those poor who have few or no possessions, who have few comforts or not enough to eat. Or enjoying our knowledge of God and Jesus and neglecting the poor in spirit, those who have no knowledge of God’s mercy, those who have never heard the Word or the truth.

What is your one thing and how does it keep you from having treasure in heaven?

Confess it. Pray for help controlling it or eliminating it or transforming it.

How do I know… or rather, how do I suspect I know… that we may still find a path to our treasure in heaven, even as we struggle with our one or two or three (or more) things?

They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “For men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”  –  Mark 10:26-27

It’s okay to acknowledge our shortcomings. It’s okay to confess them. It’s okay to throw ourselves at the mercy of Jesus and His heavenly Father.

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Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time, Monday, May 25, 2015

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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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A Love Story Starring Doug and Amy Kwiecinski

05/23/2015

Doug and Amy asked me to read at their wedding. Today’s the day. May 23, 2015, 5:00 pm, Central Daylight Time.

They also asked me to say a few words after the reading. This is what I will say to them in just a few minutes.

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When you asked me to read and gave me a selection of readings to choose from, and then asked if I would say few syllables after the reading, I read over each one, I jotted a few notes, and when I read this one, the letter to the Corinthians, I just started writing — and writing and writing and writing! — I just knew this was the right reading for today. For you. For both of you.

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Love is not easy. Love ain’t just flowers and chocolate and jewelry and other nice “things.”

Those are nice. They’re not bad. They help express love. They’re not love.

Love is not about me.

It’s not about you…

Take a look at the person next to you. At the people around you. It’s about them. Love is about them.

Doug, Amy… take a look at the person next to you. It’s about them.

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Love never fails.  –  First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 13:8 (beginning)

We fail. It’s easy to fail! And it’s easier to not admit to failure.

Pompous. Inflated. Rude. Quick-tempered. Brood over injury.

Yikes. [shudder]

Guilty!

Sorry, honey. Thanks for loving me.

Do not ever stop praying.

Do not ever stop learning.

Do not ever think you have it all figured out.

Love is work.

But love is the reason for all of this.

Love is the reason for everything.

Love is the reason for new life. Love is the reason for all life.

Love sustains us in death. And when we mourn the death of a loved one.

Love is the reason for everything in between.

Love is hard.

When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child…  –  First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 13:11a

Don’t think that just because you’re an adult… and you think you reason as an adult, it gets any easier.

You will disagree.

You might argue.

You will be tested.

And… you’re human! So sometimes you will fail!

Pick yourselves up. Dust yourselves off. Admit your mistakes. Ask God for help. Pray to Him for forgiveness.

Never forget His Divine Mercy. Never hesitate to ask for His Divine Mercy!

Love never fails.

Father Leo Clifford was a Franciscan Friar. He passed away in 2012. In the early 2000s, he recorded five seasons of Reflections, brief… 6, 7, 8 minute thoughts… homilies. He had a melodious Irish accent and an almost lyrical manner of speaking. He touches your heart. Grabs your emotions. In one of his Reflections, Philosophy of Life, Father Clifford says:

By definition, you cannot keep love. Love must be given away. You cannot buy love. You cannot barter it. You cannot sell it. You cannot store it. You can only give it away.

A song is not a song until it is sung. A bell is not a bell until it is rung. And love is not love until it is given away…

Isn’t that beautiful?

Sounded so poetic, I wondered if those were his words or a quote. So I did a little research.

My best guess is he borrowed it. Paraphrased the words of Oscar Hammerstein II.

Hammerstein wrote these words for the Broadway musical, The Sound of Music. Before the Reprise of Sixteen Going on Seventeen, Maria says (sings) the following to Liesl:

A bell is no bell till you ring it
A song is no song till you sing it
And love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay
Love isn’t love till you give it away…

God is Love. God gave us Love so that we can give it away.

Look around. See all this? It’s His. And it’s ours because He loves us!

Guess what?

We give it all back to God. We leave nothing behind. We give everything back to God.

Except Love.

Welcome to our family, Amy. We’re honored to have you.

Never stop honoring and loving your wife, Doug. Even through difficult times.

Congratulations, Doug and Amy. Lots of love to both of you.

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Here’s the reading:

A reading from the First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians

1 Cor 12:31-13:13

Brothers and sisters: Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.

But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The Word of the Lord.


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