Can Slaving Over the Cat Boxes Save Me From Purgatory?

03/22/2016

All I did was express a simple hope. And you scoffed at me.

All I did was jokingly suggest that my cat box penance might help me out in Purgatory.

And then we got into this huge discussion about the existence of Purgatory and hell isn’t real and this concept of the devil is so Middle Ages… and Original Sin? That’s some Catholic concoction; get real.

Okay, okay… believe what you want. But if you think Purgatory is a crock and hell and the devil are primitive concepts with no basis in reality and Original Sin is part of that whole Mary obsession that Catholics invented, then we better keep talking after Lent.

Which technically ends tomorrow, by the way. But never fear, you’re going to keep hearing from me daily until Easter.

The Sunday after Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday.

We’ll have a ton to discuss about Divine Mercy beginning this Friday, Good Friday, which is the first day of the nine-day Divine Mercy Novena.

Until then, you’ll have to watch the video to get the full gist of today’s message.

It’s Tax Season. Did I mention?

Yes, still a recovering CPA.

And writer.

And personal fitness trainer.

And cat lover. Trapped in a dog lover’s body.

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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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Is It Okay To Sin?

03/21/2016

Do you suppose Jesus was surprised that Judas was stealing from the treasury?

Or do you think He knew it all along?

I’m pretty sure He knew.

So… let’s say Jesus did know. Why didn’t he stop Judas from stealing? Isn’t that one of the profound mysteries of our life?

Of all our lives?

Does Jesus know that you sin? Or are you doing a better job of hiding it from Him?

Why doesn’t He prevent you from doing it?

Same profound mystery.

God gave each of us free will. Along with Original Sin.

Oh, great… so He punishes us by making us sinful.

No. He gave us freedom of choice. Freedom to choose right or wrong. So we control our own eternal destiny.

But wait. If we’re born with Original Sin, aren’t we doomed to hell right off the bat?

Again, no. Because we are free to choose right from wrong.

Original Sin means we have the propensity to sin.

Original Sin means we are not perfect.

Only our Heavenly Father is perfect.

Original Sin means we are likely to suffer at the hands of other human beings or some other force of nature.

Original Sin means we are subject to the risks of the Earth.

Original Sin means we need to be perfected.

Original Sin means we have choices to make which will either draw us closer to God and heaven or separate us farther from Him.

Bottom line: Jesus knows that we sin. And he accepts that. Because we are human.

That doesn’t mean our sins are acceptable.

But it does make us eligible to receive God’s endless mercy.

And that’s what our journey through life, this profound mystery that’s unique to each person, teaches us.

We continue toward Calvary. Happy Monday of Holy Week.

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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.


Who Was the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved?

03/17/2016

If you spent a few years with Mary, the mother of God, would your life be any different?

Kind of a crazy question, right?

Of course you would be different!

So was John, author of the fourth Gospel and other New Testament writings, and the disciple whom Jesus loved.

Not everyone agrees with this assessment.

Here are some thoughts about 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.


Do You Believe Me Or Don’t You?

03/07/2016

Isn’t it exasperating when you know the truth… when you know the answer… when you have already solved a problem… when you know what someone needs…

… and they don’t believe you?

How cool is it when you tell someone you have the answer… or know the truth… or know what they need… or can solve their problem…

… and they don’t think twice. They put all their faith in you?

Hear what I have to say about this and check out the beautiful surroundings in today’s video here:

Change of scenery this morning. From a morning completely booked with appointments to a large, gaping hole in my schedule, I was able to deliver bagels to the birthday girl and stop at a scenic spot for today’s message.

Jesus faces this situation in today’s Gospel (John 4:43-54). He leaves His hometown where nobody believes He is who He says He is. He’s exasperated! “Why can’t you believe by faith?” He might have said.

In Cana, a royal official (I identify him as a soldier in today’s video) believes from the bottom of his heart that Jesus can cure his son, who is near death. Jesus does.

Can you believe without fully knowing?

And what if you believe, but you don’t receive the miracle?

Do you… will you… still believe?

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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.


What Are You Looking For?

01/05/2016

As we wind our way through the Christmas season and toward the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord…

As we contemplate the year that has passed and anticipate the year to come…

Recall the very first words Jesus speaks in the Gospel of John…

“What are you looking for?”

Jesus speaks these words to Andrew and John. They follow Him after John the Baptist identifies Jesus as “the Lamb of God.”

In another translation, Jesus asks “What do you want?”

So, I’m asking…

What are you looking for this year? What do you want?

What are you willing to do to get it?

What are you willing to sacrifice?

Andrew and John answer Jesus by asking him where He is staying. Jesus said “Come, and you will see.”

Are you willing to follow? Are you willing to take a risk?

What are you looking for? What do you want?

How important is it to you?

Five minutes. Take five minutes to contemplate your answers.

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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 include comments on the Daily Liturgy. I will also explore other matters of faith that catch my attention. 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.

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I Could Tell You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You

05/15/2015

Charlie: Excuse me, Lieutenant. Is there something wrong?

Maverick: Yes ma’am, the data on the MiG is inaccurate.

Charlie: How’s that, Lieutenant?

Maverick: Well, I just happened to see a MiG 28 do a…

Goose: We!

Maverick: Uh, sorry Goose. WE happened to see a MiG 28 do a 4g negative dive.

Charlie: Where did you see this?

Maverick: Uh, that’s classified.

Charlie: It’s what?

Maverick: It’s classified. I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

  –  Top Gun, 1986

Top secret information. Shrouded in secrecy. It’s a line that’s been used in movies — and even sitcoms — for a long time. I don’t know where or how it originated.

That’s not the point.

Even if it isn’t true, it’s a great line.

Jesus said to his disciples “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.”

  –  John 16:12

Okay, so it’s not quite the same thing, but think about all that happened from the perspective of the Apostles and the other disciples.

“First this guy asks us to follow him around, drop everything we’re doing, leave our families, leave our jobs. He keeps promising us a kingdom. But the Romans aren’t going away. Their armies are so strong.

“But there’s something about him. We never go hungry. We don’t have enough money to feed ourselves, not to mention the hundreds or thousands that keep following us, no matter where we go. Yet we’re always satisfied. All of us!

“And he cures sick people! Where did he learn how to do that?

“He keeps referring to God as his father!

“Most of the leaders hate us. Why? What did we do? What did HE do? Yeah, he calls them out. But everything he does helps someone else. There’s not an unloving bone in his body…”

Then the hammer fell.

“Where is our kingdom? He says it’s ‘not of this world.’ That’s for sure! They’re going to kill him! If the rabbis don’t stone him to death, the Romans are going to kill him. Where’s our kingdom?

“What are we going to do now? We have nothing left. Nothing. No profession. No home. Will they kill us, too?”

And how would you react if a dead guy came back to talk to you? Kept talking about eating his body? And then as quickly as he appeared, he disappeared?

And within, like… a month, maybe a little longer, he goes from riding into town like the king that he says he is…

Gets beaten within an inch of his life…

Then carries his own cross…

Then dies a quick agonizing death…

You watch him die…

Then you see him — or someone who looks a lot like him — walking around, talking with you, claiming that he has risen from the dead…

And then after he hangs around with you for a while — when he feels like it — and disappears like an apparition — when he feels like it…

He floats away, like a bird, until you can’t see him any more…

“Now what do we do? Where’s our kingdom?

 

Jesus said to his disciples “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.”

  –  John 16:12

Maybe their heads would have exploded if He told them everything right away. So it’s not that He would have to kill them, the weight of the Truth would have.

After all.

They were only human.

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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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Even a Perfect Seed Needs TLC. And Good Soil!

05/07/2015

Dad can grow anything. He has the green thumb in our family.

Last year, when he realized he was going to be in the hospital for such a long time, one of his biggest worries was “who’s going to take care of my plants?”

They survived, thanks to the joint efforts of Mom, sister Stephanie, daughter Martha, and even a small assist from me.

Dad recently got home from the hospital after another of what seem like regular monthly visits since his discharge a year ago May.

It was Fat Tuesday. Easy to remember. Mom was scheduled for an outpatient procedure that morning. Dad was going to go, but just home from the hospital hours before, we thought the best place for him would be at home. My sister, Karen, was picking Mom up for the procedure. Kathy had the day off and I rearranged my schedule so we could spend the time with Dad.

He agreed, albeit reluctantly, to stay home.

Kathy and I got to the house after Mom and Karen had left for Lutheran General. Dad was already hard at work, carrying each of his orchids from their perch in the sun near the southwest windows over to the sink for their weekly drenching.

His orchids are beautiful. Without a doubt, he has the green thumb.

One of Dad's orchids.

One of Dad’s orchids.

I, on the other hand, tell everyone that I have crispy brown thumbs. I didn’t inherit Dad’s touch with plants. But he was able to coach me up — from the confines of his hospital bed — just enough to keep his precious babies alive.

TLC is part of it. Good soil is also essential.

In the Gospel for Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter (John 15:1-8), Jesus continues teaching the disciples that he is the true vine and God is the vine grower.

In Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI (copyright 2007, Ignatius Press), Pope Benedict uses the analogy of Mary as the willing soil, accepting the seed of God, the seed that becomes Jesus.

What a perfect analogy of the importance of Mary in the life of every believer!

Even a perfect seed needs the right soil.

Jesus taught us about seed that falls on different types of ground, too. Remember? So this analogy makes perfect sense, right?

The Word became flesh.

Pope Benedict explains that seed “assimilates the earth’s energies and changes them into itself.”

“Mary, the holy soil of the Church, is an essential part of Christ. The mystery of Mary means precisely that God’s Word did not remain alone. Rather, it became Man in the soil of His mother, and then fused with the soil of the whole of humanity returned to God in a new form…

“To be soil for the Word means that the soil must allow itself to be absorbed by the seed.

Mary’s maternity means that she willing places her own substance, body and soul, into the seed so that new life can grow.”

Without Mary, God’s Word remains apart from Man. Or maybe Man cannot assimilate to God’s Word.

Mary’s willingness to allow God’s Word, God’s seed, to meld with her flesh is essential to Jesus becoming Man. Her humble submission is an essential, vital part of our salvation.

Did you ever stop to think where Jesus got His hair color, His eyes, His voice, His stature? From the soil of His mother.

And where and how did the helpless baby Jesus learn human love and respect? From the TLC of His mother and stepfather.

If Jesus was truly human, His humanness is as essential as His divinity. His Earthly parents are truly part of Him. And Mary is truly present in His physical presence.

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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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