Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

05/29/2015

“I WANT IT!”

How many times have you been in a store and heard something like that? Probably a bratty little kid being coddled by Mommy or Daddy.

And we get annoyed.

And we know the little brat is going to get their way. Right?

Never stop asking. Never stop believing. Be persistent.

Well, somebody a lot cooler than us once said

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  –  Matthew 7:7

… so maybe the little brat is onto something.

We frequent the United Center on Chicago’s west side for a Blackhawks game or two every… now and then… and there are usually a handful of people lining the sidewalks asking for money, jingling some coins in a plastic cup, arm outstretched, maybe not asking but implying. Some of these folks appear needier than others.

But they all persist. They are not deterred by those who walk by without filling the cup.

A miserable beggar annoyed a lot of people who followed Jesus, too.

Bartimaeus, who we’re told was blind, sat by the roadside begging (Mark 10:46) as Jesus left Jericho. Many in the crowd told him to shut up. He was as annoying as the little brat squawking at Mommy in the grocery cart.

But the guy who is a lot cooler under duress than we are wasn’t perturbed by the whiny blind dude.

Jesus stopped and said “Call him.” – Mark 10:49a

Oh my God! He’s going to try to rationalize with the little brat!

Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” – Mark 10:51a

I knew it. These brats always get what they want.

The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” – Mark 10:51b

Persistence.

Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way. – Mark 10:52

What do these little brats know that we don’t?

Probably nothing.

They’re just not afraid to ask.

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Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday, May 28, 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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The Fierceness of Love

05/19/2015

Yet I consider life of no importance to me

  –  the beginning of verse 24, chapter 20, Acts of the Apostles

Why had life become so unimportant to St. Paul? Warned repeatedly by the Holy Spirit about imprisonment and hardships, Paul still dutifully sails back to Jerusalem to face those who wish to kill him.

On the road to Damascus, his life changed forever. He pursued the disciples who were spreading the news and message of Jesus of Nazareth, to persecute them, to imprison them, even to see them put to death.

Little did he know that he was the one being pursued.

Jesus caught up with Paul on the road to Damascus. Jesus struck him down, blinded and disabled him, and with a love as fierce as the fury of Paul’s persecution, persuaded Paul that Jesus was the Way.

And Paul was transformed. He proclaimed the Word and spread God’s Love with the same fierceness.

It was not a fierce fury, but a fierce Love. A boldness that transcended human courage.

And Paul continued to receive visions and messages from Jesus via the Holy Spirit, assuring him of safe passage and cautioning him that hardships awaited.

How receptive are you to the murmurs of the Holy Spirit in your life? Do you hear them? Are you listening?

How willing are you to Love fiercely?

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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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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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The Cure for Insomnia. Guaranteed.

05/12/2015

Seems that every day, I hear someone talking about lack of sleep. Or a Facebook post: “Who else is up?” Another: “Why am I still up at 3:30?”

These people can’t fall asleep. They have “tried everything.” Nothing seems to work.

But…

They haven’t tried everything.

I have the solution!

It works every single time it’s tried.

Guaranteed or your money back.

No ups. No extras.

You don’t need sleep aids or pills. You don’t need chamomile tea or warm milk with butter and honey before beddy-bye, although these are fun and dee-lish!

NOTE: My solution is not intended to replace medical advice. If your doctor has prescribed medication for you, or if you are being otherwise treated for a specific medical condition, do not disregard his/her advice!  If you have any doubts or questions, consult your physician.

But… I’d still suggest you ask them if you should try my advice.

Are you ready for my guaranteed, no-fail cure for insomnia?

Have you read my disclaimer? Do you understand it?

Okay.

Ready?

Here goes…

Want to sleep this soundly?

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Try this…

Repetitive prayer.

That’s it?

That’s it.

It works.

Every single time you try it.

And just for kicks, let’s say it doesn’t work. What’s the worst that’s happened? You’ve constructively used time that you would have otherwise spent in misery.

But it won’t happen.

You will fall asleep.

Structured prayer works best.

Try a Rosary. Or a Divine Mercy Chaplet.

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It will work.

Focus on a particular need. Best if you focus on someone other than yourself. Lose yourself in thoughts of a friend, a co-worker, a loved one…

Someone who is ill. Someone who has experienced a death in the family. A caregiver who doesn’t get relief. Someone enduring a trying time.

What if I don’t know how to pray? What if I don’t know a structured prayer?

Being Catholic certainly has its advantages. The Holy Rosary is a staple in our spiritual diet. Besides the Divine Mercy Chaplet, there are various other chaplets. If you have a favorite, by all means, use it! It will work.

But let’s say you are unfamiliar with prayer.

The Rosary consists of five decades (ten prayers) of the Hail Mary, along with introductory and closing prayers and a meditation for each decade.

Don’t know how to pray the Rosary?

Start here:

Say the Hail Mary.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

Amen.

Think about the person or situation you are praying for as you pray.

Say it ten times. Or don’t count. Just continue to pray it.

Focus on the intention of your prayers.

How much good have you done?

And as you drift off to sleep, you are lifting up good intentions to God.

One more thing.

Don’t doubt me until you’ve tried it.

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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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This is Why We’re All Catholics

04/27/2015

That’s with a small ‘c,’ folks. Just not in the blog title.

‘What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.’ – Acts 11:9b

Today’s Reading is Acts 11:1-18, “The Baptism of the Gentiles Explained.”

When in college, I questioned my Roman Catholic faith. Two of my professors, Dr. Iver Yeager and Dr. David Koss, taught Religion courses. Excellent instructors.

I went to a public high school that had such a large Jewish student (and probably teacher) population, we had days off for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. I hadn’t had a religion class since graduating 8th grade from St. Nicholas. I even met my first atheist in high school.

I went to Catholic grade schools. Hearing that my friend, Karen, did not believe in any God was shocking to me. I had never even considered such a possibility.

So when I took an Introduction to the Bible course at this non-Catholic college and seriously courted a young woman who was Christian but not Catholic, I started questioning whether I truly believed that I was a Roman Catholic. Was I a non-Catholic Christian?

This was heavy stuff that I never ever contemplated when choosing a college. And here I was, on my own, evaluating and making life decisions. A pretend grown up in a (still) adolescent brain.

I have posted previously about my Catholic faith. I don’t intend to convert any of you by reading today’s simple post. But I will tell you that my contemplation, prayer, and study over the course of many months convinced me that to be Catholic is to honor the tradition of the Apostles and the will of Jesus Christ.

Not because somebody said so. Because I saw it and believed it.

What do I believe?

I believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. I believe that:

(God) never cease(s) to gather a people to (Himself), so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to (His) name. – from Eucharistic Prayer No. 3, Third Edition of the Roman Missal

Think about it. Jesus instituted the celebration of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday. He commanded the disciples to “do this in memory of me.” I cannot possibly convince you in a several hundred word blog post, so I point you here instead.

I believe that the popes form an unbroken lineage of bishops that began with Jesus hand-selecting Simon Peter as the first Bishop of Rome.

I believe that Confession is a sacramental sign of forgiveness that we receive directly from Jesus Christ, through the Catholic priest as a conduit for Jesus Himself.

And I believe that today’s Reading, in which Peter, through visions, comes to understand that the Gentiles are as worthy of believing as “the circumcised believers,” confirms that the Christian church is a catholic (universal) church.

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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.


Are You Ready to Get Smacked Around?

04/24/2015

Why is Christianity true?

Without any doubt?

Not debatable?

Why, that’s simple! The Acts of the Apostles!

Have you ever known a coward? Someone who is all blather and no substance? Someone who enjoys riding another person’s coattails, enjoys the limelight, the spotlight, the spoils, but does none of the dirty work? Just gets in the way of the celebration?

Kind of like a wedding crasher.

Also kind of like the twelve disciples.

They each had their reasons. Many of which, no doubt, were well intentioned.

Today’s Easter weekday reading from the Acts of the Apostles retells the conversion of St. Paul (Acts 9:1-20). What further proof do you need?

More you say? Okay. How about Pentecost? Those timid hangers-on, afraid of their own shadow especially after Jesus is crucified, suddenly emerge from their cave and won’t shut up! They suddenly have no fear of being persecuted, tortured, even killed.

And that’s life here on Earth.

We can “go for the gusto.” (Gosh. Remember the old Schlitz commercial?) Live this earthly life with abandon. Be the person who accumulates the most toys before getting planted. Live for the moment. Cross stuff off the bucket list, no matter how…

adventurous…

Or we can live for eternal life.

A heckuvalot more challenging than it sounds.

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Today is also the feast day of St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, a Franciscan Capuchin priest who was martyred for his unfailing Counter-Reformation preaching.

EWTN’s Mass included alternate readings for the day. The first reading was from St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy. That reading concludes:

Anyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus can expect to be persecuted. – 2 Timothy 3:12

So… that’s simple! Want to get to heaven? Live a godly life. Imitate Christ. But expect to be persecuted.

Did you know that St. Francis of Assisi preached to the Muslims? He attempted to convert them. “Love your enemies and do good to those who hate you,” Francis said.

Are you ready? You may not just get smacked around. It could cost more.

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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.


“A Psalm of Life”

01/19/2013

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,

And our hearts, though stout and brave,

Still, like muffled drums, are beating

Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,

In the bivouac of Life,

Be not like dumb, driven cattle!

Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!

Let the dead Past bury its dead!

Act, — act in the living Present!

Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “A Psalm of Life”


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