Who is the Most Humble Person You Know?

02/23/2016

And do you know the true definition of humility?

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Jesus speaking to the crowds and to His disciples in Matthew 23:12

I struggle with this every single day. Typically, when I get too full of myself, God finds a way to knock me down a peg or two.

It’s a natural part of the human condition to be pleased with our own accomplishments. Consider children seeking approval of a parent, sibling, or playmate.

Part of our normal development is striving for achievement.

We begin life completely and utterly helpless. We learn from our parents and those who touch our tiny lives. Our parents are excited to hear us utter sounds, take our first steps, learn how to color, write, go potty, learn to read.

Achievement can be healthy and it can be unhealthy.

Jesus specifically points out the scribes and Pharisees who “have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.” (Remember the chair of Peter yesterday? Compare and contrast.) Obviously, they allowed their positions of authority get out of control. They no longer see the humility of their role.

What is the true definition of humility?

Who is the most humble person you know?

Here are 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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What If You’re Divorced?

08/14/2015

I am divorced. And in the deep recesses of my being, I still allow that to define me.

Today’s Gospel is a difficult one for me.

a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife

Why did it happen?

The reasons are layered and complex. I was (and probably still am) blessed with a certain level of naivete. Socially, I’m clumsy. If I don’t come across that way, it’s not because I don’t feel that way.

Never, ever, in a thousand years… in a million years… did I ever even suspect that Sue and I would become a statistic.

and the two shall become one flesh

That’s not an excuse. I do not excuse myself.

Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.

Okay… so what made me think that it was permissible to separate what God joined together?

I never did. I don’t think it is permissible for any of us.

Just like I don’t think it’s permissible to live contrary to any of God’s laws.

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”

He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.”  They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss her?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”

His disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” He answered, “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.” – Matthew 9:3-12

No other gods. No idols. Keep the sabbath. Honor Mom and Dad. Don’t kill. No adultery. Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t covet. Don’t covet (yes, apparently we need more than one reminder of that one).

So… how good are you at adhering to those?

I suck at it. Pardon the vernacular.

How do we resolve what Jesus told the Pharisees?

I don’t know.

I know what the Catholic Church teaches. Sort of. I know they permitted me and Kathy to both seek (and have granted) a formal annulment of our previous marriages, thus giving us permission to marry each other — in a second sacramental union (for me) — and still participate in the sacramental life… receiving Holy Communion, having our sins forgiven in Confession.

Have I resolved all this in my own mind?

No.

That is clearly because I am an imperfect, flawed human being.

My ways are not His ways.

Okay, this is supposed to be a quick meditation. Not a sermon. Not a book. So…..

Has anything helped me overcome my guilt?

A handful of years ago (was it five, six, more?), I discovered the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. If you are familiar with me and this blog, you know that.

Jesus was born into this hellhole to save us from ourselves.

We’re the ones who have taken His Father’s glorious creation and created a cesspool, made a mess of just about whatever we’ve laid our hands on.

We are imperfect human beings.

We will sin. We will be immoral. We will offend others and thus offend God.

We will.

Today.

Reflect on that before you nod off tonight. And ask forgiveness.

Today’s Responsorial Psalm:

His mercy endures forever. – Psalm 136 (all verses)

The Blessed Virgin Mary has appeared to human beings. The Lord, Jesus Christ, has made Himself known and spoken clearly to human beings.

Mary gave us the Holy Rosary.

Jesus gave us the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

He promised that even the most hardened sinner, if they will say the Chaplet even once, will be granted His Divine Mercy.

It’s stuff like that, folks, that engages my consciousness, that gives me hope, that permits me to forgive myself, that keeps me strong.

I don’t know if my words do that for you. But I want them to.

If you’re struggling with something, I don’t have all the answers. But I do have empathy. I’m capable of praying for you (or with you). And I believe with every ounce of life that my/our prayers are heard and answered.

Don’t forget to listen. Never forget to listen. The answers are there. We also suck at listening.

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Today is also the Feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe.

You did not choose me, but I chose you… John 15:16a

St. Maximilian had a lifelong devotion to Mary. He wanted to start a radio station. Instead, he was captured by Nazis and died in a concentration camp.

He chose one thing. The Lord chose another.

Decades later, Mother Angelica spearheaded EWTN. How much more powerful and meaningful is the legacy of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe because of his experience and suffering at the hands of enemies of God than if he got what he chose?

I pick up my pen and tap on my computer to get these words out. Yes, I choose to write. I choose to press “Publish.” I can’t help but feel in some way the only reason I’m doing this is because He chose me. I don’t have all the answers. I’m just supposed to get you to think.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention 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. And for still not posting a meditation daily.

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Nepal, Baltimore, Man’s Insignificance, and the Good Shepherd

04/28/2015

Nepal.

Baltimore.

Deadly tornadoes in Fairdale and Rochelle, Illinois and Sand Spring, Oklahoma.

Christians beheaded. Jews targeted.

Truth and polite honesty assailed as hate.

Loved ones taking ill. Beloved friends and family suddenly ripped from our lives.IMAG0345

Even pets. How many of us have lost a beloved furry baby… dogs, cats, horses, livestock?

And this list merely scratches the surface.

This is how the first four months of 2015 begins…

… can you believe we are already four months into 2015? Twenty fifteen?? …

… this is how it is every day in our fallen world.

It’s no different today than it was two thousand years ago.

IMAG0202 NaturalIMAG0177 disasters continue to rip apart our tranquility. Such is the world we live in. Hateful human beings destroy without regard for others. Sometimes without regard for themselves.

Such is the world we live in.IMAG0206

Such is the world we have always lived in.

And nature relentlessly takes its course. None of us live forever, no matter how hard we try to prolong our existence, in spite of the zealous attempts of the safety nazis (sorry) to shield us from every risk. Our sweet pets are taken from us before we want to let go.

The clock ticks. Our mortal bodies decay.

This is our existence.

Why?

What good is it?

My sister, Stephanie, sent me a 3 minute, 29 second video about how insignificant our world is in relation to the vastness of the universe. Part of the title suggests that the video will make you question your entire existence.

I dunno… for me, it affirms and strengthens my faith.

Consider, for a moment, the vastness of the universe. Consider, as the video demonstrates, how small is our planet compared to the size of the other planets that orbit our sun, how small Earth is in relation to our sun, how small our sun is in relation to other stars, how vast our galaxy in relation to our solar system, how small our galaxy is in relation to other galaxies.

How enormous is the universe in which we live?

Yet the God of that Universe, His creation, begot His Son through a mere mortal human being, the Virgin Mary, the lifespan of His existence less than a blink of an eye in the grand time span in the life of the ever-expanding Universe.

To save us.

Why?

Who knows?

But He did! And for more than 2,000 years — again, no more than a blink of an eye in the grand time span in the life of the ever-expanding Universe — Jesus Christ has been attracting believers who know that He showed up here.

For us.

I watch that video and I think of the vastness of the universe, too. I ponder the likelihood of the existence of life elsewhere.

And I know that if life exists on another planet elsewhere in God’s ever-expanding Universe, He has appeared there in the form of His own image, to save them as well.

How can I make such a bold statement?

Because the God of the Universe is Love. Because the God of the Universe is Mercy. Because the God of the Universe is Truth.

By definition.

I watch that video and I think of the vastness of the universe. I compare the safety of our atmosphere-controlled world to that of a mother’s womb. Temperature regulated. Just perfect for the lifespan of our time there… or here. Not without dangers. Not without natural disasters.

But meant to surround us in a cocoon of protection and relative safety.

Until it’s time to move on.

The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter.
And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon.
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him,
“How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.

My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” – John 10:22-30

The God of the Universe sent His only begotten Son to be our Good Shepherd. To get us from here to there.Kit Kat

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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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