Tag Archive: conversion


What’s the Deal With Lent?

What’s the big deal anyway with Lent? Why does it matter, isn’t that pa-say, old school, a practice best left in the Dark Ages? What ever difference does it make to give up chocolate, or candy or beer or coffee? How will that make the world a better place? How will that feed starving children, cure the sick, or fill the churches?

Lent is about me and you personally. It is about looking inside myself and seeing what attachments have become obstacles to my relationship with God and my growth in holiness. It is an inward glance that should be penetrating, honest, and intentional.

WHY?

Because when we each individually take the time to do this, and do it really well; we can begin to see where our faults have become our failings.

“Failings?”Seriously?

Failure to love properly and without limit in imitation of God.

Failure to see that we are interconnected as the One Body of Christ, meaning what I do and do not do affects us ALL.

Failure to realize that this is the journey of a lifetime in preparation for eternal destinations. Heaven and hell decisions are made right here.

Failure to see my hungry, hurting, brother or sister as I busy myself with me, myself, and I.

Need I go on?

This is a time that is a gift given by the Church, if we use it properly to reflect, to change to begin anew.

Yes, I have failed miserably in the past. Lents have come and gone. I have remained the same. It is good to know that I am given lots of opportunities to turn back, reach out, and start again. I invite you to do the same.

Many organizations are offering ways this Lent to help us grow. See if there is something here that might benefit you in your journey to holiness this Lent.

Matthew Kelly: Dynamic Catholic

Sharing Jesus on social media, 2 minute videos to share, sent to your email: #ShareJesus

Daily quotes and beautiful images: Daily Lenten E-Spiration

40 Day Spiritual Workout, Bob Rice

I know there is much more to offer but here is a great start.

Make this Lent count! Grow in love! Grow in holiness! Change the world, by starting with yourself!

 

Advertisements

Violated

I awoke before dawn and was assaulted by the knowledge that today the President of the United States was coming to our little neck of the world. From the moment I heard about his little visit I have been torn, frustrated and angered.

Why here, why come to a high school in a remote southern section of Phoenix on the second day of class, when there is already sufficient confusion and anxiety.

Why indeed?

This twenty minute visit serves what purpose? To what positive end, what benefit will this brief visit provide for a hurting nation? I know what this stopover will do for us locally; disrupt traffic, add apprehension to an already charged atmosphere on campus, cause additional delays by the heightened security, as well as an influx of strangers on site. What cost will this spectacle be to tax payers and a nation already in extreme debt?

Rather than feel honored at this visit, I feel violated. Like Ananias, I wanted to say to God, “Lord I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil he has done…” How I wished and prayed that this day might be more about his conversion, like Saul’s. Imagine the real good that a man in his position, influenced by the Holy Spirit might make.

This is the school that all five of our children attended. This is where our kids were educated. This is where we spent countless hours watching volleyball games, marching band performances, tennis and badminton games. We met friends here, formed relationships, laughed and cried. We sat on the bleachers in sweltering heat for five graduations.

This man who is my single biggest challenge in charity due to his assault on the unborn, his attack on religious freedom and his policies that continue to degrade and divide this great nation.

I began to weep as I prayed for answers. I picked up the greatest weapon I knew of, the Rosary. Tears cascaded down my cheeks and I let them soak into the olive wood beads.

“…deliver us from all evil.”

Lord, it is only so, because you allow it. Somehow all of these setbacks, tribulations, actions that seem to increase evil in the world and attachment to sin-you allow in your Divine Providence. You have a plan. Never let me forget that. Your ways are greater and higher than my mind can understand. Help me trust in you. Let me feel your presence, and be an instrument for your work in the world.

“…lead all souls to heaven especially those most in need of your mercy.”

No one while living, is ever completely lost or without the need for prayers and mercy. Help me pray for the conversion of all sinners most of all myself. Let your mercy be upon us as we place our trust in you.

“…to thee do we send up our sighs mourning and weeping in this vale of tears…”

Mother Mary, you weep and intercede for all of your children. He is yours too; he is lost and is in need of conversion. We are all in this “exile” as we journey towards heaven. Help us turn to you in our mourning, in our pain, confusion and hopelessness. Lead us to your Son.

“…be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil”

We are not alone; we are not left to our own devices. All of heaven is fighting for us, interceding for us. There is a spiritual battle raging and there will be causalities. Pray that we will not be put to the test but knowing if we are, you will give us the words, and the tools we need to fight.

As I concluded my prayers, I looked out the window and saw that a light rain was falling, a miracle in this dry desert. I wondered if heaven was weeping too at the state of humanity.

Perhaps there was a chance for a real storm after all, and maybe even some lightening too; the kind of light that comes from heaven and knocks people to the ground and they hear voices.

Filling the Unfillable Void

 By Barbara Lishko

“Our hearts are restless Lord, until they rest in thee.”  St Augustine knew well what he was writing about, having spent part of his life filling the void with everything but God.

It is difficult to watch people you care about “fill their voids” with self- destructive habits, people and distractions. So many times I see them settle for pleasure, when what they really yearn for is happiness. I remember Matthew Kelly speaking once on this subject of pleasure and happiness. The main difference being pleasure must be constantly fed or the feeling dies. Happiness on the other hand, can sustain itself long after the experience which brought it about.

Being a parent and a youth minister who works with teens and young adults, I am constantly baffled at the lengths our young people travel as they seek pleasure. It can be like a drug addiction that must constantly be sought in ever higher degrees to attain that original euphoria. Many are so lonely for one reason or another. They feel incomplete without all the material trappings society says they must have to be happy and fulfilled. Often their desperation for a soul-mate drives them into settling for a hook-up instead of true and authentic, self-giving love. They desire answers for their purpose and meaning yet lack discipline and patience, descending instead into a constant state of meaningless diversions.

It is sad to hear about. It is heartbreaking to observe. I have found myself in the role of confidant many times so I have a unique perspective as I watch the drama unfold. I know their desire is for something more, yet time and time again, they settle for the counterfeit. I go to “the Garden” often, and kneel there beside our Lord as He interceded to the Father on our behalf. I too intercede and do what I can in small ways to beg the Father, Son, and Spirit to guide and assist these young people as they struggle with their choices and ensuing consequences. We have all been there in one degree or another, yet these times are somewhat different and less forgiving.

I know when I goofed-up as a young person I might be taunted about it for awhile but I would have never had to see it played over and over again on the internet, spreading poison and stinging each time with ever increasing destruction.  With all the means of greater communication, we have faster ways of spreading gossip, lies, and drama to the detriment of those involved.

What is the solution to this, if there is any?

Dare I suggest, we make a stronger more determined effort to model Christ-like behavior in our own lives; to walk the walk ourselves, so that they see a way that points to truth, a love that doesn’t count the cost or use, and obedience that disciplines the will conforming itself to God.

Persistence in prayer for one another will invoke the Spirit’s movement in their lives and ours. Attentive listening and availability to those who struggle is critical so that they can be wrapped in encouragement and love as they stretch, and grow into the fullness of God’s creation.

God allows U-turns, and do-overs and restarts. There is an essential need for us older brothers and sisters to show them the way. We must grow up and put away the things of our childhood without losing our childlike wonder and awe of God. Men must become men whose lives are in line with Christ.  We need your witness in faithfulness to family, wife, Church and what it means to lay down one’s life.

Ladies, our model is Mary our Mother; self-giving love and the great fiat. We must stop saying yes to sex outside of marriage and respect ourselves enough to say that we are worth waiting for. Crystalina Evert says that “a guy will be as much of a gentleman as we require.” We have the God-given power to help our brothers step up and be the protectors and defenders of our virtue, not the slayers and betrayers.

I know that I have been called to be in this place and time for a reason. Each and every one of us is here because God has a purpose and plan for our lives and a part to play in each other’s salvation.  May we see the unique role we play in this period in history, and become the saints so desperately needed.