Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I Love NY!

Sorry for the sparse posts of late. I am still trying to settle in at the new assignment and then I took vacation and went to Jersey City and New York City. This past weekend I spent a lot of time knocking about The Village and SOHO. The weather was insanely beautiful!

So there I was in this massive stream of people with all of the sights, sounds and smells and it was a little overwhelming. Then it hit me how amazing God's love is! What a wild mix of folk we humans are! So many differences but we share something that makes us unable to be truly separated from one another and that is the fact that we are all God's children!

I was standing in Washington Square Park and I marveled at how we can be so different from one another yet ultimately we are all the same for we are all created in God's image. No one is better than anyone else because God loves us all, no matter what. Now I already knew all of this but it hit me in a very profound way just how great God's love is since God loves us all, faults and all. A religious experience in Gotham. Not a bad vacation...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

July 11, 2007 The Feast of St. Benedict

A happy feast day to my brothers at St. Meinrad Archabbey!

I spent two years living at St. Menirad studying under the Benedictines. Those are two years of happy memories! I was given a copy of The Rule by a dear friend from St. Meinrad. It was his very first copy and it holds a very special place in my library. I also have a link to St. Menirad listed over to the right of this page.

Angels aren't like they are on TV.

14th Week of Ordinary Time
Mass Readings
Genesis 32:23-33
Matthew 9:32-38

Here in America we seem to have an obsession with angels. You can rarely walk in to a bookstore without finding little resin statues of cute, fluffy angels. We turn on the TV and we have angels with an Irish brogue who is pretty and holding every one's hands and giving them a doe eyed look. We have shows where angels wander the highways seeking to do good deeds. I even saw a book that claimed to be able to teach anyone how to get his or her guardian angel to give up their name. Angels are a multi million dollar a year industry. I am sure that makes the angels really proud.

The Biblical image of angels is far from the American syrupy image. Throughout the Bible, angels are God's warriors. The angels were created by God to first serve him not to be at the beck and call of humans. Angels are not the fluffy beings we like to make them out to be. In the Bible, when an angel appears to someone, that person's life is about to be turned upside down! Angels arrive to give a charge from God and it isn't just some fluffy little love note. Angels are God's messengers and spiritual warriors.

We see in our reading from Genesis this morning that Jacob has an encounter with an angel that leaves him scarred and charged with a great task from God. We can also see in other accounts from scripture how life altering angelic encounters are. Our Blessed Mother is visited by an angel and she becomes the Mother of God. Joseph is visited by an angel and he is charged with being the adoptive father of our Lord and asked to accept his wife's divine pregnancy. Angels appear when some of the Apostles are held prisoner and the earth quakes and prison cells are wrenched open. These angelic appearances aren't exactly innocuous afternoon teas. No, angels appear when something major is about to happen and if we are visited we can be assured that our life will be forever changed.

I also remember hearing some folk say that when we die, we become angels. Where did that come from? Nothing could be further from the truth. Scripture tells us that we were created above the angels. We were created with the very Breath of God. We are created in God's image. To be made an angel when we die would be a major step backwards! No. We are the Children of God and we are made in God's image. When we die we become a part of that Great Cloud of Witnesses" the Saints in Glory!

To be touched by an angel is to be transformed and charged with great responsibility in God's Kingdom. Angels aren't like the one's on TV. Angels are God's Spiritual Warriors and harbingers of God's commands.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Fake it till you make it?

Feast of Saint Thomas, Apostle
Tuesday July 3, 2007
Mass Readings:
Ephesians 2:19-22
John 20:24-29

I believe that the Apostle Thomas has been given a bad rap. How many times have you heard the phrase, "Doubting Thomas"? It is an insult when one is referred to as a Doubting Thomas. The phrase implies that one is obstinate and deliberately unwilling to believe someone or something. I do not believe that Thomas deserves such a reputation.

Thomas had not had the joy of seeing Jesus yet and so his response to the other Apostles is perfectly understandable. Imagine losing the love of your life and then have someone run to you and tell you they just saw that person! I imagine that I would react angrily and think the one speaking to me was trying to make fun of me. I imagine that is the way Thomas felt. He must have been hurt and angry.

I think that Thomas was brave. He didn't hide his doubt. He voiced his pain instead of just repressing it. I have never liked the phrase, "fake it till you make it". I think it is dismissive of how one feels. When we don't express our doubts and fears, they weigh us down. Thomas reacts honestly. When Thomas does actually see Jesus, he responds with humility and recognizes he was wrong and admits it. Jesus doesn't scold Thomas but actually offers to him the very things he said would be needed in order for him to believe.

How many of us admit to believing something but secretly hold an opposing view? Not exactly an honest thing to do. I believe that if we do not give voice to our doubts and our fears then those things have power over us. I think it is good for us to admit our doubts and then ask God to help us. Lord, help my disbelief! Honesty with God is a sure fire way for God to be able to break down our doubts and fears.

Let's not "fake it" but rather be honest and allow God to help our disbelief.