Monday, February 16, 2015

Dealing with the murders of Christians in Libya? Let's be radical about it.

Murder is ugly. Sin is ugly.

Murder of those with a different religious belief from yours is uglier still.

Murder — or the wish to see murdered — those who persecute you, kill you, your family, your friends, for whatever reason?

It's the ugliest of all.

There's only one way — ONE WAY — to deal with the sadness that has permeated, recently, the Christian world and, since the beginning of time, the entire world.

It's called prayer. Prayer for those who hurt us.

The 21 Coptic Christians murdered by ISIS, and, perhaps more importantly, their loved ones, deserve our prayers.

ISIS needs our prayers more!

That's the radical view. That's my view.

That's the Christian view.

May God continue to bless you.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thank you, Brothers Paul and Rafael, O.M.V.

On August 5, 2014, Br. Paul Nguyen, OMV, and Br. Rafael Solorio, OMV, took first vows as Oblates of the Virgin Mary. They received the religious habit and their own copy of the Constitutions and Norms of the Congregation. The ceremony took place at St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine in Boston. Enjoy this brief video summary of this memorable ceremony. Directed and edited by John Wykes, OMV

"I Will Follow": a video for young Catholic guys

Monday, February 09, 2015

If you're reading this, you're prayed for and blessed by God Himself!

Guess what? You've just been prayed for (by me) and blessed by God!

How did this happen?

Simple. Once you understand — or probably better worded — once you believe — that God can and does do anything and everything…stuff we can't understand but deliciously believe, believe, believe? This is like A B C !

If you're like me…

(Time out for a sec…if you're really like me you might want to pray a bit for yourself…okay, back to the program here)

…then you are oftentimes asked for prayers.

This is a good thing. When asked for them, offer them. Right then and there. We're straight on that? Good!

Now, here comes the GREAT news…

You know how Saint Paul tells us to "pray without ceasing?" 'Course you do. But how do we actually do that?

Especially, how do we make sure that everyone who needs our prayers — and that would include everyone in the whole world, living and deceased — gets them?

Why, we ask our loving Father, in Jesus' Name, to step right in!

And I've a feeling They'll love to do it.

If you know — if you truly, truly know — that (1) God hears you, and (2) God loves you, and (3) God wants to do whatever you ask of Him, and…and this is the most important: (4) God can do everything and anything? — then this is so simple it's almost embarrassing!

Just ASK Him!

Wait…it gets better!

I'm not merely suggesting that you ask God to hear your prayers for Mr. A, or Mrs. B, or Your Friends C, D, and E. Oh no! Let's take a gigantic leap forward here!

Ask God to hear your prayers for — and bless — Each. And. Everyone. Each and everyone He allows to cross your path!

You can do this! Listen to a prayer I offer each morning…and gleefully remember all day long:

Abba, Father, I thank you for the gift of life, and for the newness of life in Christ Jesus. Hear my prayers for each and everyone you allow, or have allowed, or will allow to cross my path…and for all whom You've allowed my path to cross. And Abba? Bless each one, in the Name of Your Son, Jesus! Thank You!

That's it! Well, no, that's not exactly it. I mean, don't give up praying, by name, for those, all of those people who've asked you to do so. I'm not suggesting you give up intercessory prayers…no, no, not at all.

What I'm telling you, though, is that — as God well knows — we, as poor humans, cannot possibly, on our own — pray for every single person in the whole world. Not on our own. But…

We can, with God as our Loving Father, and Creator of all? We can! Because He can…and wants to!

Try to imagine the implications here.

You're stuck at home because of a snowstorm (like I am right now). Who's crossing your path? That book you're reading? The author is. That email you got from a pesky client? He is. Those folks you're remembering? They are.

Or, say you're on your way somewhere.

That guy that almost hit you on the street? He is. The bus driver? Your fellow passengers? The people in line with you at the grocery store? They are.

That guy you forgot about but dated in high school? He was. (Remember: each and every one who has ever crossed your path.) The wrong number on your phone? Yep.

You're watching TV or messing around with Twitter or Facebook…or something. Scrolling down? They're all blessed…and you've just prayed for them.

The news guy? You might not know it but he just lost his Mom. Guess what? God's blessing him, and, and showing mercy to his mom! Thanks to you! And thanks be to God!

These miracles are incredible…aren't they? I
magine your own and you know what? They're not "imaginary!"

So smile! That's the most fun thing about this!

Next time you're sad, or frustrated, or tempted to become angry at someone, or something, or even yourself, remember…God is blessing you, and them. Each one.

Rejoice! Be giddily gleeful at what God can — and is — doing.

Just because you asked Him. And just because He loves you.

And may He continue to bless you!

Friday, February 06, 2015

"Unless we get on our high horse…" I kinda like that

I was saddened when I read something from a very good friend of mine:

"May they burn in Hell!"

He's a Muslim.

Is that what he really wants? For people to burn in Hell?

"Oh, but he's a Muslim!" you say

Yes, I do say. But -- and yes, indeed, this intro is deliberate --

Unless we get on our high horse…

My friend was talking about ISIS.

And unless we get on our high horse…

I've also heard the same sentiments from Jews and Christians. Including priests and rabbis.

"May they burn in Hell!"

Here's the thing: this sucks.

I'm not a Muslim. Nor am I a Jew. I'm a Catholic, but, for the sake of my point? I'm a Jesus-lover. A God-lover.

And, as such? I know that war sucks. Persecution sucks.

Wishing anybody to "burn in Hell"…that sucks, too.

Because this, friends, is not how peace is achieved.

Jesus said it better: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Saints above (saints above!) have repeated these words over, and over, and over again. And died doing so.

And, I believe -- no, I know -- that they were and remain gloriously in Heaven...for doing so.

Saul approved of Stephen's martyrdom. Stephen prayed for him…while dying.

And, as Saint Augustine reminds us: "If Stephen hadn't prayed for Saul, the Church wouldn't have a Saint Paul."

Read this account of Saint Paul Miki's last words…and if you're able to do so? Get off your bleeping high horse.

As I come to this supreme moment of my life, I am sure none of you would suppose I want to deceive you. And so I tell you plainly: there is no way to be saved except the Christian way. My religion teaches me to pardon my enemies and all who have offended me. I do gladly pardon the Emperor and all who have sought my death. I beg them to seek baptism and be Christians themselves.

May God continue to bless you.