Monthly Archives: January 2010

“I Told You So: Beforehand!!” – Is 9:5


Today is “Sun”day.  I love the blue shies, and that bright object in the sky, that people have told me is the sun.  It’s been sooooo long since I have seen it, and I am told it will be disappearing again tomorrow.

Today’s reflection is from today’s Mass reading, and is about an Old Testament prophesy of the coming Messiah: Jesus.  A great reflection.  Please add my reflection page to your favorites list.  I would appreciate it, and maybe we both can learn. 

 

Quote or Joke of the Day:

 

A priest, a rabbi, and a minister walk into a bar. The bartender says, “What is this, some kind of joke?”

 

Today’s Meditation:

 

For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.  (NAB Is 9:5)

 

Let me just some this verse up: it is about the birth and reign of Jesus Christ!  Religious scholars call this a “typology,” which is the study of religious texts for the purpose of identifying episodes in them, that appear to prophesy later events.  Typologies prove that the Old Testament wasn’t thrown out with Jesus’ birth.  After all, Jesus as a Jew, and lived by what was told  in the Old Testament.  The New Testament does not give up the old; but changes the old covenant, in exchange for a new covenant of redemption through Christ’s suffering and death on the cross.

The child in this verse refers to the Old Testament Immanuel; a child.  Other references (typologies) can be found in Isaiah 7:14 (about his birth to a virgin), Isaiah 8:8 (about being from Judah), and Isaiah 11:1 (About a person with the knowledge of the Lord, that will come from the stump of Jesse).

Other parts of this verse have very distinctive meanings.  “Upon his shoulder dominion rests” is about Christ’s authority. “Wonder-Counselor” means that Christ will be known for his wisdom and prudence.  “God-Hero” describes Christ as a warrior and a defender of his people, like God himself.  “Father-Forever” refers to Christ being always devoted to his people.  Finally, “Prince of Peace” talks about his reign being characterized by peace.

Another way of putting this verse in today’s vernacular: Christ will be the strong, but sensitive type.  Others that I know with the same qualities of being authoritative, wise, prudent, defender, devoted, and peaceful: The Venerable Pope John Paul II, Saint Francis, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, me, Robert Redford, Archbishop Timothy Nolan, Archbishop Robert Carlson, and Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen. 

“Lord, you know all that was, and all that will be.  Please stay with me while I stumble along my path to your redemptive love for me.  I love you with my mind, heart and soul.  Please live in me and guide me in the Christian way to live my life.  Amen”     

 

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

 

*****

 

Franciscan Saint of the Day:  St. John Bosco 1815-1888

 

St. John Bosco, one of the greatest saints of modern times, was born in a Piedmontese village in 1815. When he was 2 years old, he lost his father, a humble peasant farmer; and he was brought up by his saintly Tertiary mother, Margaret. It was no doubt due to her example and influence that John too joined the Third Order of St. Francis.

Even as a youngster, John recognized that it was his vocation in life to help poor boys; and he began to teach catechism to the boys of his own village and bring them to church. Acrobatic stunts and conjuring tricks were the means he used to get them together.

At 16 he entered the seminary at Chieri. He was so poor at the time, that the mayor contributed a hat, the parish priest a cloak, one parishioner a cassock, and another a pair of shoes. After he was ordained a deacon he passed on to the seminary in Turin; and there, with the approbation of his superiors, he began to gather together on Sundays poor apprentices and waifs of the city.

Not long after his ordination to the priesthood in June, 1841, he established what he called a Festive Oratory, a kind of Sunday school and recreation center for boys, in Turin. His mother came to be his housekeeper and mother of the Oratory. Two more Oratories in the same city followed. When Father John Bosco’s mother died in 1856, the Oratories housed 150 resident boys; and there were four Latin classes and four workshops, one of them a printing press. Ten young priests assisted Father John in his work. Father John was also much in demand as a preacher; and he spent half of his nights in writing popular books in order to provide good reading.

Father John’s confessor and spiritual director was the saintly Tertiary priest Joseph Cafasso; and Father John too gained the reputation of being a saint. Miracles, mostly of healing, were attributed to him. By his kindness and sympathy and his marvelous power of reading the thoughts of his boys, he exercised a profound influence upon his charges. He was able to rule them with apparent indulgence and absence of punishment, something the educationists of the day could not understand.

In 1854 Father John founded the religious order of Salesians, so called in honor of St. Francis de Sales. Its members devote themselves to the education of poor boys. The new society grew rapidly. Father John lived to see 38 houses established in the Old World and 26 in the New World. Today it is one of the largest orders of men in the Church.

Father John also founded a sisterhood called Daughters of St. Mary Auxiliatrix; and he organized many outside helpers into the Salesian Co-operators, who are pledged to assist in some way the educational labors of the Salesians. In 1930 they totalled 800,000.

Father John’s last great work was the building of Sacred Heart Church in Rome, a task which was entrusted to him by Pope Pius IX after it has seemed to be a hopeless project. The holy priest, who was everywhere acclaimed as a saint and wonderworker, gathered funds for the church in Italy and France; and somehow he succeeded where others had failed. But in doing so he wore himself out. and on January 31, 1888, he was called to his reward. Forty thousand persons came to pay their respects as his body lay in state in the church at Turin; and his funeral resembled a triumphal procession.

St. John was canonized in 1934.

Book of Saints, ed. by Marion Habig, ofm.,
© 1959 Franciscan Herald Press
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)

 

Secular Franciscan Order Motto:

     

Pax et Bonum

(Peace and All Good)

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“Martha, the Devils Got My Foot and Won’t Let Go!” – Luke 4:8-9


Saturday morning and the sun is out.  Had a great time at Church today.  Afterwards, a large group of us went to McDonald’s to partake in a little cholesterol enhancement.

Today’s reflections is about temptation, and how to handle it.  Something I need a lot of, is control over temptation.

Bible Scroll

Quote or Joke of the Day:

  

As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in public schools.

  

Today’s Meditation:

  

Jesus said to him [the devil] in reply, “It is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.”  Then he [the devil] led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here … (NAB Luke 4:8-9)

  

You cannot serve two kings.  It’s either going to be God, or the devil.  The devil once worshiped our Lord, and our Lord once loved him and all the other “fallen angels,”  God loved them so much he gave them the same gift we received from Him: the gift of free-will!  After this, the angels no longer believed as God, and refused to honor his creation of us.  They were thrown out of heaven for not following God in His love for his creations. 

The devil doesn’t necessarily want us.  As a matter of fact, the devil despises us with the utmost zeal.  The only interest he has in us, is to turn us from our love of God; his eternal enemy.  The pitiful thing is that at some time in the relatively near future, we are all going to spend eternity with one of these two supreme beings!  If you don’t spend eternity with God in paradise, the only option left is spending eternity with a being that hates you to a degree we cannot even imagine.  Scary thought, isn’t it!? 

For those that think they are immune from the temptation or taunting of the devil, because of their strong faith in God: just remember that God, as Jesus, was tempted for forty days; and then taunted several other times throughout the gospels.  If the devil has no fear of tempting God, what makes you think he has no qualms about tempting or taunting a ‘mere human.’ 

The devil even took Jesus to the place of His birth, and put Him on top of the temple were He became a member of the Jewish community (through His circumcision, and sacrifice of pigeon doves) 30+ years in the past.  From there, the devil challenged Him to do an easy task that Jesus knew he would be protected; but did not succumb to this temptation, as it was not His time.  

How interesting, and ironic that the devil brought Jesus to Jerusalem.  This is the place of His birth, His entrance into the Jewish faith, and His first episode of His future role as priest and messiah, by being “found in the temple with the temple priests” in His early teenage years.  It is also the city were Jesus will ultimately face his destiny with death: not by falling from the temple parapet as the devil wanted; but on the cross in total pain and agony, by His own free-will, as His heavenly Father had instructed, in order to give us redemption for our ‘devil pleasing’ sins. 

“Lord please help the fools that think the immoral acts of today will have no impact on their futures.  They are being deceived by Satan.  Please be with them and come too their aid.  St. Michael, protect us all from the horrors of eternal damnation by protecting us from the devils temptations and taunts.  Amen.”

  

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

  

*****

  

Franciscan Saint of the Day: St. Hyacintha Mariscotti 1585-1640

  

St. Hyacintha, born in 1585, belonged to a wealthy and prominent family. Her father was Count Antonio of Mariscotti, and her mother descended from the princely Roman family of the Orsini.  

After her younger sister had been given in marriage, the disappointed Clarice, as Hyacintha was then called, entered the convent of the Tertiaries at Viterbo, but apparently only as a secular Tertiary. She permitted herself to be supplied with all sorts of things by way of eatables and articles of dress which enabled her to enjoy quite an agreeable and comfortable existence. Her rooms were furnished with much worldly apparatus. The spirit of mortification and of penance with which every Tertiary ought to be equipped was in no wise discernible to her. 

Then it happened that she was afflicted with a strange illness, and her confessor was obliged to go to her rooms to administer the sacraments to her. When he saw the worldly and frivolous objects in her cell, he sharply reproved the sick sister. Following her confessor’s advice, she afterwards went to the common refectory and there, with a rope around her neck, begged forgiveness of her fellow sisters for the scandal she had given them. 

However, it was only after she had invoked the aid of St. Catherine of Siena, that she dispossessed herself of all frivolous and unnecessary objects, and thereupon resolutely entered upon a life of heroic virtue. 

She began to lead a very penitential life, in which she persevered unto the end. She went barefoot, wore an old habit that had been discarded by another sister, and performed the lowliest and most trying tasks. She ate only inferior food with which she mixed bitter herbs. Her bed consisted of a few bare boards, on which there was but a single blanket; a stone served as her pillow. She fostered a special devotion to the sufferings of Christ; and in memory of them, she subjected herself to special austerities on Fridays and in Holy Week. She also entertained a filial love for Mary, the Mother of Mercy, who sometimes appeared to her and comforted her. 

Enriched by every virtue and held in great repute by her fellow sisters, she died in the 55th year of her age, in the year of our Lord 1640. Many miracles occurred at her grave for which reason Pope Benedict XIII placed her in the ranks of the blessed.  

In the year 1807 she was canonized by Pope Pius VII. 

from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed.
by Marion Habig, ofm., © 1959 Franciscan Herald Press
 (From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)

  

Prologue to Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule, Chapter 1:

  

… “Oh, holy Father, protect them with your name (cf. Jn 17:11) whom you gave me out of the world. I entrusted to them the message you entrusted to me and they received it. They have known that in truth I came from you; they have believed that it was you who sent me. For these I pray, not for the world (cf. Jn 17:9). Bless and consecrate them, and I consecrate myself for their sakes. I do not pray for them alone; I pray also for those who will believe in me through their word (cf. Jn 17:20) that they may be holy by being one, as we are (cf. Jn 17:11). And I desire, Father, to have them in my company where I am to see this glory of mine in your kingdom” (cf. Jn 17:6-24). 

 

Stop Looking Over My Shoulder; I’m Doing the Job!” – Mt 28:19-20


It is another beautifully NON-Sunny day in Hazelwood, MO.  My Nieces Nephew graduates from Basic training this weekend.  Let’s pray from a break in the weather in Oklahoma, so that he has a great experience, and for the safety of all the soldiers families.

  

This reflection is about we are to do as Christians, and what the church is for Catholics.

Bible Study

 

Quote or Joke of the Day:

  

I don’t care WHO you are, quit walking on the water while I’m fishing!

  

Today’s Meditation:

  

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”  (NAB Mt 28:19-20)

  

The Risen Jesus gives the eleven apostles a special, and universal mission.  They are to make disciples of all nations.  Sounds like an easy job; doesn’t it?  While “all nations” is probably referring more to the Gentiles, but it probably included their Jewish society as well.  

Baptism is the means of entrance into the community of the Jesus, “the Church.”  “In the name of the Father . . . Holy Spirit” is perhaps the clearest expression in the New Testament of our trinitarian belief.  It designates the effect of baptism; the union of the one baptized with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the way of gaining entrance into paradise, and also ends death of the soul. 

All that I have commanded you is a moral teaching found of this gospel verse.  It is the same words as that used at the Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 5-7).  The commandments of Jesus are the standard of Christian conduct, but not Mosaic law, even though some of the Mosaic commandments have now been invested with the authority and word of Jesus.  “Behold, I am with you always” is a promise of Jesus’ real, though invisible presence, and echoes the prophetic name given to Jesus at His birth; “Emmanuel” meaning ‘God is with us.’ 

These two simple verses say a lot.  It gives a command.  It gives us hope.  And it gives a promise of eternal life with the Trinity, in heaven. 

“Lord, be with me as I evangelize in my words and actions throughout my normal days activities.  May the Holy Spirit be in my words when confronted with the opportunity to talk about your love for us all, regardless of who we are, or how bad we have been.  Gives us all the hope of eternal pleasure with you in heaven, and may we never forget you are always with us in the Holy Spirit.  Amen.”

  

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

  

*****

  

Franciscan Saint of the Day:  Bl. Roger of Todi

  

Died at Todi, Italy, in 1237; cultus confirmed by Pope Benedict XIV. Blessed Roger was one of the early Franciscans who was admitted to the order by the founder himself. St. Francis appointed him spiritual director of the convent of Poor Clares at Rieti. 

 (From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)

 

Prologue to Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule, Chapter 1:

    

… Oh, how glorious it is to have a great and Holy Father in heaven! Oh, how glorious it is to have such a beautiful and admirable Spouse, the Holy Paraclete.   

Oh, how glorious it is to have such a Brother and such a Son, loved, beloved, humble, peaceful, sweet, lovable, and desirable above all: Our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave up his life for his sheep (cf. Jn 10:15) and prayed to the Father saying: …   

“Officer, We Found the Subject Dead; Lying in His Own Transgressions!” – Eph 2: 1-2


It has been 23 years since the U.S. shuttle “Challenger” exploded 72 seconds after lift off, killing all seven astronauts aboard, including school teacher Christa McAuliffe.  Also, last night, President Obama gave his fist State of the Union Address.  I speculate that in another 23 years we will still remember one these historic moments, and not the other!
 
This reflection is about sin’s effect on our future.  The humorous quote is something a friend recently sent to me, and helped placed our perceptions of others in a new light.   

"The Good News"

 

Quote or Joke of the Day:

  

BEST POEM IN THE WORLD 

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
   As I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor. 

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp–
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash. 

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice. 

Roger, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well. 

I nudged Jesus, ‘What’s the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must’ve made a mistake. 

‘And why is everyone so quiet,
So somber – give me a clue.’
‘Hush, child,’ He said, ‘they’re all in shock.
No one thought they’d be seeing you.’ 

JUDGE NOT!! 

Remember…Just going to church doesn’t make you a
Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. 

Every saint has a PAST…
Every sinner has a FUTURE! 

Today’s Meditation:

  

You were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you once lived following the age of this world, … (Eph 2: 1-2)

  

In these verses, Paul was urging the people of Ephesus (In Asia Minor – modern day Turkey) to remember their grim past, when they were dead through their sins; and what they are now, clothed in Christ, both Jew and Gentile reconciled with God.  They are now a new people of one body: the household of God.  These new people are now the temple and dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. 

The recipients of Paul’s letter have experienced, in their redemption from transgressions, the effect of Christ’s power over the devil, who rules not from the “netherworld,” but from between God in heaven and human beings on earth.  Both Jew and Gentile have experienced, through and by Christ, a gift of redemption and salvation that marked them for a future heavenly life in paradise.   

The term, “age of this world,” is synonymous with the rulers of earth, but also reflects the Jewish idea of “two ages,” this present evil age and “the age to come”.  Evil is still very prevalent today.  People are still falling victim to the devil lurking in the recesses of our thoughts and emotions.   Addiction, apathy, immoral sex, abortion, euthanasia, and cheating or just a few of the effects of evil in our society.  The good thing is that anyone can thwart these sins of death, and live forever with Christ in a paradise no one on this earth can even imagine in our wildest dreams.  All we need is to follow Christ, live in Him and Him in us, ask for help from Him, and ask for forgiveness from Him and others we sin against.  Not easy: but not impossible. 

“Lord, tell the devil to go ‘somewhere else.’  Be with us, especially when tempted by the prince of darkness.  Please protect my family and friends from these evils as well.  Amen”

  

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

  

*****

  

Prologue to Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule, Chapter 1:

    

… Oh, how glorious it is to have a great and Holy Father in heaven! Oh, how glorious it is to have such a beautiful and admirable Spouse, the Holy Paraclete.   

Oh, how glorious it is to have such a Brother and such a Son, loved, beloved, humble, peaceful, sweet, lovable, and desirable above all: Our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave up his life for his sheep (cf. Jn 10:15) and prayed to the Father saying: …   

 

 

“Love is a Thorny Thing – You Could Get Pricked!” – 1 Cor 13:4


Wednesday morning, and the weather man is using those bad words again.  It seems everyone needs to stock up on the milk, bread, and eggs! 

 

Yesterday marks two weeks for the survivors of the ‘quakes in Haiti.  Please pray that they keep up their faith in God, and allow Jesus to work through them, and others coming to their aid.

 

Today’s reflection is about “Love.”

Bible Study

Quote or Joke of the Day:

  

God loves everyone, but probably prefers “fruits of the spirit” over “religious nuts.”

  

Today’s Meditation:

   

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated

(NAB 1 Cor 13:4)

  

This verse defines love by what it does, or does not do with the relationship. Translated from Greek, it has fifteen verbs.  Many of these translate into English as adjectives.  Patient and kindness is love.  Jealousy and self-importance is not. Love, I have observed, does not usually happen all at once.  I am going to steal from today’s Gospel reading to describe love.  Love is like a mustard seed thrown on the ground.  

As the mustard seed thrown on rocky soil will not grow: neither will attempts at love based on lies, and lack of communication skills.  Many people say they are in love, when they are only infatuated with each other.  I like it when my kids have girl friends.  They think they are in love, but they cannot understand what true love entails.  Patience and kindness are not necessarily virtues of today’s teenage population.  I know a lot of “adults” who have yet to leave this stage in life.  I will call this the “have my ice cream and eat it NOW’ approach to love. 

The mustard seed thrown among thorns equates to love that may start strong for the two persons, but as time goes on, one or both, of the two lose the focus of the relationship, and gets stung by a thorn.  This “thorn” could be jealousy, an extramarital affair, addiction to drugs or alcohol, or lack of pathos for the other person in the relationship, just to name a few.  I’ll consider this the “have my ice cream and let it melt, without ever consuming the dessert. 

I speculate that the “thorn bush” is actually a metaphor for poor communication.  As the mustard seed of love gets entangled in the thorn bush, communication between the two become less and less, until there is no communication.  Without communication, there is no way love can grow, and it will eventually die.  I believe communication is a part of love that gets more rich, sweeter, and fuller with age.  

Finally, the mustard seed of love that is placed on good soil.  Do you know what happens to a seed placed in fertile ground?  IT DIES!  When in love with someone, the two in love die of themselves, and grow into one beautiful creation.  My children say, “There is no “I” in team.”  Love is a team approach to a wonderful gift, expressed by God Himself.  When a couples love develops to a point of marriage, they enter into a special relationship, a covenant, with each other and God.  My favorite ice cream metafore: “On a daily basis, have some of your ice cream and not only eat yours, but eat some of your spouses; and visa versa – and never run out!”  

God is pure love.  He loves us so much, that we cannot understand the depth of His love for us.  God loves us so much, He gave us “free-will,” and the ability to accept or deny His love.  No other creation on this planet is able to do this.  

We all need to cherish our love for others, while at the same time giving this love to all we come into contact with along our daily path in life.  The more love we share, the more love takes root.  Wouldn’t it be great if the entire world was covered with the vines and fruits of love!? 

“Lord, be with me as I attempt to plant the seeds of love in others.  Nurture these seeds so they sprout, and allow these sprouts to grow in others.  The harvest will be great with your help.  Amen.”

  

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

  

*****

  

Franciscan Saint of the Day:  St. Angela Merici 1470-1540

  

Angela Merici was born in the year 1470 at Decenzano, northern Italy, on the banks of Lake Garda.  She so loved modesty and purity of heart that she was quite generally venerated as a little saint in her native town.  When she was in her 13th year she entered the Third Order of St. Francis, and soon afterward took the vow of perpetual chastity, renounced all her possessions, and wished to live only on alms.  Along with this she practiced great austerities, slept on the bare earth, and fasted continuously on bread and water.  Sometimes Holy Communion was her only food over a period of several days. 

When she was 23 years old, Angela was praying one day in a secluded place, and there she had a vision of a friend who had died a short while before.  Her friend prophesied that Angela would be the foundress of a religious institute which would be devoted to the education of youth, and destined to do an unlimited amount of good for the kingdom of God.  That proved to be a great incentive for Angela, not only to lead a life of contemplation, but also to serve her fellowmen in active work. 

She gathered about her a group of young women, and together they went out to give religious instruction to little children, to help the poor, and to care for the sick.  Often there were great sinners among those to whom she ministered, and in such cases she did not cease instructing, entreating, and encouraging them until they were reconciled with God and began to lead a new life. 

Her saintly conduct and the profound knowledge she had, concerning even the most difficult questions of theology, caused her to be greatly respected by high and low and to be regarded as a saint.  In order to escape such honor, Angela left her native town of Decenzano in 1516, and went to Brescia, where a wealthy but pious merchant offered her a house.  There she lived absorbed in God until the year 1524. 

At that time Angela was seized with an ardent desire to visit the Holy Land, just as our holy Father St. Francis once was.  She visited Jerusalem, Mt. Calvary, and the other holy places with uncommon devotion.  She returned by way of Rome, in order to pray at the tombs of the apostles, and this gain the great jubilee indulgence.  Pope Clement VII, who was not unaware of her sanctity, wished to detain her in Rome, and did not permit her to return to Brescia until he understood by divine inspiration that in Brescia lay the field of labor for which God had destined her. 

Due to disturbances caused by war, Angela could not undertake her appointed work until 1531.  On November 25, 1535, her pious society was founded as the religious congregation of St. Ursula, who was the special patron of their work.  The congregation, known also as Ursulines, spread rapidly and is active in many countries, also in America, where its institutions for the Christian education of Feminine youth are blessed with much success. 

When Angela reached the age of 70, the day and hour of her death were revealed to her.  She received the last sacraments with great fervor, and was rapt in ecstasy.  While pronouncing the holy name of Jesus, she departed this life on January 27, 1540, in the very hour that had been foretold to her.  She was laid out in the habit of the Third Order, holding in her hand the pilgrim’s staff she had used in the Holy Land. Thus she reposes in a side chapel of the parish church of St. Afa in Brescia. Pope Clement XIII beatified her, and on March 24, 1807, Pope Pius VII canonized her in St. Peter’s Church, Rome. 

  

from: The Franciscan Book of Saints, ed.
by Marion Habig, ofm., © 1959 Franciscan Herald Press
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)

 

  

Prologue to the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule,  Chapter 1:

   

All who love the Lord with their whole heart, with their whole soul and mind, with all their strength (cf. Mk 12:30), and love their neighbors as themselves (cf. Mt 22:39) and hate their bodies with their vices and sins, and receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and produce worthy fruits of penance.  

Oh, how happy and blessed are these men and women when they do these things and persevere in doing them, because “the spirit of the Lord will rest upon them” (cf. Is 11:2) and he will make “his home and dwelling among them” (cf Jn 14:23), and they are the sons of the heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:45), whose works they do, and they are the spouses, brothers, and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Mt 12:50). 

“Hey You, I’m Keeping Score!” – Mt 18:21-22


It is Tuesday and the sun is alluding us again.  I am seriously thinking of buying one of those “sun lights’ for the house.  I need my vitamin “D.” 

Today’s reflection is about forgiveness and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  I think this may be one of my best blogs, so far.  Please read and SHARE.  I need more visitors to my blog site.  Please advertise on your pages.  Thanks, Dan.

Bible Study

Quote or Joke of the Day:

  

 The noblest revenge is to forgive. (T. Fuller)

http://www.oneliners-and-proverbs.com/

  

Today’s Meditation:

   

Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”   Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.  (NAB Mt 18:21-22)

  

These two verses deal with the forgiveness that the disciples are to give to their fellow disciples, who sin against them.  To the question Peter asks on how often forgiveness is to be granted, Jesus answers that it is to be given without limit.  Jesus warns that his heavenly Father will give those who do not forgive the same treatment as was given to those that sinned against them.  In reference to the number seventy-seven: these verses correspond exactly to the story found in  Genesis 4:24.  The verses allude to the limitless vengeance of Lamech in the Genesis text.  In any case, what is demanded of the disciples, and of us, is limitless forgiveness. 

The New American Bible references ‘forgiveness’ about 210 times; including the great Christian prayer – “the Our Father.”  Even the Koran emphasizes forgiveness.  From a portion of the “Lord’s Prayer” found at Matthew 6:12-15, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.  If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.   But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” 

Found in the Koran, forgiveness is emphasized: “He who forgives, and is reconciled unto his enemy, shall receive his reward from God; for he loves not, the unjust doers.”  Like all things in your life, forgiveness is a choice.  By making the choice to grant unconditional forgiveness, you will have brought yourself one step closer to living a life of fulfillment, joy, and deep inner peace. 

Hillary Clinton once said that in the Bible, it says the people asked Jesus how many times you should forgive; and Jesus said “70 times 7.”  Hillary wanted all to know “that she was keeping a chart.”   Life is not a scorecard.   Saying I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive.  Forgiveness should be like a cancelled note: torn in two and burned up, so that it never can be shown again. 

The deceptive reality is that our small every day actions, decisions and tasks make a huge difference.  When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than any steel.  Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve and break that link, and get free.” 

CONFESSION (The Sacrament of Reconciliation)  is not only a sacrament of the Catholic Church; it is essential for our salvation.  St. John Vianney once wrote, “My children, when we have a little stain on our souls, we must do like someone who has a beautiful crystal globe of which you takes great care.  If the globe gets a little dusty, when we see the dust, we will pass a sponge over it; and there is the globe, bright and shining again.” 

 When was the last time you have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation?  Do you remember that uplifting and clean feeling you got after making a good confession.  Why do some not want to experience that sensation?  Forgiveness is a great gift – a grace – from God. 

“Lord, help me to remember that forgiveness is a key to fulfillment with you.  Please allow and help my brothers and sisters to return to your great gift, the grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Be with me as I ask for forgiveness from those I may have hurt, and to accept forgiveness from those that have hurt me.  Finally Lord, please forgive me for any transgressions that I may have made against you.  Amen.”

  

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

  

*****

  

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #26:

  

As a concrete sign of communion and co- responsibility, the councils on various levels, in keeping with the constitutions, shall ask for suitable and well prepared religious for spiritual assistance. They should make this request to the superiors of the four religious Franciscan families, to whom the Secular Fraternity has been united for centuries.  To promote fidelity to the charism as well as observance of the rule and to receive greater support in the life of the fraternity, the minister or president, with the consent of the council, should take care to ask for a regular pastoral visit by the competent religious superiors as well as for a fraternal visit from those of the higher fraternities, according to the norm of the constitutions. 

“You Want Me To Do What!” – Jn 15:16


Good Monday, Carpe Diem!!!  Today’s reflection is about you personally are called to do for God and Society.  It is a “Readers Digest” version of how I came to be where I am now.  I absolutely opened up on this one. 

Bible Study

Quote or Joke of the Day:

   

The world is a mirror. It reflects back to you what you are. If you are loving, friendly & helpful the world will be loving, friendly & helpful to you.

   

Today’s Meditation:

   

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.  (Jn 15:16)

   

As a child, I actually thought seriously about becoming a priest.  I liked being in our parish church; the priests were nice; the nun’s were *&/#%? (ok, I’ll just say ‘always there’).  As I grew older, I never really lost that pull towards the religious life; but I had other interests, including GIRLS!   

After graduating, and starting my profession as a paramedic, I attended retreats and other programs my Archdiocease had for discernment to the priesthood and religious life.  Though I checked out several religious congregations, including the archdiocease priesthoods, but nothing ever clicked for me.  A few years later, I found my soul-mate: Jeanine.  We were married 19 years ago.  My love for her has grown daily since our marriage.  I cannot believe I can love someone more than I love Jeanine today, but each morning when I wake, it just happens that my love for her has grown again.  

My love for God has also grown.  Several years after our marriage, we were still childless.  I was interested in the Diaconate program, and started the process for admission.  I started taking classes the diocese had for adult education.  I found a spiritual director to help me with the discernment process.  And Jeanine and I went through a series of interviews.  I was disheartened when notified that I had been eliminated from the admission process because our marriage was still relatively new, and any children in the future would hamper my studies for the diaconate.  

Surprisingly, the exact day that I was notified of this disturbing news, my wife and I also found out we were to become parents.  God definitely has a sense of humor.  Not only did we have one child, but had four in less than six years.  This definitely kept us busy.  Matter of fact, I was so busy that I started putting my relationship with God on the back-burner.  God wasn’t a priority in my life; though I still went through the motions.   

An incident happened in my life that upset me greatly, and this incident was a threat to the lifestyle of my family.  I went to church to literally to yell at God.  When I was sitting in the church, I found peace instead of anger.  I later went on a retreat, and confession for the first time in well over ten years.  Not only did I find Jesus again; He hit me hard with the grace of the Holy Spirit.  Similar to St. Paul being thrown from his horse, I found myself lying on my bed, on the last night of the retreat, crying with such an emotion of happiness that I could not get out of bed.  The Holy Spirit was burning bright in my soul.  

I wasn’t searching for this experience.  Heck, I didn’t even know this experience could happen.  I did not want this feeling to leave me, and I searched for a way to keep this it burning.  My search led me to the Secular Franciscan Order, the 3rd Order of the Franciscans created by St. Francis 400 years ago.  Again I never heard of this group of people, and had never had been exposed to Franciscan Friars, or their unique spirituality.   

With God’s will, I will be making my Profession (the last step, similar to the final vows nuns take) within the next year.  I love my Franciscan journey; and I love that God has led me to this blog, that I write every day.  Thank you for taking the time to read the thoughts of a poor sinner; that really has no ulterior motive, other than to please God.  

“Lord, please help me to understand your wants of me.  I will do anything you say, even if it entails pain and suffering.  Please allow me to live in, and through you.  Finally, please help me with my Franciscan discernment, and be with my friends that read these reflections.  Amen.”

   

Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO

   

*****

   

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #25:

   

Regarding expenses necessary for the life of the fraternity and the needs of worship, of the apostolate, and of charity, all the brothers and sisters should offer a contribution according to their means. Local fraternities should contribute toward the expenses of the higher fraternity councils.