The perimeter fence around the campus of Saint Albert has been in need of some attention. I am thrilled to say that it is finally getting that tender, loving care today. Removal of the rusted and falling down fence is well underway as I write this on Saturday evening. I checked on the progress at 5:30 pm and the workers were still at it. The picture below shows the old fence gone and new posts being set.
I am grateful to the supporters of Saint Albert who make projects like this possible. Go Falcons! Go Saintes!
The calendar will reveal August 1, 2020 tomorrow. Wow! Where does the time go?
What are some things that have brought you joy in the midst of the struggles in contemporary society?
After you take a moment to recall the people, places, things, and experiences which bring you joy, take some time to pray in thanksgiving. It is easy to become burdened by the challenges of life. Don't miss the blessings!
I recently made a trip out to Cheyenne, Wyoming to visit family. Typically, Cheyenne Frontier Days would have been in progress at that time, but not this year. I had to settle for a walk around the park and a few pieces of artwork to reminisce about the "Daddy of 'Em All."
As I watched some of the hearings yesterday with the attorney general, one thing became abundantly clear. The politicians in Washington could benefit from a class in "Cowboy Ethics." If societal culture is shaped by the example of the Washington elite, it is evident that we are destined to be a rude and disrespectful nation. I understand politics. I understand dramatic acting. When the two are joined together you get political theater. The hearing yesterday was not looking for answers. It was looking for sound bites to be used as campaign propaganda for the remaining three months before the election. A question offered by Pontius Pilate may have been relevant again yesterday, "What is truth?"
If you were teaching a young child about good manners, what lessons would he/she have learned yesterday from some of our top congressional leaders?
I had driven past this tree many times while we lived in Wyoming. It sits in the median of I-80 in between Cheyenne and Laramie. I never stopped to visit because I was always trying to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. I passed it again recently and made a last moment decision to exit so I could see it up close. I am a tourist now instead of a resident so it was acceptable to stop. (How many Wyoming residents have never been to Yellowstone National Park?)
The power of slow and steady growth is evident.
Do we have that kind of slow and steady growth in our own lives?
Do the hard times in life bring out the best in you?
Are you willing to stand alone if it is the right thing to do?
Do the challenges of life lead you to a deeper holiness?
A few questions today for reflection:
What comes to mind when you look at the statue above?
What role does your imagination play in regard to your prayer life?
How does the role of dad impact our society today?
Pray for three intentions that came into your mind while reflecting.
The 95 degree heat did not stop us from gathering today to plant a tree on the Saint Albert campus in memory of Quintin. (Regular readers of my blog will recall that Quintin was a young student at Saint Albert who was hit and killed by a car earlier this year.) It was my privilege to join the family today to offer a few words of hope and encouragement as well as a prayer of blessing.
At the time of the funeral, students, staff, and supporters lined Gleason Avenue to offer a final farewell in the best way we knew how with all of the social distancing requirements in place at the time. It was my pleasure today to break down some of the social distancing barriers to actually spend some time with the family. I hope Quintin's loved ones found a sense of healing and hope in our brief ceremony today. It certainly lifted my spirits to share this prayer experience with all of the family members and friends who joined us for the event.
Quintin's family members continue to support and strengthen one another.
There were about 75 people in attendance for the tree planting ceremony.
The Saint Albert community truly shows love and support for one another in the tough times. Today was a good example of that compassion.
We may never know the burden that someone else is carrying. Let's give people genuine care and respect at all times. In this way, we shall certainly build the Kingdom of God.
A "memory" popped up this morning on one of my social media accounts. It was from July 3, 2014. (Photos of 2014 at bottom of blog post.) As I scrolled through my photos I realized that this Independence Day weekend will be a bit more "stay at home" versus years in the past.
The picture above is from Hilton Head Island on July 4, 2018. I had just moved to the area a few days prior to this. Thus, I stayed close to home that year but spent time exploring the new surroundings.
On July 3, 2015 I traveled from Wyoming to Missouri to visit mom. The photo above was taken on that day just a few months before her death.
The following day, on July 4, 2015, I went to visit my brother. I always enjoy the scenic trip along the Mississippi River.
It was good to see the new addition to his yard pictured below.
Finally, going back to six years ago on July 3, 2014, these are the memories I captured while enjoying the beauty of northern Wyoming. Our son was still in high school and had traveled to Cody, Wyoming to participate in the parade with his high school band. (You can probably pick him out by height.)
We had some time to do a little exploring while we were in the area. One of the most beautiful drives in the country is the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway. It is simply phenomenal. If you ever make the trip to Yellowstone Park, I highly recommend taking this scenic route.
We stayed in the town of Greybull, Wyoming. The flowers were gorgeous.
A close-up picture of the flowers is below. Photos don't do the scene justice.
We are staying close to home this year for the holiday weekend. I never imagined back in March and April that we would still be this locked down in society after all of this time. If recent months have taught us anything, it should be the value of freedom and the necessity not to take it for granted.
Please pray for our nation. Pray for your own personal conversion, as well as the conversion of all the people of our country. We need to turn back to God.
"One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Have a safe and blessed Independence Day weekend. Thank you to all of you who strive to keep us free.
Look at this marvelous and serene setting. The beautiful blue sky is dotted with just enough clouds to make it spectacular. The flowers exquisitely adorn the area around the small bubbling fountain. All of it comes together to create a scene that says, "Welcome!"
The beauty on the outside is only a glimpse of something greater still in the inside. Inside the church building we will find the tabernacle, and with the eyes of faith we truly see the presence of Jesus. Do we believe?
In the midst of all the chaos in the last four months, have we stayed focused on Jesus? I don't know about you, but I will admit that I have found myself getting discouraged quite frequently because it seems like "normalcy" will never return. I will also admit that not having access to the celebration of the sacraments has been difficult. This whole experience has reminded me of the importance of the sacraments in maintaining my personal prayer life. Since everything flows from the Eucharist, it is only natural to notice upheaval in numerous areas of life when that flow is disrupted.
"Could you not watch with me one hour?" (Matthew 26:40)
As I do my spiritual check-up for the second half of 2020, I realize it is well past time to realign some of my priorities. Item number one, watching one hour with the Lord in prayer has to become regular practice again. In these troubling times for our world, prayer cannot take a back seat to anything. Unfortunately, I have failed in this area lately. Conversion truly is a lifelong process. Please pray for me. Pray for your family. Pray for one another. Be assured of my prayers for all of you. Stay strong in the Lord!
The sun has set on the first six months of the year 2020. Maybe the second half of the year will be better?
Practical questions still surround us.
1. What will be the long-term economic impact of societal shutdown?
2. Will we see a spike in reported COVID-19 cases?
3. Can we trust the information being provided to us regarding the virus?
4. What are the long-term mental health consequences of school closures?
5. How does all of this impact the election in November?
6. What will be the ripple effects of peaceful protests and riots?
7. What will be the long-term consequences to society due to lawlessness?
8. How will the intense divisions in our country impact our future?
This list could go on extensively, but you get the point. Now let's bring those types of questions into the realm of the Church?
1. What will be the long-term economic impact to local churches because of societal shutdown?
2. How many Catholic parishes and schools will close because of this additional financial hardship?
3. If you were asked to describe the role of the Church during the shutdown of society, how would you explain it?
4. If you were asked to describe the role of the Church during the peaceful protests, as well as during the riots and looting, how would you explain it?
Finally, let's bring this down to the personal level. How have you been impacted by the events of 2020?
1. How were you impacted emotionally by societal shutdown?
4. Specifically, how did the absence of the sacraments impact you personally?
5. Did your personal prayer life improve during this time, or did it decline?
The challenges are real, and it is easy to become discouraged. My dear readers, I want to encourage you to stay rooted in prayer. Read the Sacred Scriptures and meditate on the Word made Flesh. Read the Catechism. Grow in your understanding of the faith. Know the Way, the Truth, and the Life--Jesus Christ! The spiritual battle is heating up. Put on the full armor of God for your protection. (See Ephesians 6: 10-18)
Where do you find solitude? I enjoy being outside near water. There is something very soothing about gazing out over the water. I recently had the opportunity to spend some time sitting quietly at the water's edge of a small lake. The clear water provided a glimpse into the beauty of nature below.
As I watched the small fish swimming around, Psalm 148 was resonating in my mind. Nature truly gives praise to the Lord. The rocks, the sand, the algae, and the fish all give glory to God by being what they are called to be.
Are we giving glory to God by being what we are called to be?
"When the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?"
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