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Saint John Bosco was known as the "Apostle of Youth." He founded the Salesians, which today numbers around 14,775 religious. They are primarily dedicated to educating youth.
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Yes, I am still sitting in the cold, snow, and fog, but at least some family members are currently enjoying the beauty and warmth of Florida. Yes, even with temperatures in the 50's, I call it warm. Compared to snow flurries and fog with temps in the 20's, I'll gladly take the 50's. Flights are currently being diverted away from Denver International Airport (4:30 PM Mountain Time) due to the fog.
One of these days I will be there taking some photos of my own. Until then, I will dream!
Today would have marked my mom's 99th birthday. A visit to Steak-N-Shake was always a good part of the plan when I went back to visit her in Missouri. Although she has been gone for a little over seven years now, the memories remain.
I am especially grateful that her and I were able to take a trip together the year before she died. We went to Nashville and visited some landmarks. Everything was pleasant except for the traffic.
Then we went to Cullman, Alabama to visit St. Bernard Abbey and Ave Maria Grotto. I highly recommend the grotto if you are ever in the area.
We then headed to Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama.
Finally, we visited the studios of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).
Blessings and peace to each of you!
This weekend we will hear the Sermon on the Mount narrative from the perspective of St. Matthew. I invite you to do some study before going to Mass this weekend.
1. How does St. Matthew's account differ from St. Luke's version?
(See Matthew 5: 1-12.) (See Luke 6: 20-23.)
2. Why do you think Luke's account only has four beatitudes while Matthew's has nine?
3. What is the difference between these statements?
~Blessed are the poor.
~Blessed are the poor in spirit.
~Blessed are those who hunger.
~Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
After pondering and praying with these scripture verses, spend some time with the first line of each of the first two readings as well.
The prophet Zephaniah says, "Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth..."
St. Paul says to the Corinthians, "Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters."
1. How will you sincerely seek the Lord in your day-to-day life?
2. How do you discern the manner in which God is calling you to serve right now?
The Sacred Scriptures are rich. Allow God to speak to you in the depths of your heart as you ponder His Word!
It has been exactly one month since finishing the parish mission on December 21, 2022 at Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Concord Hill / Marthasville, Missouri. It was the Fourth Week of Advent when I was there. We have since completed Advent, Christmas and the whole Christmas season, and we are now entering into the Third Week of Ordinary Time.
I often wonder what happens after a parish mission. I spend five days in a parish. This includes preaching at the weekend Masses, and then giving three nightly presentations. I have done roughly twenty parish missions since being ordained a deacon. (I have also given retreats to forty different groups, and I have preached in more than forty different parishes.)
When an "outsider" comes into a parish, it is easy to make a splash. The individual entering in from the outside is not bogged down by all the internal struggles and challenges facing the local community. With that being said, I often wonder about the lasting impact after a parish mission or retreat. Does anything stick, or does everything pretty much return to business as usual once the outsider is gone?
Why do I ask?
I take my role of preaching and teaching very seriously. I believe that all of us in leadership roles within the Church will be held to account for how faithfully or not we lived up to our calling. That responsibility weighs on my mind. Some of the harshest words in Sacred Scripture are directed to Church leadership. Yes, I really do ponder certain passages and pray for strength. The passage about it being better to have a millstone around my neck and tossed into the sea rather than to lead someone astray paints a picture in my mind. Then there are those not so gentle moments such as: "Brood of Vipers," or "You Whitewashed Tombs," or just the good old fashion, "You Hypocrites."
I have worked at the parish level and I know the day-to-day challenges that come along with parish ministry. When I travel to other locales, I put a lot of work into my preparations. I greatly desire to give people a boost in their spiritual journey. I want to give people the best I have in my homilies and teachings empowered with God's grace and the Holy Spirit.
Since I understand the dynamics of parish life quite well, it makes my question about the impact from an outsider a relevant one. Is it an emotional high that lasts a few days and then goes away, or does it give the local leadership something to build on? Does an issue arise six months down the road and someone refers back to the parish mission, or is everything long forgotten by then?
I don't know the answer to my own question. I truly hope my presence at a parish makes a difference for more than just a few days. I will continue to work and pray in a manner that hopefully brings glory to God. I'll let the rest of it fall into place as God sees fit!
Blessings to each of you, but a special shout-out to the good people of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish. You continue to be in my prayers.
We are 19 days into the new year. How are you doing? Do you feel like the boat at low tide--stuck and run aground? Or are you crushing it and living your best life?
"What you do has far greater impact than what you say."
How are you making a positive difference in the world? Are you being a faithful ambassador of Jesus Christ? It matters how we live our day-to-day lives. The Ten Commandments are there to guide us. The Spiritual and Corporal Works of mercy clue us in as to how to live faithfully. It's not enough to just avoid sins of commission. We are called to also avoid sins of omission.
"When you're good at something, you'll tell everyone. When you're great at something, they'll tell you."
Obviously, if you are a gifted athlete you will know it and so will the people who see you play. If you have made a successful career in music as a singer, composer, or as a musician, people will recognize your gifts and talents.
My question to you is this. Can people look at your life and see a reflection of Jesus Christ? Is holiness as evident in your life as athleticism is evident in the life of a professional athlete?
"Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes."
I am not sure what to do with that last quote. I'll simply leave it there for your own reflection.
Ongoing and Upcoming Days of Significance
January 18--25 (Started Yesterday)
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Monday, January 23:
Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
World Day for Consecrated Life
There is a persistent refrain in the Mountain West, "We need the moisture." Filling up reservoirs seems to be an unending concern. Reducing the risk of wildfires for next summer is also important. Obviously, ski resorts always appreciate fresh powder. That is the beauty of living in this region.
I am at a point in life where I am ready to take a calculated risk with a hurricane instead of enduring winter. I am in more danger of keeling over while shoveling snow than what I would be from a hurricane in Florida. Sadly, someone else in my house wants to stay here. Hmmm. She says it's because of the grandchildren. I think she just likes to torture me. As a side note--she doesn't do any of the shoveling.
Apparently, that is the look I give when a gust of wind recovers a part I had already shoveled.
Or maybe that was the look I gave when I looked at the stock market report. More retirement dollars for people all across the nation just evaporating into thin air as 401k accounts get pummeled day after day.
Seriously, are politicians just trying to bankrupt everyone except themselves?
Keep your eye on the World Economic Forum.
We are in for some tough times ahead.
Stay close to the Lord.
I am sitting in Colorado waiting for the next snowstorm (which is supposed to begin tomorrow afternoon). Meanwhile, I enjoy photos from family members who are living a life of ease sitting in a beach chair watching the sunset over the beautiful Gulf Coast of Florida. Someday soon, I intend to be enjoying that same experience.
That is the beauty of God's handiwork.
I hope your Monday was filled with blessings.
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