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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Humility ~ Self and God ~ A walk in the garden

Mission Garden ~ Carmel California

[Cyber version 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Bible Readings: Sir. 3:17-18, 20,28-29; Ps. 68:4-5,6-7,10-11; Heb. 12:18-19,22-24a; and Lu. 14:1, 7-14]

Humility....Our society today does not approve or welcome this virtue...well maybe sometimes in others but not much in our self. Concepts such as humility, self-criticism, self-responsibility, self-denial or self-control are disdained in a culture that ruthlessly embraces SELF (and will shove others (including God) out of the way in that embrace). Entitlements of..Self-expression, self-assertion, self indulgence, self-improvement and the ever important..self esteem are the premier philosophies and religions of today.

To better realize the purpose, power and beauty of God's Word for this late Summer weekend we should go for a walk in the garden. The Word of God today would focus our lives on the virtue of humility. Perhaps in the garden we can better allow the blessing of this grace to be vibrant in our lives. For it is one of the great paradoxes of God that in true humility we can discover our true self but, and also the most important...God.

As we walk through the garden this late summer weekend we will enjoy the late summer roses, the vibrant Zinnias, Cosmos, Sunflowers and Marigolds and the sturdy borders of Fibrous Begonias. We will also perhaps pick a ripe sweet peach or apple from the garden orchard. We will also be stopping to pick some beans, ripe red tomatoes and Zucchini. Looking over the garden fence we can see harvest beginning in the vineyards with the promise of the lush grapes being crushed into wines to bless body and soul.

But in our appreciation and enjoyment of the garden we cannot afford to ignore the soil. For therein lies our lesson of humility. St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us that humility comes from the Latin...humilatas, the root of which is the word..humus. It is the rich humus fed soil of our garden that God uses to bring to us the beauty and joy of the roses, Marigolds, Tomatoes and beans. It is the decay and dying of the old that the newness of life is to be found. It is in our dying to self, our humbly recognizing our faults and failures (we Christians call this repentance and contrition) that God can bring a rich life of the true self. It is in deep rooted humility that healthy, genuine self-esteem can grow and mature.

It might be helpful to also take a walk in the local discount store. It is within the Walls of the Mart we can see the lush plastic flowers alive under the glow of fluorescent buzz. We can smell the rich scent of artificial plastics nurturing the empty esteem of self-indulgence. It is in the lush pride of possessions we can build the empty clutter of discontent.

We now return to the garden. As we allow the Master Gardener to prune away the dead clutter of this world in our lives we find the source of abundance He has created us to share. In the garden we share with Him the humble prayer.."Thy will, not mine, be done". From that place we discover the help of the angels to embrace the Cross and then know the Life of Him who has risen from the dead.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

St. Claire of Assisi ~ Feast Day 11 August 2010

On August 11, 1253, St. Claire of Assisi went home to be with Christ.
Claire, a personal friend of Francis shared with him his desire to live simply, powerfully for Christ. She renounced great wealth and position to become the first woman to enter into the early Franciscan order. She would continue to become the servant~leader of the Poor Claires.
Claire, then and now, give us a powerful example and lesson of a human soul who understood it was not about position or rank, status or wealth. She did not fret that her Church did not allow her to be a priest or bishop. It was not about any of was not about....Claire. With Francis she understood and realized the greatest of any vocation was to follow Christ in whatever life He has for us. She also realized that all the wealth, the status of the world was nothing more than waste that came between her and God.
May the life, friendship, example of Claire helps us all to draw closer to our Lord.

"Totally love Him, Who gave Himself totally for your love." St. Claire

St. Claire, pray for us.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Where your treasure is...

Cyber-version of my homily for the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Mass readings for this Sunday:
First Reading: Wis. 18:6-9; Psalm: 33:1,12,18-19,20-22; Second Reading: Heb. 11:1-2,18-22; Gospel: Lk. 12:32-48 {}

If we could just understand, if we could but see and compare the promises of God compared to the poverty of our worldly longings...we might begin to grasp the infinite longing of our Heavenly Father to bless His children. In that realization we can come to grow in the eternal bounty of treasure that is for those who will allow God to bless.

Jesus speaks in the Gospel of "Where your treasure is there also will be your heart.."
For all who seek to follow Christ, to serve He who's heart was pierced in holy love for all creation, this statement brings us to seek the light of His Word, the fire of His Holy Spirit to search us, to heal our hearts and to open our eyes to see His Heavenly see Him.

For those seeking His will this prayerful inventory, with eyes of faith, is one of the great joys of mercy we find in His grace. The writer to Hebrews speaks of this faith that brings us to look well beyond what we may see. With the touch of those hands that felt the nail pierce through we can see through the mirages of the desert of this world. We can see past the dry, empty promises of futile sensuality or the dust storms of worldly treasure to the true treasures of Heaven. We can see in the simple host and chalice of wine the true Presence of His Body, broken for us, His Blood shed for us. We can see beyond the divisions in His Body and our lives to the wholeness, the holiness in love He calls us to... to Him

With the healing dynamic whisper of His Word in our hearts we can silence the strident clamor of the noise of this world. We can hear God calling in simplicity of love and faith to follow, to serve, to know Him whose love Heaven's choirs sing in endless chords of powerful majesty.

As we seek God to fill our hearts and lives we grow to know the riches of Heaven. The tears of our sorrows God will touch to be the diamonds of His hope. The woundings of this world He will unite with His sacred wounds to bring healing, to us and to those He brings into our life. The sins and failures we may know, with His mercy and grace can become the cornerstones of forgiveness in His healing work for this world. The life he blesses each of us with He will lead life eternal with Him the treasure of holy love.