Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Wrestling With God

The idea of wrestling with God - to most a crazy idea - an impossible task.  Yet that is basically what Jacob did all night long - Genesis 32:22-32 - Abraham also wrestled with God when he kept begging Him - "but Lord what if there are only 50 - 40 - 10" - Genesis 18: 22-33 - Job likewise also had the strength to have his wrestling match with God - Job 13:3.  Throughout the history of man's relationship with God - wrestling matches have occurred.  Many view God as some kind of mean tyrant - in the Hebrew Scriptures - turning Lot's wife into a pillar of salt - deemed unreasonable by a loving God - more fitting to One that is mean - angry.  One has to understand the context of Holy Scripture to fully understand what was happening.  The reality - God has always been a loving God - looking out for the best of all mankind.  In Lent - many will likewise wrestle with God - how they understand Him - His commandments - desires - requests - many which on the surface seem unreasonable. Through this 40 day period - plenty of time to dig deeper - to come to understand the truth of what God wants for each of us - as a group - as individuals. 

When God created the world and all that populated the Earth - He looked back and saw goodness - everywhere.  Then mankind began to exercise the gift of free will - straying away from God's plan - creating their own plan.  This moving away - originally a communal action - now very individual.  Today we understand that we are responsible for ourselves - alone - and how we act - react - affects our relationship with God - eventually a ripple effect on the community.  This Lent - grab your sweat towel and water bottle - sturdy yourself - engage God fully - wrestling with Him - if you must - to achieve for yourself - for the community - all that God has planned for you.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, February 19, 2018


Exercise is good for the body - keeping moving parts moving - active - a body in motion gathers no dust - lasts longer - in general - than one constantly at rest. We recently had a chance to talk with a personal trainer - a lady who has spent the last 30 years as a physical therapist - personal trainer.  One observation - the methods - techniques - have evolved over the years - new research revealing many old ways were not the best - replaced today with better - more effective exercise - routines.  The same goes with spiritual exercises - with time - all  things change - usually for the better.  New devotions discovered - learned - taught to others - bringing God closer to many - making God more accessible to all.  Anything that makes God more accessible - definitely worth sharing with others.  As more are exposed to these - more given the opportunity to grow in  their personal relationship with  the Lord.

Throughout history God has been revealing Himself to the peoples of this world.  In nature - culture - music - art - He has inspired many who have influenced how and when we experience His presence.  As we begin our own spiritual exercises this Lent we need to be open when others share new and different ways of coming close to Him - to His Son - Jesus. In the case of spiritual exercise - they are all good - leading all towards God.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

First Sunday of Lent

The First Sunday of Lent - Today we heard the Gospel story of Jesus in the desert - being tempted by the devil - at the end of 40 days - very hungry. As we enter into the 40 days of our Lenten journey we can all relate to the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert. We can also relate to being tempted by the devil - an occurrence which happens more often than any of us would like to admit - unlike Jesus - failing poorly in many attempts to avoid sin. In fact - if we would admit it - each of us could be considered an almost professional at sinning.  Very few of us have the strength - ability - stamina - to avoid sin. Most of our sins are minor - most very likely will not keep us out of heaven - still we sin more often than we realize - will ever admit.  Like Jesus - we are a hungry people - unfortunately what we hunger for - not always food. We hunger for fame - compliments - thank yous for every little thing we do - constant acknowledgement of acts of kindness which we perform. We hunger for acceptance - recognition - praise. We hunger for attention - love.  In these 40 days of Lent we will pray - fast - give alms.  We will pray for strength to avoid sin - temptation - we will fast from attention seeking - recognition - we will offer alms of self - giving coins from our personal treasury of our talents - gifts - abilities. In 40 days we pray that our hunger will be satisfied - with God's love.

God is pleased with every effort we make to improve ourselves during Lent - making not only our own lives better - also improving life for those around us. The opportunities are so numerous - like Abraham - you can count them as stars in the skies. This Lent - look out - look up - to the possibilities that are displayed before your eyes.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Mind Your Head..

Most often you will hear the warning - watch your head - or - caution low ceiling. The one I find most interesting is the sign I saw both in England and Italy - mind your head. As we prepare for tomorrow - the First Sunday of Lent - I think this warning is more than appropriate - Mind Your Head.  In other words before one can change their heart - their actions - reactions - one must first - mind their head - alter the thought process - be willing to experience change - to be willing to make a commitment to improve one's life. Lent is all about change - evaluating one's life - making note of what needs improvement - especially spiritually - then following through - implementing those changes. All of  this is a process that does not happen overnight - which explain why Lent is 40 days long

Our God is such a loving - forgiving God - He gives each of us all the time that we need to make changes - improvements.  Even when we do something that is not good for us or the community - no demands - rather gentle suggestions - hints that change is needed.  In this season of Lent - the Church also understands that most of us need time - besides change - to make those changes happen. As the saying goes - Rome was not built in a day - neither will any serious change happen in our life.  Keeping our focus on God - Jesus - the Holy Spirit - all that we need - to achieve our Lenten goal.  

See you at the finish line
Deacon Dale  

Friday, February 16, 2018

Remember You Are Dust......

On Ash Wednesday that is exactly what many of us heard - remember you are dust and to dust you will return. Not exactly an inspiring statement - or is it.  What are they trying to tell us.  Is life that short that we are insignificant - nothing more than a dust particle in the eye of God.  I think not - I find it very difficult to think that God would create us - each of us - with out considering what we would become - who we would grow into - the potential in each of us.  It reminds me of the story about the man at a funeral who asked what the dash between the date of birth and date of death meant. Was that dash merely a place holder - a character used only to separate dates from each other.  As the story goes - that dash represents the story of our lives - what happened in between the date of our birth and death. That dash represents our birth into this world - into a family where we grew and were loved and educated - where we finished our education - found a spouse - for many - and started our own families - where we created a career - a career in which we made the world better for everyone - a time when we played sports - socialized with family - friends - where we did many marvelous - outstanding things - before our death. That dash is a badge of honor - that gives value to our lives - before we returned to the dust from which we sprang.

In God's eye - each one of us is as precious as gold - a feather in His cap - someone to be proud of - to be loved by Him without reservation. In Lent we pray and reflect on how much God loves us - why He sent His Son to die for us - on a cross - hung out to die like some common thief.  We ponder His awesome love - wonder if we are really worth it - then when we realize it - cry like a baby - asking forgiveness - for the times when we allowed ourselves to be less than He created us to be. In Lent - we search - seek - to find the lost person inside us - to renew the gift given freely by God - to become more - better than we are now.

Deacon Dale  

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Playing Hooky

Yes I have been playing hooky - being absent from these pages for some time now. The month of January completely escaped me with everything going on in the family - coping with my own recovery from surgery and spending time with our oldest son's own surgery - coupled with making arrangements for our annual winter sabbatical into the desert.  Now the time has come to return to blogging and for Lent - this year - I will attempt to post some thought daily - as a reminder to myself that it is now Lent and time for me to work on improving myself. Yes - like many - I have things that definitely can stand improving.  Others have politely reminded me that I am not perfect and improvement would be good. To this end - I apologize - with prayer - the grace of God - I will be better by the end of Lent.

Nobody is perfect - everyone can use some improvement in their life. We are human and given to bouts of laziness - so no better time to implement change than now.  Forty days to work on whatever is needed. Today is the time to start - see you at the finish line.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Lent-entines

Yes today we not only celebrate Valentines Day - also the First Day of Lent. As we woke this morning the day began with the exchange of Valentines cards and hugs - kisses.  The day progressed through the normal daily routine until late afternoon and evening Mass - reception of ashes - gently imposed on our foreheads.  As the evening winds down - another pleasant Valentines and beginning of Lent.  Valentines - one day - Lent - many more.

During the next 40 days we will pray - fast - give alms - all in an effort to achieve - holiness. Some will find this time easy - others a major struggle. There is no right way - wrong way to observe Lent - as long as you do more than nothing. It is your Lent - enjoy this time of grace - you deserve it.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas Season

Contrary to common belief - Christmas is not only one day out of the year. In the Church Christmas is a season that lasts from the Christmas Vigil until the Celebration of The Baptism Of The Lord on January 8th.  In some locations Christmas season goes until the Epiphany celebrated on January 6th.  Throughout these days we celebrate the fact that God sent His only Son into our world.  In my family we begin our Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve with immediate family - Christmas Day finds us with extended family - cousins - aunts - uncles - in the evening the group gathers again -  a bit smaller - we with our children - grandchildren for part three of our celebration. The day after - again finds us with family - relaxing and continuing our acknowledgment of God's blessings. In the days following - the celebration continues with friends and those whom we do not see often - through New Years Eve into New Years Day and beyond praising God for all He does for us. For us Christmas is a very joy filled time of year - extending as long as possible - rejoicing in the spirit of Christmas.
In Christmas God celebrates with us - reminds us that He loves us - as we are - where we are - close to Him - far away - His love everlasting - always there for each of us. In the busy days which have now passed - His presence should be even more visible - as we continue this holy season into the new year - anticipating the extended celebration - finalizing with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord - inspiring us to be constantly vigilant seeking the presence of God in our lives.

Deacon Dale

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Joy

It is a wonderful day today - celebrating Christ's birth with family and friends - experiencing the joy of all.  Last night we celebrated the Polish Vigilia - our daughter-in-law provided us with an awesome 9 course meal - which kicked off our annual Christmas celebration. All the family is home so that makes it even better.  This morning - Holy Mass with a large group of people at church and for the afternoon - gathering with extended family - cousins - to continue celebrating God's gift to the world. We love family gatherings - it is always a joy to catch up on everyone's life and activities. Family is one of God's best blessings - having people with whom to share life's adventures. We love all the smiling faces - the excitement in the eyes of the young children and adults alike.

We pray that on this very holy day - that everyone has an opportunity to experience - the joyful moments of this holy day.  We rejoice - share the joy - of God's gift in Jesus - Jesus' gift in His love - The gift of the  Holy Spirit - which fills the world today with Joy.

Merry Christmas
Deacon Dale 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Magic

The wonder of Christmastime - snow in the air - snow on the ground - - a white Christmas - adding to the magic that springs forth from this awesome season. The preparations for Christmas ending soon - ready or not - this evening - Christmas Eve - the vigil begins - waiting for the arrival of the baby in the manger - reindeer hoofs on the rooftops - the arrival of Santa Claus. Everyone - religious - spiritual - or not - finds something special in this season - best described as - Christmas Magic. Those normally grumpy - tend to smile - people who quickly pass by others - slow their pace - if only to smile or offer a quick greeting.  Happy Holiday - Merry Christmas - Feliz Navidad - Buon Natale - Bah Humbug - in one way or another - acknowledging the special feelings all around. The majority - in good spirits - welcoming - greeting - sharing with others - family - friends - strangers - Christmas joy.

For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son - to us - to all - that we might have life and live it to the fullest. To all He came - many accepted - rejoiced - but not all - for reasons unknown. He came to bring us Good News - most listened - accepted - for some - words falling on deaf ears.  The greatest gift of all from God - besides His Son - Jesus - the gift of free will. The ability for each of us to accept or reject - Him - His Son - the Good News. The choice is ours - to accept - reject - without judgement. Perhaps those in time who do not - may change their minds - that is not for us to worry about. Our duty - to rejoice and celebrate God in our lives. We leave the others in God's hands - to His Divine Mercy. Today - this evening - tomorrow - Christmas Day - we who believe - believe in Christmas Magic.

Buon Natale
Deacon Dale