Saturday, March 31, 2012

Entry Level

Everything that you begin has an entry level position or starting point.  You do not become a supervisor first - you have to start at the bottom of the ladder and work your way up. You do not get the top position until you have paid the price and earned your promotion. You do not begin a race at the finish line nor do you get to claim the trophy before you compete. In all things - we have to start or enter into our task at an entry level if we are to progress and advance along the intended path.
Jesus began His entry into Glory as He walked towards Jerusalem with His disciples. Is there any way that you or I can imagine what happened or what was discussed as they walked into the face of danger? As we prepare for the beginning of Holy Week and Jesus' walk along the path where He would meet those who would wave palms and shout cheers - what sort of walk are we taking in these last days of Lent? Have we prayed and fasted and given enough alms - have we sat in quiet in the Adoration chapel and pondered all that Jesus experienced for us - have we done what we were suppose to do? This coming week is the week that draws each of us into the Passion of Christ - this week all of us begin at the entry level.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Waiting Game

Nobody likes to wait - the sooner the better! What is it about waiting that causes so many people so much stress? We call for an appointment and we are told that we have to wait two weeks - unreasonable we think. Why can't I get it done now? If you are sick and need to see a doctor that would be justified - but, if you are talking about something else like dining out or making an appointment to see your barber or hairdresser that should not be a problem. What about waiting in line to make a purchase - to some people standing in a two person line is too much. I realize that some merchants tantalize us with forty check out lanes and only two are open - but still waiting a few minutes should not be that critical - should it?
When we were little babies our parents took us to church and had us baptized. We were officially received into the church and since we were unable to speak for ourselves - our parents spoke for us. "What do you ask of God's church for this child?" "Do you clearly understand the commitment that you are making?" And our parents answered "Yes!" to each question. It was very similar to the time when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple for the redemption of the firstborn, in obedience to the Law of Moses.  Jesus could not speak for himself so Mary and Joseph did it for Him. Now that we are older and grown adults - the church expects us to speak for ourselves in the way that we live our lives and practice our faith. This faith that you received was the faith of your parents but now it has become your faith - your faith to understand - your faith to practice - your faith to live. If you are not doing this then Jesus asks - what are you waiting for?

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 29, 2012


If you have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or any other breathing problem - then you know what it means to have a wheeze. Not being able to breathe or catch your breath or constantly feeling like every breath will be your last can be very scary. That is why it is so important that you are properly diagnosed and the correct treatment is ordered to cure or control your breathing problem. Once under control - life returns to normal. 

People who have lost their way spiritually can be considered to be out of "spiritual" air. The word spirit comes from the Latin Spiritus which means breathe. So when we mention the Holy Spirit we literally are saying the Holy breath or Holy air. The Holy Spirit comes from  God and moves in our lives to accomplish whatever it is that God wishes to do. In all that we do as Christians - we need the presence of God's Holy Spirit working in our lives - guiding us - helping us - giving us strength to face the realities of life.  With the Holy Spirit you will never have to worry about being spiritually short of breath - today your prayer should be "come Holy Spirit, fill my life with your presence"

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Whipping Boy

Have you ever felt like the entire world was set against you? You wake up expecting the best out of the day and from there it just goes down hill. The tube of toothpaste is empty, the battery on your cordless shaver just died and there is no hot water for your morning shower. Then after you are all dressed and almost ready to leave you notice a) a button missing b) a stain on your shirt or blouse or c) you can't find your car keys.  You stop for coffee - simple enough "black please" and as you drive off and take your first sip - you are surprised with cream and sugar! At the job - well you get the point - one thing after another  just keeps making a bad day worse until finally you end up being on the end of a brutal attack by your a) boss b) co-worker c) spouse for something that you had no involvement in at all - you are completely innocent but for whatever reason you had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the right time.  Having a miserable day filled with miserable events is bad enough - but when you are innocent and become somebody's whipping boy - that is just completely unjust!

That had to be the way Jesus felt as He was led around by the soldiers and mocked, ridiculed, whipped and spat upon. To be put on trial for all the wrong reasons - to be blamed for all the wrong things - how do you suppose Jesus felt? And where was His moral support - where did His disciples all disappear to - where was everybody when He was at the lowest point in His life?  Oh, but He is God He could take it - really?  Is that really the way it should be? When is it justified that any innocent person should be made to suffer for what others have done. And yet this is exactly what Jesus experienced - a bad day gone from bad to worse - from abuse and ridicule to crucifixion!  It is hard to imagine that anyone would have to endure this - and yet - if asked to do it all over again - Jesus would!  He loves you and me that much!

Deacon Dale

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sunny Side Up

Breakfast - the most important meal of the day. This is when you start your day - freshen yourself up - get ready for everything that will happen during the next twenty-four hours. Breakfast starts the day with food for the mind and muscles.  Two eggs sunny side up, sausage links or bacon, coffee and toast and you are off and running to accomplish your agenda for the day.  Interesting enough the fat in the meats are considered by many to be brain foods.  Nutritionists have shown how important it is for babies and very young toddlers to get an adequate supply of fats to promote healthy brains.  As adults, most of us know that we will have a hard time functioning during the day if we skip breakfast - so we take that fifteen or twenty minutes needed to eat at the start of our day. Fortified we attack the day with a smile and bright sunny eyes.
How much better for us if we could add another ten minutes into our morning routine and give God the same attention that we do to our mind and muscles. To wake a bit earlier and devote some time each morning in prayer - to thank God for a restful night and a sunny morning and the hope of a pleasant and rewarding day. To open our Bible or Breviary or whatever prayer book we use and to praise and thank God for creation - for life - for family - for jobs - for opportunities that will present themselves throughout our day. "Lord open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise..." should begin our day - every day.  Each and every morning we should see the eyes of Jesus encouraging us to carry Him - the One who loves us - with us throughout our days.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saving Grace

"But for the grace of God - there go I..."  How many times have we been in a situation where we compare ourselves or our situation to others?  Usually it is at a time when we observe either great grace or great despair - extremes at both ends of the spectrum.  We may know of a certain situation where someone we happen to know is doing very well financially or in their relationship or family situation and we become jealous - or - we observe a different person completely down on their luck - on the street - maybe homeless, without anyone to care for them or about them. Two extremes and yet we offer the same "but for the grace...." commentary. Why do we find ourselves comparing our situation to that of anyone else? Could it be that in specific moments of our lives we see either the complete presence or absence of God in our life? Do we use these moments to praise or blame God for what we have done or allowed ourselves to become? Although we are creations of God's divine love - we do have the gift of free will and it is how we use that gift that sets us on the path of our lives. We choose either very well or quite poorly - but in the end it is our decisions that place us where we find ourselves.
Love and hate - happiness and sadness are decisions that God leaves up to us. He gives us opportunities to act and react to multiple events and opportunities in our lives and in our actions or lack of action - we create the reality of the world that surrounds us.  In John 12:27 Jesus said "my soul has become troubled and what shall I say 'Father - save me from this hour? But for this purpose I came to this hour'."  Jesus had a choice to make in His life - to trust completely in His Father or to walk a different path. Like us - Jesus was faced with decisions. He had to rely on His faith and in our lives Jesus asks us to rely on our faith.  He guides us along the path but He does not force the path we chose to walk. In our decisions - the right and the wrong - Jesus walks with us. It is through Grace that we have the courage and strength to walk with Him.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dead Wood

Have you ever been in a group or team where one or more of the group add no value to the project or activity? Besides dragging down the momentum establish by those who are actively participating, they often exude negative energy and after time begin to affect the positive energy of the entire group. Slowly the momentum stagnates and the group either has to "cut" those who are not being active participants or they lose all energy and the project experiences a slow and agonizing death. Worse yet if you were  that participant who was considered "dead wood" and you were guilty of ruining the event. Why do we allow this to happen - not only in others - but in ourselves? What is it that drains our energies and we become apathetic and listless? The most common and simplest answer is burnout - over involvement-  to the level that nothing peaks any desire to participate much less excel. Very sad - and even worse - when that applies to our prayer life. Going from an ordinary, active prayer life to a non existent one is unbelievably sad.

Thank God that He - above all else - is very patient with us.  For God knows that when we appear dead to ourselves and others - there is still hope - there is still life - in all of us. He knows us so well that He waits patiently - not forcing Himself into our lives. He knows that when the tree appears dead to the world - that its strong roots will bring forth new life and new growth come the Spring rains. He knows that we - like the tree- need only to be watered by His Love - by His Holy Spirit - by the warming rays of His Son - and in time we will sprout and burst forth in prayers to Him. In this Lent when you are feeling that you are walking through a dry spell - through a desert of emptiness - know that Jesus walks with you.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Remarkable Power

If I say "Remarkable Power" what do you think of?  Superman? Wonder Woman? Captain America?  Or maybe Michael Jordan or some other sports figure?  How about Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking?  All these figures have one thing in common (whether real or imaginary)  - they all have the power to influence.  When people read of their activities and what they do - they inspire awe and admiration.  To be able to inspire people is an awesome gift and talent. When put to proper use it encourages others to seek goals beyond their normal means - to push themselves beyond otherwise normal limits.  And when they do - they can accomplish almost anything.  What a gift to mankind that we have those who fall into this category.
Jesus is like that. A seemingly ordinary individual living a seemingly ordinary life until that moment when God chose to reveal Him to the world. A neighborhood carpenter - "isn't this the son of Joseph and Mary?" - one who lived among the common people - and yet the Son of God filled with Remarkable Power.  Power to heal - Power to make whole - Power to make the unbelievable believable. By His life and actions Jesus inspires men and women of all ages to be more than they ever thought they could be.  He takes an ordinary person and blesses them with the power to touch hearts through music and song - through art and dance - through poetry and prose. In ordinary people and in ordinary events of daily life - Jesus reveals His Remarkable Power to each of us.  As you experience His presence in your life and His Remarkable Power - bend your knee - touch the Earth and praise God for finding you worthy to be called a child of God.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

White Castle

In the Midwest when somebody mentions White Castle you would most likely think of the hamburger chain that specializes in "sliders".  That would be expected since food is probably one topic or thought that is at the top of most people's minds throughout the day. It starts with morning coffee progresses to mid-morning snacks and then finally lunch. Considering that most people tend to burn their candles at both ends - fast food and food that seems to "slide" right down are the first choice for many. We think nothing about how quickly we consume our lunch  - it just seems to be a part of our lives. Years ago when I was just out of college, I got a call from my twin one day who was laughing his head off. When I asked him what was going on he mentioned to me that he knew he ate his lunch very quickly as he ate on the run while still working. So on that particular day he decided to time how long it took him to eat his hamburger.  Thirty seconds! Thirty seconds - he laughed - he claimed to have perfected the 30 second lunch.

And not much has changed in the forty-two years since that phone call.  We still gulp our lunches and rush on to the next client or immediately turn our attention to the next task at work. How many of us treat our prayer life like we teat our lunch "hours".  How many of us claim to spend quality time with God in our prayer lives and yet in reality we give God no more time than it takes to gulp down a "slider"?  Perhaps in these days of Lent we can reconsider how we consume our spiritual food and give God the time He deserves.  I know it may be hard to "swallow" but taking time to speak and listen to God will be an early Easter gift to all of us!

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You Are Invited

Greetings - You are invited!  Don't you feel great when you get an invitation in the mail? It feels so good when someone considers you a person that they want to spend time with and they invite you to spend time with them. What is it about you that they want to be in your presence? Sometimes you know why you were invited - maybe it's a family event and you are automatically included in all family events. Maybe it is a close friend who wants to spend time with you.

Or maybe it is someone who knows you better than you know yourself and they want you to get to know them better. It just might be the one person in your life who really understands and cares for you - the one who feels your hurt - who feels your pain - who knows your heart. In this Lenten season - just maybe - it is Jesus calling you - inviting you to a deeper relationship with Him. Do the smart thing - accept the invitation.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dark Energy

Dark Energy is a term that scientists use to explain the expansion of the universe contrary to what was believed to be a slowing of that expansion.  It all has to do with Einstein's theory of gravity and the effect gravity has on all matter.  Einstein proposed that the expansion had to slow down but the Hubble Space Telescope in 1998 showed that the universe had been expanding much slower than it is today.  Some mysterious force is fueling this expansion and that is Dark Energy. Although scientists hate to admit when a theory is proved wrong - in the end they basically say "oh well - data proves otherwise" and they give up their grasp on the old theory and fairly quickly embrace the new.
It would be great if Christians and non-Christian alike could be as logical.  All too many people learn very early in their conversion to faith bad and even outright wrong information about God and His relationship with them.  They are fed myths and anecdotal stories that feed unbelief and mis-belief. Rather than seek out those who know the real answers they wander in that gray area where untruths are told.  When confronted why they think the Church would promote bad information - they might say "it is a mystery" and they are partially correct - but only insofar as they are willing to admit their ignorance. The only way to know what is true is to actively study what your faith is all about.  For Catholics the Catechism of the Catholic Church is the place to start. As you continue your journey towards Easter - take the time to really learn about the One who Loves You.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Seeing Red

Red is the color of the day and  if you are Italian, you would be celebrating the Feast Day of Saint Joseph. Following on the heels of Saint Patrick's Day it is observed by fewer people and not quite as well known but an important day never the less.

But why do Italians hold St Joseph in such high regard since he obviously was not Italian but rather Judean?  It all goes back to to the middle ages when there was a very severe drought in Sicily.  The people of Sicily, being very religious, turned to St Joseph as the father figure of Jesus and known as Joseph the Worker and asked him in prayer to end the drought.  The people promised that if he would do as they asked - they would have a giant feast in honor of him saving them from the drought.  St Joseph answered their prayers and the people of Sicily kept their word.  They prepared such a large feast that everyone was invited - rich and poor alike.  It is this kindness that continues to this day.  In many parishes food baskets are brought to the parish church for blessing before beginning the feast.  This is how March 19th became such a special day to the Italians. 
If you have ever visited Italy you would experience this generosity which continues to this day. When I had the opportunity to visit my aunts and cousins in Italy - we were treated like royalty. It was a great experience.  Italians are also known for being very passionate about life which may explain the custom of very animated conversation and hand gestures.  As the conversion rises to a peak you will notice many red faced people as each tries to speak their own piece.  

Would that all of us would become red faced as we share our love for Jesus and His Holy Church as we proclaim His message of reconciliation and forgiveness.  

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Born Again

There - I said it!  "Born Again" are two of the most feared words in the Christian vocabulary. What is it that causes so much concern in people when they hear those words?  Is it because they have encountered someone who has had a born again experience and have become much more zealous about their faith than most people?  Is it because they walk around with their Bibles tucked under their arms with a holier than thou attitude?  Or is it because you just don't understand what being born again is all about and others have warned you to avoid anyone who claims to be born again.

In today's' Gospel Jesus is talking with Nicodemus and he is the one who asked Jesus how a man could be born again.  He wondered if it was possible for a person to re-enter their mother's womb and be born over a second time.  Of course that is not what Jesus was talking about.  No - He was stating the fact that each of us must have a spiritual re-birth and Jesus has to be born into our hearts, minds and souls so that we can share eternal life with Him.  We are at the half-way mark in Lent and the goal for each of us should be seeking a newness of spiritual life - to have Christ born again in us - to experience Jesus in a new way that affirms and encourages us as we walk the Lenten path to Calvary and the Victory of Christ over sin and death.  All of us have been placed on this path - now we need to look and see - how far have we progressed?

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Wearing O' the Green

Happy Saint Patrick Day!  What a blessing - in the midst of Lent we can pause - change our color from purple to green and celebrate one of the most famous saints!  You do not have to be Irish to celebrate this day, but it helps!  A few years back my wife and I visited Ireland and we had to look high and low and get out of the tourist area before we found a true Irishman who spoke with a legitimate Irish brogue.  He informed us that in Dublin they did not celebrate St. Patrick Day - no he said they celebrate an entire week!

With that thought in mind we are reminded that whenever we do anything worth doing - we need to keep doing it over and over again until we have it perfected. Just as green reminds us of the evergreen and the fact that it is green all year round - we too need to be as constant as that in our prayer life. In Lent - celebrating a great saint - or just staying connected with God - the answer is constancy

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Do As I Say....

Do as I say - not do as I do.  Think about this - how are we living out our lives as modern disciples of Jesus if we do not practice what we preach?  Is it honest to proclaim one thing - to urge others to do that which we ourselves do not do?  Many years ago I had a physician who basically forced me to have a hernia operation that I did not want done. Honestly - I was fearful for a bad outcome. My doctor urged and urged me until I finally gave in and had the surgery.  Everything went fine and afterwards I was happy that I went ahead with the procedure.  However,  when I was discussing the operation with the physician who had urged me to have it fixed - he admitted that he also had a hernia that needed repair but had not had it done.  When I asked him what he was waiting for he declared that he was afraid of surgery.  I lost almost all respect for him upon hearing that - how could he have the gall to push me into having a surgical procedure done on my body when he was afraid to have it done on his body?  In retrospect I am happy that he pushed me into the procedure - but I still ask myself how can you tell people to do something that you would not do yourself?  

When I discuss prayer with people - quite often they tell me how hard it is to find time to pray or how difficult it is to go to a quiet place and talk with God.  I can only tell them that I can relate one-hundred percent with them - because even though I am ordained - I too, have a hard time, on occasion, to find the time that I need to devote to prayer.  We are all very similar - we have busy lives and although we have the best intentions - we are not always able to accomplish even a simple thing like talking to God in prayer.  My best advice is just stick with it.  If you miss morning prayer - you can always try again in the afternoon or evening.  The point is to not quit - but to hang in there - after all when Jesus was dying on the cross He could have quit - but because of His love for us - He hung in there.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Are You A Prophet?

Have you ever considered yourself a prophet?  No?  Yes?  It might seem a bit audacious for anyone to actually consider that they could be considered a prophet.  After all - you have to be an extremely holy person to make such a claim don't you?  Or maybe not.  If we think about the prophets in the Bible the majority of them did not want to be a prophet - a mouth piece for the Lord.  Many argued with God when He told them that He had selected  them for this special task.

The duty of a prophet is to give audible voice to God's words.  In the Bible a prophet often warned people of a future action of God or remanded them for something they were not doing properly. It is sort of like your mother warning you that if you don't complete a task that your father has instructed you to do, that you would suffer the consequences when he came back home.  Better do it or you will pay the price. 

Each of us has heard the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus - each of us had been instructed in its meaning - each of us has been well versed in our a Christian.  Like John the Baptist the scripture does pertain to us - "You my child shall be called the prophet of the Most High for you will go before the Lord to prepare His way.." Luke 1:76.  

Are you a prophet - you better be!

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lent Suggestions

Lent is a very rewarding time during the Church year.  In Lent we are asked - to our benefit - to pause and look at where we are in our journey with Jesus.  We are challenged to fast - pray and give alms.  Quite often I am asked just how does one accomplish all that? 

As simple as it may seem - it does pose a challenge for some - particularly if you have children whom you are trying to get involved.  Rather than write out a list here - I prefer to refer you to a web site that has already answered that question.  Thank God for moms who are serious about their faith and particularly those who have invested time in preparing such an assortment of Lenten ideas.

Isn't God just awesome in His disciples!

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Prayer Closet

Quite often when talking about improving a person's prayer life the term "prayer closet" is used. Do you understand what that means?  Figuratively it means finding a place to pray where you can focus on prayer and not be disturbed by anyone or anything. When we pray we need to be able to quiet ourselves - to calm down those busy thoughts that occupy our mind about all the little things that happen in the course of an average day - the laundry - taking the kids to school - our exercise class - meetings - and so on.  As we try to quiet ourselves we realize how busy our minds are with all these other thoughts. Getting to a place of quiet is very difficult for some and quite easy for others. 

Years ago I knew a couple who found that to be able to focus on their prayer life they had to physically go into their prayer closet which was an actual closet!  It seems that the apartment they lived in had an unusual closet that was triangular in shape. Their clothes hung on a rod at the front of the closet which left a sizable space in the back part of the triangle - enough room for an adult to slip in there with a flashlight.  This became their prayer closet and in that space they would meditate - journal - and pray.  It worked very well for them as their apartment was small and there was no other way to get away by themselves for some quiet prayer time.

Each of us needs to locate our own prayer closet whether it is an actual room or simply a place at home or in church or at a park - where we can be quiet and spend quality time talking and listening to God.  Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God" - challenges us - in our prayer closet and in our hearts.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 12, 2012


It is only natural that we who are in ministry reach out to others.  There are many ways we do this - our friendly nature - our smiles - our accepting words.  Whenever we have the opportunity to preach or teach, we always make a concerned effort to include everyone into our focus.  In our efforts to reach as many people as possible we even invest our time into such things as blogs, such as the one I write.  I find it interesting that when I take the time to review the statistics of this blog and who is reading it - there is always a good number of people from Russia and Poland who have visited this blog. Now I do have friends in Poland but none in Russia and to my knowledge none of them even know about my blog - so I wonder - who is reading this blog and what do they think.  I would be interested in getting comments from these readers just to share with everyone who read this blog - why or how they found this blog and their thoughts.

For all of us as we continue our own walks during Lent - each and everyone can stop and ask themselves - who is watching me and "reading" my actions.  Am I living a good Christian lifestyle and do I reflect that in my actions and thoughts and words.  What silent "homily" am I preaching by how I act and react to life's challenges.  Am I truly living a lifestyle worthy of a modern day disciple or do I only give lip service to the Christ that I worship.  Do I do what I have been asked to do - do I live and breathe the Gospel message of Jesus - what is my focus and do I make a serious effort to touch others - to reach out and share the gift of peace that Jesus offers to all - am I honestly living a good Lent?

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Human Nature

What does it mean when we refer to "human nature"?  Is that a reference to some biological function - or a quirk - or oddball mannerism - or does it have to do with how we humans act in general?   From the NAB we read in John 2: 24-25 "But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well."   That scripture makes it sound like Jesus was less than impressed with how humans acted in general.  Like many of us - He must have experienced a lot of disappointing moments with humans.  I know all of us can attest to experiencing bad human nature - not everyone falls into this category - but enough do for a person to learn over time to lose faith in other people.

Losing faith in other people is one thing - losing faith in yourself is another.  As we begin our third week of Lent many of us want to beat ourselves up because we have either not started our observance of Lent or have fallen short in what we wanted to accomplish. The good news is that we can adapt and make changes now to insure achieving our goals. That is one great feature of human nature - our ability to adapt and comprise - to change what we have been doing or not doing and do something different to make it better. With God all things are possible.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

1001 Ways To Die

Death is never convenient and rarely welcomed.  Whether it is a new born or a very elderly person - death touches all who knew them.  It never seems right that anyone should die - not even the sick or injured.  As Americans - we value life very highly.  To us the gift of life means that there is a reason for our life and that in some way we add value to the people around us.  A baby creates joy and laughter and brings families closer as they celebrate the newness of a small life. Older members of a family - filled with wisdom and a wacky sense of humor - reaffirm that living a long life is important to everyone whom they have touched in their many years.

We celebrate life - we celebrate family - we celebrate births - we celebrate each other. When life ends - at an all too early age or at what we perceive as a normal life span - we mourn the loss of that particular life.  We grieve and in that grieving process we reflect on the value of life in general and the life of our deceased one in particular. We ask and question - we try to understand death and the whys of death.  In the end it is impossible - no one can give us the answer as to why or when or how.  Death never makes sense to us who appreciate life so much.  

It is comforting to us as Christians that we believe at the beginning of life - as we are born into this world - that God is holding our hand and guiding us towards a life filled with His presence and all the wonders that we will experience during our lifetime.  And in death we also believe that God is still there - still present in our life - guiding us through the dying process and re-birth into eternal life - filled with all the wonders that we have yet to experience as we go through this rite of passage - just as we are born into this world and then at the end of this mortal life - born into the eternal.  

There are many ways to look at life and death - the one way is to die in Christ.  To hold His hand as He leads you into eternity - to be One with Him.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 9, 2012


Driving a vehicle and talking on a cell phone at the same time is an accident waiting to happen.  One argument against banning cell phone use while driving is that it is no worse than having a conversation with a passenger.  Well yes and no - when talking with a passenger both arms are free to turn the wheel, your ear is not obstructed, nor is your vision impaired and if you pause in mid-sentence - your passenger knows why and doesn't demand a response from you because you went silent.   

In reality there are a lot of things that distract us while driving - even driving itself. Often erratic driving by others (even on a divided highway going the opposite direction) may distract us from properly operating our own vehicle.

The solution is to focus - to focus on what you are doing - where you are - who is around you - what else is going on in and outside your vehicle.  Focus on doing the right thing at the right time and if that means not using your cell phone then do not use it or if it means using a Bluetooth device so your hands can be free, then use it.

Focus is not only very important when driving but also when you are trying to talk to God.  If you begin a prayer conversation with the Almighty and then are interrupted by someone or something you run the risk of not giving yourself or God the time needed to develop and hold a serious conversation.  Prayer cannot and should not be hit and miss - here and there. Prayer is meant to be here and now - exclusive between me and thee and nothing else in between.  When we seek God in prayer we need to go to a quiet place where we can avoid distractions - to our prayer closet and in the darkness of our lives we quietly sit in God's presence and communicate with Him.  We need nothing else - no friends - no food - no drinks - no Bluetooth - just ourselves and God. Try it you might like it!

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Instruction Manual

Almost every product that we purchase today comes with some sort of instruction.  There are technical specifications, instruction manuals (in multiple languages), parts list (really reassuring on a brand new item), and the last minute - "read this before" - before you read anything else or use the product or plug it in or fill it up or whatever you would have done before you bothered to read any of the included literature.

Any responsible manufacturer will always include this type of material in with your purchase so that you can enjoy the maximum benefit of your purchase with the utmost safety.  

Unfortunately for us and our parents - we do not come with an instruction manual nor safety warnings! Our parents welcome us into this world not knowing what to expect from their little bundle of joy. There is no schedule - can you say 3:00am feedings - or when we will sleep though the night - when we will start teething or any other significant life event. We come as we are born - naked to the world with no instructions but tons of expectations!  Before we can walk we are already dancers and firefighters and policemen and doctors.  If we are born into a Christian family our parents have already set us on God's path in selecting a good Christian name and are planning our christening even before we are born. Grandmother is making plans for our first communion and grandpa is thinking ahead to confirmation when he will stand at your side as the bishop anoints you with Sacred Chrism.

And then life is thrust upon us and before we know it we are expected to be making decisions on how to live a proper Christian life.  At this point you probably need to scream help!  And for us who have the gift of being born into good Christian families, we discover our personal instruction manual on how to cope with life and all that it entails.  It is called the Bible and a better guide on how to live a good life will never be written.  Perhaps today is a good day to pick up your Bible and see what it has to say about living a good Lent.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Law & Order

When you hear the phrase "Law & Order" you either think of the television series or you think of civil rules and regulations.  Obviously law and order doesn't leave a lot to the imagination.  In most matters - in most organizations, including religious, - there must be both law and order.  The law spells out what can or cannot be done or when and how it may be done and by whom.  Once law is established for a group of people or an organization, the order helps to keep both the laws and the people organized for maximum efficiency and benefit.

Old Testament Israelites had more than enough laws to obey and follow.  In the Halakha is the collective body of Jewish law including biblical law (the 613 mitzvot) and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.(from Wikipedia)

Today all Christian Churches have their own set of rules and regulations.  The Catholic Church is no different.  Laws are established to help people do the right thing and to avoid that which might harm them.  In Lent we sit in judgement of ourselves and our lives and what and how we have been acting.  We reflect on what we discover and if we are legalistic we determine if we have broken any Church laws.  This is okay, but in Lent we should not become hung up on which rules we have broken.  We need to know that information - but more importantly we need to know how to correct those wrongs.  We need to know how to confess and we need to know how to ask forgiveness from those whom we have offended.   Just knowing the sin and naming the sin does not make everything alright.  We have to be forgiven.  If we offended an individual then we must approach them and seek their forgiveness - if a large group then we approach the group and if  that is not possible then we confess to our priest who sits in place of the large number.

As we continue our Lenten experience we strive for a new wholeness through forgiveness and reconciliation.  We seek order.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Laundry Day

That dreaded laundry day - the one day of the week when you gather all the clothes that need washing, drying and ironing and then devote the majority of your day doing exactly that.. Of course in my house we have the pleasure of two laundry days - oh joy!  

Actually it is not really that bad - but the thought of all the work that goes into doing the laundry can be daunting for some.  First you have to stop and collect all the dirty clothes; then the sorting - the whites - the darks - the reds and if you are really diligent then you sort by fabric - sturdy cotton - delicate nylon and silks.  Then you start the process of washing - drying - folding and ironing.  In the end it is worth it because clothing that was wrinkled and soiled is now as good as new!

Lent is sort of like doing laundry.  In Lent we want to examine our lives and see where we can improve and become new again.  So we have to first gather our thoughts and review our lives - then sort - then process.  We look at the minor faults versus major faults (if any) and how they affect our lives.  We sort out the black and white issues - the immediate and those that can be processed later.  Once we focus our attention on those and deal with them and make changes - we can iron out our issues and then put them away where they belong.  We wash ourselves clean - just as we wash our clothes.

As we inspect the issues in our lives and relationships we see how God is working in us. We pray - we reflect - we do penance - we heal.  Throughout our lives God has always been there - even when we did not know it.  Today and tomorrow God is waiting - Jesus is stretching out His loving arms - calling you - to do laundry.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dynamic View

Have you noticed how modern computer capabilities allow users to present photographs in new and interesting ways?  Just browse the internet and you can see some awesome and inspiring examples. 

Some things - like photography - seems to be a natural for modern enhancements.  But what about others?  Is there a new way to present the Gospel message of Jesus in new and fresh ways?  Sure there are.  We have the same capabilities as others - it is more a matter of what is in good taste and what is not - when it comes to religion. It also depends on the audience - my sons would be very open to new ways to visualize and present the Gospel and yet others - more likely older - would find this not respectful.  I guess that I have not hit that age barrier yet as I tend to be more like my sons - open to new ways of bringing the Gospel message to seekers.  

Jesus did the same thing when He was alive and spreading the Good News.  Although He didn't have the benefit of modern technology - He did perform many miracles - which had the same affect.  Do something that has never been seen and you will attract attention. That is exactly what Jesus did - He attracted attention and got a lot of people to stop what they were doing and listen to Him.

Today as we continue our Lenten journey - Jesus asks all of us to stop - to be amazed at what He has done and to listen to His message of love and forgiveness with new and open ears and hearts.  He ask us to see Him in our lives and His Dynamic View.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Shining Light

Have you ever sat in wonder at a stage show or concert when the featured performer stood stage middle and the main spotlight was turned upon them?  Although they were spot lighted and visible to everyone in attendance - that performer was most likely blinded and unable to see anyone.  The center of attention and yet blind to the moment.  

Maybe that is how Peter felt when Jesus was transfigured before his eyes and His Glory lit up the air like a high power spot light.  Jesus revealed in all His Glory to Peter, James and John - a real "eye opener" so to say.  What would you have said?  Would you have been even less eloquent than Peter?

That happens to all of us.  We desperately seek the Divine - we beg God to reveal Himself to us and then when He does - we go blank - we become speechless.  We think we know how we would handle the moment - we play out various scenarios to prepare us for that moment and then we go blank.  We get to experience an awesome moment and then poof - it's gone.  As we search ourselves this Lent so many of us are desperately seeking a special experience - a special connection with Jesus.  

We still have plenty of time left in Lent to accomplish our goal and thus we must remember that patience is a virtue and that we must be willing to wait on God as He has been waiting on us.  The days of Lent may feel like they are passing too quickly - but if we keep our eyes and ears - our hearts and minds open to God - we may see Him reveal Himself - maybe in a Shining Light.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Electronic Prayers

Here is a quick tip for those with an iPad or iPhone.  If you are interested in praying the official prayers of the Church - you can download those prayers to your iPhone and iPad now for free. Simply go to or click this link
and click the link on the left side of that page to download the app.

Once installed on your device you can download up to a full week of official prayers. On the home page press the gear icon and download your prayers.  Then you can select your day and it will bring up the screen for iBrevairy. Press "pray" then select Breviary, then whichever prayer you wish for that day.  The Office of Readings is normally done by priests and deacons. Lauds is Morning Prayer - Daytime Prayers (is obvious) - Vespers is Evening Prayer - Compline is Night Prayer.  It is an easy app to use and eliminates the famous "page turning" that has to be done when using the official prayer books. 

For those with Android devices  your app is to the right of the iPhone app on the iBreviary home page.  It does not function quite as well as the iPhone but they have an upgrade coming that will fix those issues (hopefully soon)

Once you try it you will be glad you did! Happy Praying!

Deacon Dale 

Jesus Visits

As you wake up in the morning, is it your custom to growl and grumble about morning coming so quickly - or do you immediately thank and praise God for another day and a chance to accomplish whatever is set before you in the new day?  As I get older,  I thank God for another day of life each morning and I ask Him to help me make my efforts that day worthy of His gift of that extra day.  Maybe I can appreciate each day of life more than others as I had a twin brother who was born to eternal life about 18 months ago and that is a constant reminder that each day of life is a gift from He who created me.  In a matter of seconds I begin my first visit with Jesus for the day.  I return to visit Jesus for the second time when I do Lauds (Morning Prayer) a bit later.

Then, throughout the day I dot my day with prayer and - whether it is a very brief visit or a longer one - I continually visit Jesus in my thoughts and words.  A lengthy visit happens in the early evening as I do Vespers (Evening Prayer).  As a deacon this is expected of me - I am after all a Man of Prayer.  I was initially instructed by Bishop Raymond Vonesh very early in my formation as a deacon, along with my fellow classmates, that we were to first and foremost be Men of Prayer. 

All faithful Catholics should dot their days with prayer - with mini Jesus visits throughout the day in praise and thanksgiving and petition.  In Luke 18:1 - Jesus reminded his disciples to pray always and not lose heart - just as He instructed the Twelve - so He instructs each of us in this day and age to do the same.  Jesus calls us to visit Him often with both long and mini visits.  He encourages us - particularly as we travel through these forty days of Lent - to stay firm in our prayers.  As He remains close to each of us - we are called to stay close to Him.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Truth Be Told

This Friday evening as we head to church to participate in the Stations of the Cross - we take a step back from the day and all the activities of the day to pause and relax.  We need a few moments out of our day to help us prepare for this evening's Lenten exercise.  

Once we arrive at church and Stations begin - things will go fairly rapidly as we pray, pause and reflect on each Station and the events that surrounded each Station.  We ask ourselves who could do such a thing to any man - who  could be so cruel - so violent - so evil?  As we pray the prayers and listen to the reflections we realize that it is our sins, both historical and present and future, that provided the metal of those nails.  It was our lack of faith and trust - our selfishness - our hatred - our own evil that caused things to happen to Jesus.  

Even in this day and age we add metal to those nails - we add fuel to the fire that molded that metal into nails - we continue our sins - without thought - without remorse.  As we ask how such a thing as the Stations could have ever happened in the first place we need to look into the mirror  and accept responsibility for what we have done and what we have failed to do - Truth be Told.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's Hard

Already at this early point in Lent some people are starting to struggle with their commitment to their Lenten exercise.  A lot of people make commitments to give up "things" such as candy - or cakes - or smoking - or foul language - and here we are and many of those best intentions have already failed.  What to do once you realize that you were not able to honor your commitment?  Throw up your hands and just figure that you are done with Lent already?  Hardly - if you were unsuccessful with one attempt - go ahead and re-commit.  Perhaps it would be better to try something different - not necessarily easier - but just something different.  

Personally, I am not a big fan of "giving up" as that puts a negative spin on the period of Lent when we are actually looking for something positive to come out of our spiritual exercise.  For myself - I prefer to add something to my life during Lent.  It may be extra prayer time or spending more time at Adoration - or it might be reading the Bible or other spiritual writing.  I guess by adding these things I am giving up free time but to me it doesn't feel like I am giving up anything - just switching my focus off of myself and onto the Lord.

Trying to improve our relationship with Jesus - with God - is not the easiest thing to do. Just because we spend hours upon hours in prayer - does not mean that we will walk away with a better relationship.  Something more has to happen in those prayer hours than just prayer.  There must be a change - maybe in our mind - maybe in our heart - maybe in our thoughts - definitely in our actions.  What we do and how we do it - reflects a lot on our relationship to self and thus to God. As we empty ourselves before God - we ask in humility that He fills us with that which we need.  We ask Him to take us into a deeper relationship with Him and to open our eyes to the possibilities that exist when we are truly one with Him.  We persevere - we hang in there - we do our best - because God knows that it is hard.

Deacon Dale