Saturday, February 28, 2015

Broken Promises

Ask anyone and they will say one of the worst things anyone can do is to break a promise - not do as intended - commitment not honored. There are many reasons why this happens - sudden change in plans - unexpected illness - something critical came up - character flaw. For those who habitually break their promises - do not keep their word - fail to honor a commitment - a serious character flaw. The average person rarely breaks a promise - then only for a very good reason - a few others - cannot trust them any further than you can throw them. During Lent - biggest promise broken - failing to make an effort to make a commitment for spiritual growth and failing to honor that commitment. The good news - there is still plenty of time left to work on your relationship with God. What is important is the intent and the effort. God does not care how lofty a goal you set - nor does He care how many days you commit to. To put it very simply - just do it - do it well.

Jesus told us that He didn't promise us a rose garden - He never said following Him would be easy. He did promise a great reward - not here - in Heaven - not immediately - at the end of time. If you hesitate to make a Lenten commitment - don't - your promise to yourself - assures His promise to you. Before any more days of Lent pass - do it now - Jesus is waiting - for you.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, February 27, 2015


When walking through any desert - whether actual - symbolic - thirst is a major concern. Before setting out for any journey one of the most important items to pack - water. Your hiking shoes may be the newest on the market - your backpack the largest made - your trekking poles lightweight aluminum - your clothing quick drying fabric - none as important as your provisions for water. You can hike barefoot - you can carry nothing but your poles and very little clothing - you cannot walk without water. Not only must you start with water - you must know where you can get additional as you travel your selected path. If more will not be available - then an adequate amount must be carried from the start. When walking a spiritual journey the same applies - whatever it is that you will need - your Bible - Rosary - prayer book - must be in hand before you start the journey. To get half way into your trek and have no water - no spiritual guide - dangerous - in a desert - life threatening - on a spiritual trek - risk of a bad experience.

In life the only constant that we may rely on is Jesus - He is always there - has always been there - since the beginning - with the Father - with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God is what nourishes us - feeds us - quenches our thirst. When entering any prayer experience - the Holy Spirit - that breath of fresh air - the living water - that quenches all thirst - must be invoked - before starting any journey. We begin with prayer to God - through Jesus - His Son - through the power of the Holy Spirit - we continue prayer as we journey - at the conclusion - an ending prayer of thanksgiving. If you thirst for life - if you seek fulfilment - seek Jesus and His Holy Spirit - He is there - waiting - for you.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Desert Experience

Living - working - walking - in a desert climate - takes some adjustments. Coping with excessively bright sun light - extreme heat - dust storms - lack of water - takes awhile to adapt - learn how to live with those conditions. One would think it impossible - very difficult - hard on individuals - families - elderly. Reality - it is no worse than adjusting to any new climate. Excess heat - no worse than excess cold - just the other side of the spectrum. When very hot in the desert - escape to the inside with air conditioning - when very cold in the north or mid-west - escape inside with furnace warming the air. When these minor inconveniences are ignored - living in the desert opens one up to amazing and interesting things - the animals - plants - people. One after another - each has a story to tell - experiences to share.

As Jesus walked in the desert of Israel - He was able to view first hand - God incarnate - how people lived - coped - adjusted - treated each other. He knew from His own life's experiences what people were really like - good and bad - saint and sinner - young and old. As the God - who walked among His people - He knew patience - love - concern - for all mankind.  Even now - as you walk through the desert of Lent - He knows exactly where you are - what you have done well - where you failed - in all of this - He waits patiently for you.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dusty Feet

If you wear sandals in the desert you are guaranteed to get dusty feet - sand underfoot - pebbles between toes - an occasional thorn or two. Logic would seem to demand wearing another style of footwear - yet - desert in Israel - desert in Arizona - most prefer sandals. The airy open shoe style - very comfortable - allows feet to breathe. Sandals have been a favorite of many since the time of Jesus - a favorite particularly with women even in 2015.

Jesus instructed His disciples to travel with no extra baggage - one pair of sandals - a walking stick - the earliest ultralight trekkers. Dust in sandals a given - not being accepted when proclaiming the Gospel - uncertain - possible - not probable.  For those who refused to listen - dust shaken from the sandals - a sign of displeasure - a lesson for all.  Walking with Jesus - dusty sandals a given - expectations - many - walking alone - never.  He stands - looking for a companion - waiting - for you. 

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Not All Bad

During Lent it is not uncommon to find people who think they are the worse person in the world - all bad - doomed to hell - forsaken forever. Yes - there are many bad people - people who are so bad - the rest all look like saints.  Everyone has sinned - period - everyone has redeeming qualities - even the worse sinner - can be forgiven. It does not matter what the sin is - how it was committed - when it was done - where it happened. Believe it or not - sin - is - sin. There are no colors to sin - no taste - no flavor - no size - no shape. It is not big sin - nor little sin. It is like being - a lttle bit pregnant - either you are - or you are not. Sin is the same - one size fits all - not gender specific - not limited to one age or another. My sin may be completely different from your sin - it is still sin. How often we sin - slightly different - yet the same.  If someone sins once and another ten times - it makes no difference - if neither has respented - asked for forgivemess.  When sinners do finally repent - all receive the same for giveness from God - like sin - forgiveness has no size - no limits.

Jesus promises all - come to me all who are weak and burdened - I will give you rest.  Not a little rest - not a big rest - simply rest. He loves all equally - He forgives all equally - He calls each of us to holiness - equally - no limits - no restraints - no time limit.  His call is constant - His love unmeasurable.  Listen - today - God is calling - waiting - for you.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cookie Cutter

According to the Urban Dictionary cookie-cutter means marked by sameness and a lack of originality - mass produced - often used to describe housing developments in which all of the houses are based on the same floor plans and differentiated only by color scheme. The benefit of cookie-cutter houses translates into saving for the home buyer.  Same design plans - same square footage - translates into large savings - quality housing - fair and equitable prices.  The trade off - lack of uniqueness.  In some areas - easy to get lost - since all of the houses share the same appearance.  Benefit - clean design - organized - outrageous - unpleasant designs avoided.  Pros and cons - abound.

God sent Jesus to Mankind to show us how to live - in general terms. Treat your neighbor as yourself - for most of us - night and day - what pleases me - not pleasing to you.  Jesus offers salvation to all - His love - His forgiveness - His acceptance - not in equal ways - only in equal opportunity. For each - customized for individual needs - to individual situations. No cookie-cutter relationship - with God - with Jesus.  If any of us were the only person who needed salvation - it would be customized specifically for us.  No cookie-cutter - no mass produced forgiveness - quite simply - one on one - waiting - just for you.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Repent and Believe

Repent and Believe in the Gospel - as was proclaimed this First Sunday of Lent 2015. Repent - admit your wrongs - be sorrowful that you thought or acted wrongly - make amends - take corrective actions. We have all sinned - saint and sinner - humans - mortal - well meaning - thoughtless - frivolous - people.  Only One was perfect - He was God - is God.  How can we compare with Jesus - we can't. How can we be exactly like Him - the Author of Life - we won't.  Not needed - not intended - not expected.  When God created mankind - He knew we would not be infallible - He knew we would have limitations - He knew that each one of us was a possibility - holding the potential of greatness within ourselves. He knew we would fail - error - make mistakes - mess up. Just as He gave us the Rainbow as a promise - He gives us hope - weekly - daily - hourly.

Jesus came to show us the right path to walk - the right way to act - the right way to think - the right way to live. He came that we could have life and live it to the fullest. In that fullness - experiencing all that God has planned - good and bad - joy and sadness - health and sickness - the things we do not like to think about - the wrong - the evil - the cruel times.  His promise of New Life - New Hope - the Rainbow - moments of touching the Divine. He knew - He forgives - He waits - for you.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lenten Partnership

Trying to experience Lent by yourself - often a challenge - often difficult - often a failure.  From those who know - journeying with a partner - much easier - more successful.  Most who have done Lent well - have done it with at least one other person - some - in sizable groups.  It is always more affirming - more helpful - more rewarding - when sharing faith with others.  Many will try alone - private prayers - personal reading - quiet meditation - missed intentions - forgotten for days - done before started.  Partners - groups - community - challenge - encourage - affirm - the value of doing Lent well.  Prayer groups - Bible studies - group devotionals - all very successful.  The hardest part - starting - the easiest part - quitting.

Jesus said that all were called - not all responded - many drifted by the wayside.  Walking with Jesus - a challenge - trying to keep pace - easy.  Jesus does not run - Jesus does not sprint - Jesus walks - at a pace just for you.  Your decision - He is there - smiling - waiting - for you.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, February 20, 2015

On The Road

Our Lenten journey has begun - we are now into our third day - still energized by the imposition of ashes on our foreheads - still excited about our 40 day adventure - walking with Jesus - walking closer to God. Before we get much further - we assess the supplies - equipment needed for a long journey.  Our Bible - spiritual food for the journey - Sturdy Sandals - protection from the rocks in our path - Living Water - with the Spirit of God flowing within - all things are possible.  As we walk this journey - important to pace ourselves - too fast - risk of burning out - getting spiritual blisters - walking too slow - risk of distractions - falling off the path of life.  

El Camino de Santiago - Pamplona 

Jesus asks us to walk with him - to see where He lives - to see what He sees - to hear what He hears - He stands at the road of life - beckoning - calling - waiting - for you.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Day After

Faces washed - ashes gone - the second day.  So we are into our Lenten experience.  A day to reflect on yesterday's ashes - the prayers spoken - the songs sung - the thumb on our forehead - the ash that fell to the ground.  Did anything happen - was there a spark of hope - a glimmer of anything?  Why did we go - what did we expect - God's forgiveness? The end of the second day - close at hand - what lies ahead - questions - hope - faith?

When Jesus spoke to the crowds many wondered - questioned - speculated - sought answers.  Today we do the same - two thousand years later - nothing has changed - God is still God - Jesus is still Jesus - waiting - for you.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday - the official beginning of Lent - a day that startles some - excites others. Although not an official Holy Day - one day that draws very large numbers of people to church services.  Services - perhaps a simple scripture service with the imposition of ashes on the forehead - complete Holy Mass including imposition of ashes.  Ash Wednesday is counter cultural - a day set aside - yet not mandatory - a day that calls to the inner spirit of individuals - a day that draws people - to reflect - to contemplate - to wonder - the frailty of their life - the value of their self.  Fasting and abstaining - eating less - avoiding meat - self imposed - prescribed for the multitude - exempted for the very young and old.

God calls everyone constantly to a deeper relationship with Him - not always acknowledged - often ignored. In Lent - most give in - stop their daily lives - to admit - finally - that lives lived poorly - need help.  In these 40 days of Lent - God waits - for you.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fat Tuesday

Hooray! Celebrate - Today is Fat Tuesday - a day of self indulgence - food - parties - Mardi Gras.  Yes today - we pull out all the stops - throw caution to the wind - forget decorum - party like there is no tomorrow.  Fat Tuesday is a last ditch attempt - one more day - to ignore - to focus on self - to let our inner child run wild - uncontrolled.  In this day we celebrate personal independence - no thoughts of others - no thoughts of rules - rather a day to break rules - to run free.  At midnight - it ends - gone  - not forgotten. Tomorrow - will come - Ash Wednesday - the beginning of Lent - a period of reflection - a time of seeking forgiveness - for what we have done - for Fat Tuesday - for being inconsiderate - for being selfish - for all that we dared to do - all the wrongs committed.  There is always two sides to every coin - two routes to walk - two choices to be made.

Jesus told us that He was The Way - He did not force us to believe - He gave us a choice - accept or reject - turn away or turn towards Him.  In Lent the Church gives us an opportunity to review and reflect.  Our choice - our time - choose wisely.

Deacon Dale