Saturday, March 28, 2020

Hide and Seek

I would guess that most people in my age group played the game of hide and seek when they were young.  Typically a group of children would gather together - select one to be - it - that person - close their eyes count to ten - the remaining kids - run and hide.  At the count of ten - the one person ran all over trying to find everyone in their hiding place.  Sometimes - very easy - other times - somewhat difficult.  Once everyone was found a new person selected to be - it - the game resumed - lasting for quite some time.  At times when seeking a place to hide - very difficult - those who lived on larger property - had numerous buildings - many more places to hide. 

In Lent there are always those who would rather hide from God - rather than seek Him out. Afraid of His opinion - fearing harsh judgement - rather run away from Him.  Lent is possibly one of the best times to run towards - not away from God.  In Lent so many - praying - fasting - doing charitable deeds - seeking His forgiveness - looking everywhere they can think of - to seek - find Him.  Truth be told - He is always there - at one's side - never any father away - than the distance of our mind to our heart.  One only needs to open one's eyes - ears - mouth - to look for the signs that He is near - to hear His comforting words - to speak your desire for Him.  Jesus is there - waiting - for you to make your move.  He is not running away - hiding from you - rather - He seeks you with arms open wide.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Just Another Friday

Yep - just another Friday - except - trapped in the house - no place to go - locked down - self isolating.  Not the first Friday for this experience - won't be the last.  From the articles I just read - it appears that we are in this virus lock down for multiple months - not weeks.  I know that many people are already getting anxious about this - however - there is no option.  If we as a nation are to survive this pandemic - then as a nation - we must stick together - cooperate with our governors - mayors - follow their guidelines.  

With Jesus - this is all possible.  Sure some changes have to be made - very limited time outside the home - running critical errands - milk and bread only good for so many days.  For us as Catholics - we need to look at this as a long Lent retreat - days in solitude - time to be alone with Jesus - walking in the desert.  For those with other family members - - need to utilize different rooms - give each person their own space - time to be alone.  Front porch - a private space - back yard - your private retreat - multiple possibilities exist.  Time with family - time alone - all gifts to be appreciated - as we isolate.  In Lent we seek Faith - in Jesus we Trust.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Stir Crazy

In this morning's scripture in Exodus we read how the Lord was instructing Moses to go to the people who he had led out of Egypt who had become bored - unhappy with their circumstances - making a molten calf - turning away from God.  This resonates with many of us today - especially those who are sheltering in place - quarantined in our homes - waiting for the issue with the coronavirus to calm down.  Obviously being bored - trapped - unhappy with the current situations in one's life - nothing new - exclusive for any of us.  As we stay sheltered in our homes - have we turned away from - closer to - Jesus?  Have we used any of this new found free time to talk to God - to consider our spiritual lives?

Yes boredom can be a serious issue - something to contend with - to overcome - to avoid going stir crazy - giving in to unnatural ways of thinking - acting.  We need to constantly remind ourselves that this is Lent - a time set aside - to be quiet - to reflect - to spend more time in quiet with God.  There is an abundance of live stream - online resources - available that will nurture our spirits - souls.   Daily Mass - Stations of the Cross - recorded and live Homilies - Sermons - Bible Studies - to keep our minds active - connected to God.  All are available - twenty-four hours a day - day in and day out.  This time - trapped in our homes - a gift - of sorts - a time to relax - calm down - to draw closer to the God who loves us - who heals us - who comes to us in the quiet moments of our lives.   Jesus is there - with you - seeking to stir up your spirit - to see in these days of isolation - how crazy He is for you.

Deacon Dale  

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Drowning In The Desert

One thing that most people know - water in the desert - very scarce - hard to find - mostly sand.  When we decided to buy a home in Arizona we knew it had two features that we were looking for - warmth in the winter - mountains where we could hike.  We had just completed our month long pilgrimage - walking 400 miles of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.  The pilgrimage route took us literally through the back yards of Northern Spain - up into the mountains - down into valleys - across old Roman roads - bridges - challenging us most of the way - our first ultra light back packing experience.  At the end - spiritually refreshed - enthused with that hiking experience - we wanted to do more hiking.  In flat Illinois that was not possible - so we found a place in the warm Sonoran Desert in Arizona.  Once there we were able to hike and were surprised with how beautiful the desert is,  There is no water - but the plants that survive in the desert are unusual and very interesting - boring cacti that grow beautiful flowers - completely unexpected. 

Everyone will - at some time in their life - have a desert experience.  One does not have to physically be in a desert - the lonely isolation - feeling completely alone - walking in a space - barren - void of that which distracts.  In Lent we are asked to journey with Jesus - to place ourselves mentally - spiritually - in the desert with Him.  Contemplating - meditating - on our own life - the path we have been following - making decisions - to stay that path - walk a new direction.  For a few - their lives filed with so much - drowning in choices to make - unable to sort through them - lost - with out a paddle - drowning in the desert.  Others - through the power of prayer - easily cruising through the desert sands of their mind - floating on the waves of the presence of Christ in their lives - emerging - refreshed - invigorated at the time spent in solitude.  Washed ashore - into the arms of Jesus - peaceful - filled with joy - their time in the desert - bringing clarity of  thought - swimming in God's love.  If you have not entered the desert this Lent - you still have time - Jesus is waiting - you will not drown - He is your life saver.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Pool Party

Almost everyone loves a pool party - gathering with friends - enjoying - music - food - lively conversation - celebrating all the gifts that life gives us.  Sharing successes - hopes - best wishes for each other.  There is something special about water - people become energized when close to water - spirits lift - smiles grow across faces - joy bounds in hearts.  Once in the water - a feeling of comfort - surrounded by the warmth - coolness - the freedom that water provides.  Our bodies are mostly water - depending on age and gender - anywhere from 55% to 75% water.  It is the water in our bodies that facilitate so many body processes - keeping us healthy - refreshing our souls.

In today's Gospel Jesus comes across a man crippled - attempting to crawl into the pools at 
Bethesda near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem. As the water would stir up - those in the pools - healed of their afflictions. Not a pool party as we call it - a party of people - all seeking the same thing - a better life - healed of their infirmities.  I have been at those pools - no longer filled with water - a dried memory of the history of that place - the Spirit of God - still strong - running freely - as water flows - among those now gathered in prayer - reflection.  As we continue through these days of Lent - the Elect - those looking forward to their baptism at Easter - now a questionable reality.  With no Easter Masses scheduled - when will they be renewed in the waters of baptism - when will we be renewed in our hearts - as we observe water being washed over their bodies?  Eventually - it will happen - at a day - a time when all will be healed.  Just as Jesus told the cripple - pick up your mat and walk - He tells us - be strong in faith - cast your fears aside - pick up your head - walk into your future.  He will be at our side.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Shelter In Place

With the current pandemic - fear - contracting the coronavirus - new terminology - words to inform us of proper activity.  The newest - Shelter in Place - to isolate one and their family - in a familiar place where they may be safe.  For most this place is their home - apartment - house - supplied with food - comfort items - bedding.  In this morning's Scripture from Isaiah 65:17-21 we read that the Lord is in the process of creating new heavens - a new earth - that things of the past shall not be remembered. It continues that there will be new joy - crying no longer.  For all of us going through this pandemic - those words are very applicable to our present situation.

Casa Del Camino "Fortress of Solitude"

Many people view Lent as a time of giving up things to be regained at Easter - no permanent sacrifice - very temporary - at best.  In Lent the true focus should be on making ourselves - new creations - discarding bad habits - sinful activity - walking away from our six week Lenten retreat - a new creation - no longer burdened with the problems - sins of our former life.  As we observe - Shelter in Place - in Arizona you may notice in the above photo that our home - as well as all  the homes here - are surrounded with cinder block walls - separating us from each other - from the community.  Once we enter the door to our home - we are completely isolated from everyone around us.  In our new - Fortress of Solitude - we spend our days of Lent - alone - reflecting on everything happening.  Lots of time for prayer - meditation - allowing ourselves to be alone with each other - with God.  When we emerge - we pray that we are better off - spiritually - emotionally - physically - learning all that God wants us to learn - experience - just as Jesus did - in His 40 Days in the desert. Praying that this Lent you Shelter in Place - with Jesus.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

All Eyes and Blind

Our eyes are one of the most interesting organs of the human body. From birth until maybe the age of 21 years our eyes continue to grow - increasing in size by only a few millimeters.  In appearance they appear to remain exactly the same size as birth - a few additional developments do occur - not visible to the naked eye.  With our eyes we can see almost all the colors of the rainbow - visual acuity - clarity - provide us with very clear vision - ability to see all of God's creation - the world around us.  Over time - issues may develop - our vision declines - the ability to see diminishes as we age.  In today's Scriptures the focus is on sight - not seeing as God sees - rather as humans tend to see - looking only on the surface - judging a book by its cover - failing to recognize the light of God - dwelling in the darkness of their sins - blaming an infirmity - blindness of an individual on their or their parent's sinfulness.

As Christians - as Children of God - Disciples of Jesus - we are called to see much deeper than our humanly vision allows us to see. We are asked to look into the hearts - souls of our fellow humans - to not judge by their outward appearance - to see in them - the person that God has created them - us - to be.  Casting aside our preconceived notions - prejudices - we are asked to see that all of us - are the same - seeking the same things - looking for that which fulfills.  On this Fourth Sunday of Lent - we are called to open our eyes to the great possibilities that exist among all people - to seek Jesus - in His Words.  This Sunday we will not find Him in Holy Eucharist - churches closed to all because of the current pandemic.  Denied meeting Him in Holy Communion - we must take in His Words - all that we see around us - to know that He - the Lord of Lords - the Author of Life - is with us.  In Faith - we see clearly - that - which we cannot see.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

How Do I Love Thee..

Elizabeth Barrett Browning penned the sonnet - How do I love thee, let me count the ways. In fourteen lines she spelled out her thoughts on how to love - ending with - if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death. These first few lines are quoted very often - most not realizing that she brought God into the picture at the end.  All of us love - in various and different ways.  We love different things - people - pets - jobs - sports - music - the arts - money - God.  Sad to say when asked what they love all too many will mention those listed above - usually leaving out God.  Love is an intangible that cannot be seen - smelled - felt - touched - a feeling that evades some - a decision by most - held only in one's mind - heart. In today's scripture in Hosea 6:6 we are told - For it is love that I desire - not sacrifice.

Continuing our Lenten journey - we should all spend time meditating on these words - what  it means - God desires love - not sacrifice - especially when we are asked in Lent to give up - to sacrifice.  When we give up - do we long for that which we are depriving ourselves - more than we love God?  Are our sacrifices seen as a punishment - for what we have done wrong - or a gift to God - showering our sacrificial love upon Him - His Son - reflecting on God's gift to us in Jesus - the sacrifice He made of His Son - that we could be set free from sin - to live a life of fullness.  When God looks into your eyes - does He see sadness - the loss you feel of your sacrifice - or does He see the love that you have for Him? God alone posses agape love - a love unknown to humans - a love that forgives everything you ever did - will do wrong.  When He looks into your eyes - heart - will He see how you love Him?

Deacon Dale 
For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice,

Friday, March 20, 2020

With Our Eyes

Our eyes are one of the most fantastic organs in our bodies - how they function - the intricate structure - elements - that work together to allow us to see the world around us. With our eyes we can see others near us - the blue shades of the sky - the green of the grass - the browns of the desert sands - the reds and yellows of the flowers.  As much as they allow us to see - they are also the windows to our hearts.  Looking into the eyes of another person - allows you to see into their heart.  The best example is your dog - look into a dog's eyes - all you see is love - a reflection of your love for them.  How we see - what we see is different for each of us. 

In the picture above what did you see - the bright sun in the sky - a glare in your eyes - uncomfortable - painful?  Did you see the mountains in the distance - rising upwards- touching the sky - reaching into heaven - offering hope - peace?  Did you see the garbage cans lined up on the street - filled with the trash that burdens people's lives - the sins cast aside in the hope that God would send His celestial garbage crew to remove from their home?  What did you see - what did you think you saw - what was the reality of the visual captured in a picture?  In Lent we need to look with our hearts - not our eyes - we need to see the truth that is in each of us - that we are precious in the eyes of God - God who sees  into our hearts - knows us better than we know ourselves.  In Lent - we pray - for ourselves - for others - for peace - for hope - for life eternal with God.  Jesus calls each of us to open our eyes - hearts - to all that we have been given.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 19, 2020


Depending where you live you may be experiencing a lot of cloudy days or as we are in Arizona - mostly sunny days.  Our time out here this year has been very different from previous years - cooler than normal - more rain days - lower activity level.  For the most part - even when temperature is lower - there is still a lot of sun.  The sun not only gives us brighter days - also adds to the comfort when outside.  Sunlight - everywhere - a gift to almost everyone - boosting one's mood.  Arizona seems to have a lot more happy people than other parts of  the country - possibly due to the fact that there is constant sun.  No seasonal affective disorder here - happiness prevails among most.  

In these days of Lent as we reflect on our lives - what we have done - things ignored - what we should have done - things we could have done - those that we might do - we pause and ask - was that selfish - sinful.  The answer depends on you - the situation - circumstances.  So many of us tend to beat ourselves up - not helping enough - not spending enough time in prayer - not fasting as often as others.  As we reflect on all these concerns - we look to the Son - the light He brings into our lives.  God did not create us so that we would be unhappy - sad.  Rather as Jesus reminds us - He came that we might have life and live it to the fullest.  Even when the days are cloudy - God sends the Light of Jesus to each of us - reminding us to rejoice - to bathe ourselves in His Son's light.

Deacon Dale