Thursday, March 31, 2016

What's For Dinner?

It is not too often that anyone asks what is being served for breakfast or lunch - dinner - a whole other story. Most of us are conditioned - trained from childhood - groomed by our mothers - a feast at dinnertime. Mom always served up her best for the evening meal - dinner - supper - call it what you want - always great. In my family as a youth - dinner - on a schedule - certain meals - specific days of the week. Fridays - always fish - even though we were not Catholic - mom - from Italy - a Catholic - so we ate fish. Then there was pot roast - spaghetti with meat balls - country fried chicken and dumplings - always on Sunday - had to keep my dad - a Kentucky boy happy. Each meal carefully planned - executed - kept the nine of us - very happy.

As we continue through this Season of Easter - not one day - rather fifty - we continue to experience our New Life in Christ in many - various ways - some days repeating themselves - falling into a routine - creating a spiritual menu - where we are fed - kept happy. All of us have a choice - daily - what spiritual food we will consume - perhaps a routine - Holy Mass one day - Bible study another - sitting in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament - yet another. As we continue our Easter celebration - these fifty days will provide us time to select what we need - when we need it - formed into a spiritual banquet.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Phoenix

In Greek mythology - a  phoenix - a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated - reborn. Associated with the sun - a phoenix - gets new life - arising from the ashes of its predecessor. Some believe the phoenix dies - in flames - combustion - then born again. The story of the phoenix - gives hope to all that when one life ends - another begins - when a situation comes to an end - a new opportunity awaits. To those who are facing the loss of a job - a loved one - or any loss - always hope - that the future holds new - better things.

During the Easter Season - many stories - about opportunities - new ventures - hope - life goes on. In any situation - good - bad - there is always another chapter - a book that never ends - chapters yet to be written. As we continue to rejoice in this Octave of Easter - these first eight days - we continue - in a special way - as people of hope. Each day will reveal more and more - if eyes are kept open - minds tuned to the possibilities that exist. Jesus did the hard part - now it is our turn - looking at the future - experiencing New Life. 

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

After Shock

An aftershock is a smaller earthquake that occurs after a previous large earthquake - in the same area of the main shock. That is not the after shock that this article refers to. What I am focusing on - when something of unusual proportion occurs - an event that surprises - shocks - most people. It may be a good or bad event - winning the lottery - getting a surprise promotion - receiving a proposal for marriage - house burning to the ground - being fired from your job - sudden death. All of these events cause shock - great concern among those affected - confusion - a rush of emotions - happy - sad - joy - anger. In the time following the surprise - the after shock - those minutes - hours - days - following - trying to sort things out - clearing ones mind - making adjustments - looking to the next days. Focusing on what happens next.

When Jesus rose from the dead - His disciples - in a state of shock - was it real - was He a ghost - a figment of their imagination - trying to sort reality - from exhaustion - anxiety. The aftermath - sharing stories - putting it all together - to make sense - to create comfort. Two thousand years later - no after shock - we have been conditioned all our lives - to accept this unbelievable event - the Easter Event - Mystery of God's plan - Jesus - Resurrection. For believers - the Easter Mystery is an event to be celebrated - not dissected - analyzed. We rejoice in Christ's victory over Death - the next 50 days - Easter Season - focusing on what happens next. 

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Life Not Death

I read a comment somewhere yesterday where the person was asking what the big deal was with Jesus' death. Scripture does clearly say that Jesus died on Good Friday - rose on Easter Sunday. From the writer's perspective - Jesus was only dead - three days - whereas others - soldiers for instance - dead forever. For some reason he seems to understand that Jesus only had to be dead for three days - then return to life as before. What? Obviously the fact that Jesus was raised to - New Life - a Glorified Body - NOT the same as before - Resurrected! The only person recorded in history to be resurrected from the dead - Jesus. His whole death - passion - was not about dying - all of us can - will - do that at some point in our lives. The Easter Mystery is about - Resurrection - only done once - only by Jesus.

Faith is a very big pill to swallow - very hard for many - not logical - defies understanding - wisdom. Faith cannot be held in the hand - nor can it be felt - smelled - seen. As an intangible object - invisible - impossible - for many. That is why Jesus performed miracles - why the disciples performed miracles - signs of God's presence - in ordinary people - in out of the ordinary events. Believing in God - the Holy Spirit - Resurrection - takes Faith. To believe one has to be open to the possibility - the opportunity - without hard evidence. - willing to place logic aside - to open oneself to a Mystery beyond human understanding. God wills it - Jesus speaks it - the Holy Spirit does it. It is all about Life - not Death.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Victory Dance

A Victory Dance - any dance or special traditional movement - done in celebration of a small or grand victory - over anything. If you Google the term victory dance you will find a vast array of what is called a victory dance. In a nutshell - anything worth celebrating - worth dancing for. The most common victory dance - on the sports field - after a goal - win. Other victory dances - personal - among friends - celebrating small accomplishments. As a people - it is good to celebrate our small wins - with family - friends. Many cultures - celebrate - with dance. Dance expresses in movement - music - where words fail to convey - fully express - the emotions of joy - happiness.

When Jesus rose from the Dead - the angels in heaven danced for joy - rejoiced as He defeated Death - the enemy of mankind. His disciples - shocked - amazed - over joyed - filled with new hope - anticipation - of more to come. Today as we Celebrate Easter - a once pagan celebration - Christianized - now a celebration of Christ's Victory. The victory - not His alone - also ours - as we who call ourselves Christians - share in that victory over Death. To us - the promise of New Life - Life with God - an eternal gift from God the Father. - with fellow Christians. Today each of needs to dance with Jesus - celebrate His victory - in a victory dance.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Carpe Diem

According to Wikipedia - Carpe Diem - is a Latin aphorism - definition - usually translated - seize the day - taken from book 1 of the Roman poet Horace's work Odes (23 BC). In modern terminology - grab it now - do it while you can - take advantage of the opportunity now - while it is there. So to all - today I urge you - carpe diem - Holy Saturday - grab it - become involved with it - become an active participant - because tomorrow it will be gone. This is the final day of the 3-peat - the Triduum - the religious hat trick - the three holiest days of the year. On this day in churches around the world - the final examination - blessing - of the Elect - those preparing for Baptism - Confirmation - Holy Communion. This morning also - the blessing of Easter food baskets - food to be prepared and shared with family and friends at the Easter feast.  A day of fasting - prayer - in preparation for the Easter Vigil - the Mother of all Vigils - celebrated tonight after sundown. The darkness of the night broken by the outdoor lighting of the Easter - Pascal - Candle - in a solemn light service - the entrance into the church - in a victory march to begin the Vigil - Holy Mass. Twelve scriptures - maximum - with sung psalms - the Epistle - Gospel proclamation - words of encouragement - the blessing of water in the font - Baptism - Confirmation - finally Holy Eucharist. The community gathered at prayer - joyfully celebrating - the Resurrection. 

Tonight - Heaven - Earth - join together in a moment when ordinary people experience the Divine. Listening to Holy Scripture proclaimed - reassured by the words spoken in the Vigil Homily - God draws all of us deeper into the Mystery - that is God. Tonight we remember Creation - the Escape - God's Call - Jesus' Passion - the dark moments - the emptiness - the Glory - the Hope. As a family we witness - Baptism - Confirmation - First Communion - the addition of New Members - to the Family of God. Tonight we celebrate Hope - we celebrate Joy - we celebrate Jesus. Carpe Diem.

Deacon Dale  

Friday, March 25, 2016

What Is So Good About Friday?

Today - Good Friday - the day we remember when Jesus was led to the Cross - crucified - unjustly - for our sins - although He had committed no sins of His own. Unjust - not fair - should never have happened - why did God allow this to happen - what went wrong here? In our eyes - a terrible mistake - plans gone wrong. What did this accomplish - how have we benefited - what was the big picture? To many people - Good Friday is nothing more than a day off from work - a holiday - time to party with friends - the beginning of a long weekend. Christ's death - a historical fact - nothing more. The significance of Good Friday lost - in the celebration of Easter joy - hunting for eggs - bunnies - chicks - Easter baskets - family - food - fun. Too many people focus their eyes on the celebration - forget that before the celebration there was suffering - anguish - blood - tears - death. 

In the beginning God knew - knew everything. He knew that this day would come - hoped it would not be necessary - but mankind failed - God intervened - took corrective steps - sent His Son - to save the world from itself. The enemy to be confronted - not people - rather Death. Death - the final enemy - that which robs people of hope - life. Death - an enemy too powerful to be fought by ordinary means - by ordinary people. Only Jesus - the Son of God - able to face head on - that which placed fear in the hearts of men - women. Jesus - armed with spiritual battle gear - prepared from birth - for this one day - this one battle - for mankind. He was prepared - ready for whatever happened - ready to suffer the pain of physical death - prepared to die and sink into the bowels of Hell - to defeat Death where it lived - to escape - rise - to New Life. That is what makes this Friday - Good.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spiritual Hat Trick

In sports - a hat trick is the achievement of a positive feat three times in a single game or another achievement based on the number three. The most common reference to hat trick is hockey - when one player score three points in a game. Today - Holy Thursday marks the first - of three - very significant events in one series known as the Triduum. In the Triduum - Catholics around the world celebrate the three most holy days in the year - Holy Thursday - Good Friday - Holy Saturday with celebration of the Easter Vigil. Each event on its own is significant - the three - celebrated in three consecutive days - very significant. 

The Church gives us these three very holy days - to remind and reassure us that all that we profess and believe - is true. So true that it bears repeating - year after year. Holy Thursday we celebrate the institution of Holy Eucharist and the Priesthood - the washing of the feet of the twelve - being called by God - ordained to service to each other - strengthened by the spiritual food of Holy Communion. Each day of the three - the final teachings - lessons in preparation - for the celebration of Easter. 

Deacon Dale  

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wrapping Up

Wednesday of Holy Week - time to wrap up our Lenten experience - gather up all that we have accomplished - review all that we have done - looking forward to the Triduum on Thursday. Similar to getting our vacation house in order as we prepare to leave  - putting things away - turning things off - shutting down this and that. One final cleaning - getting our spiritual house in order - as we move on.

Thursday a rest day for the most part - all the action to take place at Holy Mass - Thursday evening. Jesus stands at our side as we take inventory of all that has been accomplished this Lent. Great and small - any improvement - a positive - moving us to the Triduum - closer to Easter. One day of rest - then three days - focused on the Passion.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Winding Down

When we refer to something as winding down - losing power - coming to a stand still - we acknowledge that it is coming to an end. So many things happen in our lives - we will experience  this winding down - over and over again. We begin the work week - full of energy - as the days pass - it slows down comes to a halt. Schools open their doors - full steam ahead in August - wind down - shut down in June. The same goes for most professional sports - each has a season - training - active games - wind down with only a few teams - final competition. We are now in the winding down days of Lent - three days left - then over. In these last three days we focus - on ourselves - our growth - what we have accomplished. We slowly move from the Lenten season in preparation for the Triduum - the three Holiest Days of the Christian Year.

God gives us the ability to learn - grow - adapt - adjust - to prepare ourselves for an eternal life with Him. In the season of Lent we have taken time - away from other concerns - issues - to focus on the spiritual side of life. We have paused - prayed - reflected - meditated - on our relationship with Jesus - with God. In our spiritual exercises we have experienced growth - understanding - prepared ourselves to participate more fully in the special three days to come - the Triduum and Easter celebrations to follow.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Anointed

Normally when someone refers to - the anointed - visions of a person of great importance - jumps into your head - a religious leader - one elected to an office of great power - influence. To be anointed - means - standing out - selected from the many - to be included with the few. In most Roman Catholic dioceses - tonight - Monday of Holy Week - the local bishop celebrated the Mass of the Oils - special oils blessed - by the bishop - Oil of Catechumens - Oil of the Sick - Sacred Chrism - to be used in all the parishes of the diocese during the next year - in celebration of the sacraments of baptism - healing - confirmation - dedication. Sacred Chrism might be used in the dedication of a new altar - church building - the majority of the oil - used on people - ordinary people - receiving extra ordinary blessings.

Throughout history - religions - cults - have used oil as a special sign - blessing - healing - power - anointing from powers beyond our understanding. In Christian theology - anointing with oil - a special calling from God - to ordinary people - to become more than ordinary - to become people - of faith. The oils blessed tonight - presented to the parish family on Holy Thursday evening at the celebration of Holy Mass - the commemoration of the Eucharist - Priesthood - to be used on Holy Saturday at the Easter Vigil. God calls each of us to reflect on the anointings we have already received - will receive - in the future.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Holy Week 2016

Today marks the beginning of Holy Week 2016 - we commemorate Jesus' entry into Jerusalem - riding on a donkey - palms waving - people cheering - chanting - excited - the entrance of the Messiah. How quickly things went from joy - excitement - to - despair - anger - sadness - loss of hope. Today we begin our annual walk down memory lane - we recreate the events of this week - complete with all the emotions - happy - sad. For over 2000 years now - we remember - has it done us any good - has it made us a better people. Most - weather Christian or not - would agree that Jesus' appearance in the world was one of the biggest events in the history of man - affected the development of cultures - people - around the world. Yet - two millennium later - do we act like we learned anything. If you have watched even a minimum of the current political shenanigans - it would be almost impossible to see any Christ like actions among the candidates. Trash talk - innuendos - misdirection - comments taken out of context - all confusing the public - creating a very unhealthy environment. At a time in history when we should be people of peace - compassion - understanding - we have nothing - reeds - palms blowing in the wind - our leaders - acting like children - immature - themselves victims of their own tactics.

In this holiest week of the Christian calendar - we experience God's Divine Mercy -  His compassion - understanding - forgiveness - healing. God is able - will forgive our sins - even the comedy that is the political scene in America. All we need to do is ask - period. We do not understand why - but He will. Jesus - the compassionate teacher - Son of God - the gentle spokesperson - calls each of us to a deeper relationship with Him - with His Father. In this week - it is possible - Jesus waits - quietly - for your next move.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 19, 2016


We have all been there - done our best - worked our hardest - went above and beyond the call of duty - only to be told - not good enough. To say it is frustrating - does not even begin to describe our frustration. It may be a project at work - in school - at home - for a employer - teacher - family member. We plan - design - develop - create - review the finished project - only to be told - not good enough - needs improvement - design change - more time to complete. Unfortunately - some people - never happy with the results.

God knows our limitations - our natural abilities - skills that we have developed - skills that we are improving upon. Many - right now feeling frustrated that the end of Lent is so close - yet not happy with their results - efforts - knowing that come Holy Thursday evening - over - done - finished. The reality is that whatever has been done - accomplished - is all that there is - final results - no more - no less. God does not expect perfection - only an honest effort - doing what you were able to do. Jesus does not judge - He urges you to look at the positive - improvements - even if small - still improvements - something achieved. Focus on the goal - holiness - you might just be surprised how far you have grown.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Feeling Ignored

Being ignored - left out of the conversation - overlooked - does not make one feel very good. Poor Saint Joseph - his day a minor celebration - nothing compared to Saint Patrick's Day. In reality both men - very important figures - in Church history - in the world. Both very significant - in different ways - different times. Saint Joseph unfortunately overshadowed by Saint Mary. In a contested field of important persons - a second contender. Little is written about him - many assumptions - nothing of his death - accomplishments - except - he was the step-father of Jesus. Italians revere him - wear red - Saint Joseph's tables - food - family - fun - on a smaller scale compared to Saint Patrick.

God knows each of us - none of us are ignored - in His eyes we are all important. No need for a special day - color - event. Scripture tells us that he knows the count of the hairs on our heads - what we do - want to do. He knows our hearts - each and every one of us. That alone - far more important than being a household name. The only house we need be concerned with is God's house - sitting at His table - spending eternity with Him. These last days of Lent call us - to deepen our efforts - to make that last mile - our last steps - count. Jesus stands at the finish line - waiting - for each of us.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Saint Of The Day

Today is Saint Patrick's Day - the Saint of the Day - honored in today's liturgy at Holy Mass. Of course today - everybody is Irish - wears green - eats and drinks green food and drink - tries their best to speak with an Irish brogue. There are a lot of saints - not all are as popular as Saint Patrick - most daily Masses in the Catholic church - celebrate one saint or another. Many more saints - than most can count - are aware of. Saints are everyday people who - for the most part - lived ordinary lives - did out of the ordinary things. Everyone has a chance to become a saint - not necessarily recognized by the Church - people who live good lives - trying their best - commendable - for all the good they did while alive.

God calls all of us to sainthood - to holiness - to live honorable - upstanding lives - as role models for others. As we complete this fifth week of Lent - look forward to Holy Week - the Triduum - Easter - we ask ourselves - have we done enough - prayed enough prayers - attended enough extra services - made an effort to take unnecessary things out of our lives - put good things - ideas into our lives. We still have time for personal examination - evaluation of ourselves. Lent continues until Holy Thursday evening - one last week to make it happen. Jesus calls each of us to Himself - to be embraced in His arms - to feel His warmth - His presence - as you journey - to sainthood.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Doubting Thomas

I received an email from a friend named Tom recently - have not seen him in a few months since we are in Arizona escaping the Illinois winter. He use to ask me where I get my ideas for topics to blog about.- wondering if I used a service - versus original thoughts. If you knew me you would find that my mind - travels a very different path from most. Quite often I amaze myself at the titles and content - definitely a sign of God working in my mind. My friend reminds me of another - doubting Thomas - could not believe the stories he heard about Jesus - had to see for himself - poke his fingers in His sides - hands. Most of us are doubting Thomases - in one way or another - questioning - wondering - challenging - that which we do not fully understand - comprehend. It is perfectly alright to question - almost anything. 

Jesus faced Thomas - looked him in the eye - place your hand here and there - see and believe - blessed are those who believe and have not seen. I have not seen - nobody I know has seen - yet we are believers. Many - unable to accept the witnesses of others - question so much about God - Jesus - Holy Spirit - religion - faith. None of us has hard concrete evidence - we defend what we have not seen - have not heard - never touched - yet we believe. This Lent we pray - hope - struggle - question everything - we believe. It is not an easy task - time will tell - in the end we will know -  if we hold out - if we keep the faith - stop doubting.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

High Rollers

Recently we have been attending Sunday Mass at a small church on an Indian Reservation. The route that we take to the church - passes by a casino operated by the local tribe. On previous Sundays we always had a schedule to keep - this past Sunday - no prior commitments - so we stopped at the casino - a quick coffee and donuts after church. After breakfast we wandered around to see what they had to offer. A large amount of the space - dominated by slot machines - the majority - nickel - penny - slots. I thought it funny that people would sit - many for hours - on a machine that would potentially pay only pennies - the last of the gaming high rollers.
When a person commits to a personal relationship with Jesus - God - there are no questions - winner - loser. Everyone who makes the commitment - a winner. Jesus changes the way we look at life - the ups - downs - the positives - negatives. Making the decision to give your life to God - no crap shoot - always a winner. If you are still on the fence - not sure if making a change this Lent is for you - go ahead - pull the trigger - be a high roller - Jesus has a jackpot waiting for you.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Same Old Same Old

You know how it is - the best laid plans of mice and men - grand ideas - big expectations - shooting for the stars - the final winner. So often - too often - grand plans - fizzle - die a slow quick death - failure. We are now in the fifth week of Lent - so many hopes - yet unrealized - so many ideas - now a pale memory. Failure - rearing its ugly head - smack in ones face. Too often this is what happens to many - failure seemingly so permanent - a cruel joke on oneself. Yes - we are in the fifth week of Lent - the fact remains - Lent is not over. If your best laid plans have not born fruit - there is still time to cultivate - to generate - new interest - in yourself - your plans. It is never too late to start - even for the tenth or more time. The goal - still possible - the tunnel still visible.

God knows how difficult it is to change - to leave behind - start over - go in a new direction. For  this reason - He is more patient that we would ever hope Him to be - He waits - patiently - for weeks - months - years - if need be. The hardest thing to give up is - is giving up. The fear of starting over - again and again - unrealistic. If anything worth attaining - it is worth working for - over and over - until finally achieved. Lent is a time of changing direction - when one turn does not work out - you change direction - again and again - until you are finally on the correct path. Need help - ask Jesus - He will light the way.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Rocks In Our Pockets

In today's Gospel we heard of the woman caught in adultery - who was in the process of being stoned to death - until Jesus intervened.- told the crowd that whomever was without sin - should throw the first stone. Everyone dropped their stones - walked away - none without sin. In today's homily Father talked about all of us - who have rocks in our pockets - willing to judge - condemn others - even when we are guilty of perhaps the same sin. Gossip kills a lot more people - than stones - destroys reputations - creates distrust - animosity - often in error - often due to jealousy. In Psalm 8 - we are told - all have fallen short of the glory of God - you - me - all of us.

God understands us a lot more than we realize - knows our minds - hearts - sees what we do in darkness - hidden from view of others. Each and everyone of us is entitled - owed - respect - justice - for all our actions. If we have sinned - a just punishment is expected - anticipated. Jesus goes one step beyond justice - a gift - His Divine Mercy. As we search our souls this Lent - as we ask forgiveness for what we have done wrong - we know that we must do penance - pay the price - in a just punishment - trusting that Jesus - God - in HIs Divine Mercy will go beyond the anticipated - grant us the gift of His Mercy - complete forgiveness - healing - for a fresh start in life - life in His Holy Spirit. 

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Tub Time

Growing up in the mid-west most families we knew celebrated that honored tradition of - the Saturday night bath. Coming from a family of seven children - nine of us in total - the treasured hot bath - relegated to a once a week ritual - was an ordeal to endure when young. It never seemed to make sense why you had to bathe on Saturday night - when you washed almost every body part during the week. That as it may - once a week you took your bath - needed or not. The old joke - clean mind - clean body - take your pick - would never have flown in our house. We did as told - no talking back - squeaky clean for Sunday and church services. Dad always told us that we had to honor God with our best - that included our bodies and clothes. 

When God calls anyone to a closer relationship with Him - He calls - as you are - where you are. You do not have to bathe - no need for your best attire - just your acceptance of Him - His desire for you to be close to Him. Once you have drawn near - experience His awesome love - forgiveness - you will feel unclean - unworthy. It is then that you ask to be bathed in the waters of regeneration - in baptism. As Easter draws closer - the Elect - those preparing for reception into the Church - look forward - anticipate - the most special Saturday night bath they will ever receive - baptism in the font of newly blessed Holy Water - at the hands of their priest - in sight of the congregation - together as one family - celebrate Saturday night baths.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Fish Story

Almost everyone has spun a tale or two in which the details - not as accurate as should be - perhaps embellished - the truth stretched - a bit. The six foot fish caught in the ocean - in reality maybe 18 inches - off the end of the dock. Perhaps photo-shopped to extend the tale. Long tales often center around sporting feats - the number of guys or gals you have dated - the size of your boat - house - summer home - bank account. The deception - a lie of sorts - not meant to defraud - rather impress - family - friends - strangers. These fish stories - an attempt to boost ones self image - in the eyes of others.

God knows not only our minds and hearts - also what we have done - will do - are capable of. Only God sees our true potential - abilities - to succeed - fail. To Him - it does not matter - He could care less about the feats we have done - rather He looks at our hearts - who we love - will love - care for. He wants us to love Him first - foremost - above all else - to worship Him - serve Him - in the persons we live and work with. With God - no need to stretch the truth - He loves you just the way your are.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

You Can't Do That

One of the biggest killers of personal growth - you can't do that - prejudging a situation - ability. How many of us were stopped - dead in our tracks - by that comment. Learn to play a musical instrument - participate in some sport - travel to a distant land - join a special interest group - you can't do that. Most of the time the one judging if we were capable - themselves - unable to do what we intended. Often we are limited in our expectations - only because others were limited - held back. Not all of us have the same abilities - desires - expectations - hopes - dreams. This would be a boring world if we were all identical - did the same things - had the same limitations. The world needs dreamers - risk takers - those who push themselves beyond the ordinary. 

When God created humankind - we were given Free Will - the ability to accept - reject - ideas - thoughts - dreams - hopes. He created each of us to - be. Everyone has the ability to excel - in one way or another - to become more than we are - to reach for the stars. In our searching - reaching - attaining - we need to remember the One who gave us this ability - who created us with an inner potential - the possibility of becoming more. As we advance in thought - reason - expand our abilities - we need to first thank the One who is -  the Author of Life - Our God.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Two Too To

Two people too busy to make a difference - caught up in their own world- focusing on their own issues - self absorbed - in themselves. Not an unusual situation. Most couples - their first priority is themselves - their needs - wants - desires. It is normal - not the only option - choice - available to them. All of us at one time or another - share the same plight - serve ourselves - serve others. It is important that we see to our basic needs - to take care of our own mental - physical - spiritual - health - to make ourselves whole - to be better equipped to serve the needs of others. We need to feed ourselves with good wholesome foods and drink - exercise our bodies to keep our muscles toned and in good shape - to stimulate our minds - thoughts - to focus on the important things in life. Only then may we be empowered to reach out - to help those - too week to help themselves.

Jesus is the answer to all our questions - He is the goal we all seek - in one way or another - we know that at the core of our being - the presence of God - lives. It does not matter if we actively attend a church - worship services - if we refuse to acknowledge that we are - spiritual beings. "Our being is an instantaneous flash of light in the midst of eternal night." As living - thinking - rational - people we are blind if we refuse to acknowledge that each of us has a spiritual part of our lives. Just as we have a physical and intellectual - we have a spiritual - facet - a three fold - trinitarian existence. This Lent - seek that inner spirit - dig deep into your very self - see that the two parts - too easy to see - lead to the third hidden part - that makes you whole.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Faith Of Our Fathers

When discussing a person's faith life - not unusual for them to respond - that was my father's faith - I was raised that way - not necessarily what I believe now. I have heard this very comment from people from all faith backgrounds - Jewish - Christian - Muslim - Buddhist - Hindi - to name a few. What these people are saying is that it was perfectly fine for their parents to believe - worship - in one way or another - for them - no longer applicable. This is particularly noticeable in times of good employment - healthy economy. It is not until things fall apart - unemployment rears its ugly head - financial market hits a low - that people begin to show interest in their faith life. It is a common concern of many parents these days - concerned that their children who were brought up in a family with a very active faith life - no longer attend services - show no signs of belief in the spiritual life - credit their good fortune instead to knowledge - science - money - technology. All forget where the ability to create ideas came from - minds of ordinary people - blessed with extraordinary intellect. None of us created our own minds - although we may exercise and develop them - the ability to think - assess - evaluate - create - goes beyond the intellect we were born with. We have to acknowledge that we are not the creator - we did not design our bodies - minds - natural abilities - all credit goes to the One who created humankind in the first place. Recognizing this - why do so many fail to worship - practice any faith?
God is very patient with us - more patient than anyone of us would ever be. He knows our problems with acknowledging His presence - yet - He continues - to love and bless us in spite of ourselves. Leaving hints - clues - signs of wonder - awe - often fail to gather attention - still He persists. One day - one time - eyes will be opened - hearts will receive - His message. Until then - we of faith - keep on praying.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Long Distance

The term - long distance - to most people - refers to telephone calls - conversations - between two people - separated by very long distances. When I was a child - an important event - news - prompted the use - the expense - of long distance calls. There was always an extra expense involved - conversations kept to a minimum - to avoid the high expense of making such a call. Today long distance - included in most cellular phone packages - no longer carry any extra fees - expenses. Conversations may last minutes - to  hours. There is no hesitation in placing a long distance call - easy to keep in touch with family - friends.

Talking with God in prayer - even easier than making a long distance phone call. God is always available - ready in an instant - to receive your call - to listen - to converse with you. Unfortunately too many people feel that God is not available to them - unreachable - too busy to listen. The reality is that God waits - patiently - for all of us to call Him - to converse - to discuss - request - complain - share - whatever is on our heart and mind. Try calling Him today - His line is never busy.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

I Can See Clearly Now

I can see Clearly Now was an original song written and sung  by Johnny Nash in 1972 hitting the pop charts and becoming a number one best seller. It has stood the test of time - being sung by many singers since and re-done by Jimmy Cliff in 1993 and used in the soundtrack for Cool Runnings when it again reached #20 on the pop charts. It is about ones vision returning after a rain - vision restored - obstacles removed - enabling one to visually see clearly. Often in our lives issues - become clouded - confused by rhetoric - propaganda - lies - rumors. Many times the confusion - an honest error -not intended - not clearly explained. Other times - a direct attempt to misinform - confuse - lead away from the truth. In today's Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Lent - at the celebration of the Second Scrutiny - for the Elect - we heard about Jesus healing the man born blind - visually impaired - unable to see. His blindness - of natural causes - not a sin committed by either parent - a situation of circumstance. Those who are unable to see - blind - partially blind - no fault of their own. Those spiritually blind - another issue completely.

Jesus came to open our eyes - to His presence - His Father's presence - the reality of Their existence. He came to help us see - the reality of our spiritual life - into the very depths of our souls. He came to cure that blindness - to reveal to each of us - the potential each of us possesses - to live good wholesome lives - to treat each other with kindness - love - to prepare our mortal souls - for life in eternity with God. Jesus has revealed the truth - can you see clearly now - or - are you still blind?

Deacon Dale  

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The I Of God

Just what do I mean - The I Of God - what am I saying? There is the EYE of God - in this reference - the all seeing - all knowing - eye of our Creator - our Lord - our God. The One who knows everything - is all knowledgeable - all loving - all forgiving - all healing. When I refer to the I of God - that is me - myself - the one individual - who hopefully - in some small way - reflects this one small part of the community of believers - who makeup up the body of Christ - God. Each and every one of us - individuals - together - help form - give shape - give substance to the body of Christ - the God of the people. How I act - react - speak - say - reply - respond - to others - a reflection on the entire body of Christ. When I sin - do something wrong - make a decision to hurt - harm - another - I diminish - the body of Christ. My actions - reactions - speak for themselves. All of us - no one excluded - at times - will error - do something wrong - to diminish the dignity of  the entire body. As I watch - observe - the current political gymnastics - between opponents - it is apparent that none of them - respects the communal body of Christ. It does not matter if they are Jew - Greek - Christian - Protestant - Catholic - Atheist - Agnostic - religion aside - none of the political hopeful - shows any respect to their fellow opponents. A very sad commentary on the times.
We are half way through the season of Lent - when most people seek ways to avoid sin - rid themselves of pettiness - flaws in lifestyle - to be better than they are - to raise themselves up in the eyes of God. If any of us wishes to be seen - in a positive light - as being one with our Lord - we cannot allow ourselves to - do as they do - rather - we must go against the flow - avoid the temptation - to be sucked into the cesspool of the political world. We do not live in their world - nor would we want to. Respect for ourselves - for each other - in all situations - is the way to be - to live - to become - The I of God.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Game Day

If you are a Chicago Cubs baseball fan - this is the day you have been waiting for. The first game of spring training at Sloan Park. Today marks the first game at Sloan Park where Cubs fans from almost anywhere will gather to see what the Cubs team has lined up for their fans. There will be plenty of fans from Chicago in attendance today - as well as locals - all fans of the infamous Cubs. Many are snowbirds - here in Arizona for the winter - others like my cousins - here on vacation - in time to watch their beloved Cubbies. Win or lose - today will be a great day.

At some point in time most of us will see God - face to face - when our game day arrives - that day when we are taken from this earthly existence - to our heavenly one. When we come to that time in our life - when we are called by God - prepared or not - to join Him - we will celebrate with great joy - anticipation - of our eternal existence. There will be no more batting practice - no more leg stretches - no more running the bases - no time left for preparation. Ready or not - God will call us - to be with Him. One day - in the future - Jesus will tell us - it is game day.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Morning Ritual

Everyone has a morning ritual - even if they do not recognize - acknowledge one. Waking early - stretching - visiting the bathroom - shaving - showering - brushing hair - teeth - morning coffee - juice - toast - cereal - leaving early for work - school - church - the same routine day after day. Five days a week - many repeat over and over - the same ritual. The weekend - similar - most likely a different schedule - each weekend a repeat of the previous. Our prayer life often falls into a similar ritual - morning prayers - daytime - evening - bedtime - words spoken to God - often the same praises - words of gratitude - petition - repeated - over and over. We are people of habit - doing - speaking the same mantra - repeatedly - a ritual. 

When we talk to Jesus - God in prayer - we need to be active partners in this conversation of praise - thanksgiving - petition. God knows our hearts - minds - no need to constantly say the exact same words repeated in a dulling mantra. Variation of the words - praises - petitions - shows God we are actively engaged with Him. When you pray an Our Father - add your personal words - introduce other thoughts - in the conversation. There is nothing wrong with learned - memorized prayers - adding onto a prayer shows that you are actively thinking about the words you speak. Pray formula prayers slower - thinking about the words - what they mean - to God - to you - reflecting on what the impact is on your life - situation. In all prayers - make your ritual a non-ritual - break free - use your own words to speak to your Lord. He waits to hear from you - your morning ritual.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Cruise Control

Cruise control - sometimes known as speed control or auto cruise - is a system that automatically controls the speed of a motor vehicle. The system is a servomechanism that takes over the throttle of the car to maintain a steady speed as set by the driver. On most modern cars one simply activates the cruise switch - selects the speed to cruise - drive at - then sits back with foot off the accelerator - allows the vehicle to continue on at a steady speed. As long as the driver pays attention to the road condition - traffic changes - other vehicles - a safe system to use. On very long road trips - alleviates legs discomfort - driver fatigue. There is a risk - monotony - boredom - falling into a trance like state - when accidents may occur. Even when using cruise control - driver must be aware constantly - where they are going.

Many people who have made a commitment to God - to Jesus - have unfortunately placed their relationship on cruise control. Prayers spoken as in a trance - words voiced - without real meaning - blindly repeating prayer after prayer - no active thought involved - are in danger of an eventual spiritual collision - with themselves - with God. When developing a prayer life - a relationship with Jesus - it must always be an active - conscious effort. To keep your relationship fresh - openness to God and the many faces of the Divine must be investigated. Cruise control on a vehicle is fine when actively monitored - the same goes for your prayer life.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Walk - Run - Walk

My wife and I enjoy hiking - casual treks through the desert - walking up and down mountains - navigating various trails - through the sides of mountains - over river beds. It took awhile - eventually we found a pace that was comfortable for both of us. On occasion we hike with others - hiking groups here in Arizona - friends - family - who come for visits. We prefer a slower pace - partially because we are older - mainly because we have learned not to rush - to enjoy the view as we walk. When we walk with others we find that often we have to push - walk faster - to catch up - stay with the group. What starts out slowly gains momentum - the need to push faster - to catch up - to start walking again - over and over - depending on the terrain.
When a person first starts walking with God - hand in hand with Jesus - it may feel like a race - many things happening all at once - new experiences - new feelings - excitement - exhilaration - then the slump - the normal - much slower. For some - times when they do not feel God's presence - absence of the Divine - abandonment - all alone. Those who are mature in their faith have learned that life has a pattern of up - downs - highs - lows. Our spiritual life mimics the daily life - fluctuations in activity - intensity. Through all of it God is always present - even when we do not sense Him - He is there. In the quiet moments - it is then when we are called to slow down - to relax - to listen.

Deacon Dale