Sunday, January 29, 2017

Blessed Are They

There are a lot of different ideas today - what is a blessing - what is not. One person will speak of wealth as a blessing - another of his popularity - yet another - his position in society - sitting as the chairperson of a large corporation. Some will claim blessings in a team win - a good golf score - an awesome dance performance. Still others - their appearance - good looks - beautiful hair - clear complexion. In reality - everyone - the recipient of a multitude of blessings.  Blessing may be worldly - down to earth - commonplace - spiritual - other worldly - divine. 

For God so loved the world - not as an object - spinning throughout the cosmos - rather -those who populated this planet - the men - women- children - that He gave His only Son to the world. He came in an extraordinary way to ordinary people - like you and I - to people of ordinary means - with ordinary lives - blessed by God in very extraordinary way. God's blessings - flow freely - like rain from the sky - upon all - who believe in Him - in all - who call Him Father - to all - who accept His Son - as the Christ. To each - blessed are they - who believe - not only in Him - the Author of Life - but in His promises. Your blessings whether worldly - spiritual - divine - a gift from the One who loves you.

Deacon Dale  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Going With The Flow

Going with the flow - according to the Cambridge Dictionary - to do what other people are doing - to agree with the opinions of others - only because it is - the easiest - takes less energy - do not have to think for yourself. There are occasions when following the group makes sense - going to the movies together - gathering at the same restaurant for dinner - worshiping at the same church - temple - makes complete sense - for group functions. Thinking for yourself - doing something different - not blindly following others decisions - a better way - when individuality makes more sense - selecting a long distance road bike - purchasing a set of golf clubs - attending a different college - university - studying different topics - voting in an election.  There are many times - reasons - to be an individual - to go against the flow - to swim upstream - go against common wisdom. If everybody did exactly the same thing - thought the same thoughts - ate the same food - cooked the same way - wore  the same clothes - drove the same vehicle - we would be robots - moving and acting - like machines. Those who dare go against the flow - the thinkers - doers - explorers - inventors - creators - making life more interesting - valuable. A priest I heard today exclaimed that we all need to go against the flow - as Christians live lives counter cultural - acting - thinking for ourselves.  The only ones allowed to go with the flow - dead fish.

In a way it's a funny analogy - being Catholic - known fish eaters - to be warned not to be dead fish - to swim upstream - to  live lives more fully - complete. God placed mankind on this Earth for a reason - your reason different than mine - common goals - equality - peace - acceptance - tolerance - safety - nurtured - fed - the good things of life.  There are those who would attempt to take this away from us - naysayers - bigots - motivated by chaos - evil - self. Today to be an honest Christian one must - swim on their own - do it their way - the way led by the true leader - Jesus the Christ. He calls each of us - to be alive with our faith - to share with all - the One God of all.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Winners and Losers

In every competition - there will be a winner and a loser - the entire purpose of the competition - otherwise an exercise of futility. If no winner or loser was anticipated - why hold the competition?  Everyone expects to win - no one to lose - reality check - one will succeed - one will not. The saying - better to run the race and lose - than not to have run at all - gives no solace to the loser. Unhappy - disappointed - angry - hurt - justified emotions - to be expected. Gloating - boasting - overly boisterous - unbecoming any winner. The true test in any competition - how those who participated - handled - success - loss. It is only after the contest had ended - true winners are revealed.

Luckily for us - we are all winners - in the contest of life - when choosing Jesus as your running mate. There will be falls - bumps - along the course of life. In the end - all win - not necessarily to the same degree - not gathering up the same accolades - each in their own individual way - a winner.  When you come to the end of your race - you are a winner - as long as Jesus is with you. Run the race alone - without God - you end up alone - run the race with Jesus - never a lonely moment. We all run the race of life - who you choose to run with - your choice.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, January 13, 2017

You Can't Follow Jesus

As Pope Francis recently preached - you can't follow Jesus - if you are standing still. This is true in every sense - unless you are willing to - move - mind - heart - feet - you cannot follow anything. Great ideas come and go - all the time - making a decision to act - another issue. How often have we come upon a new concept - idea - suggestion - we think we would like to try - engage in - only to fail so poorly - because we never started. When we discover these pearls - we have to move beyond discovery - explore - investigate - make the decision - engage. New job opportunity - better hours - more pay - potential future advancement - laying at our fingertips - fail - never move - made a commitment. All of us - guilty - failing to take that first step.

Jesus knows us so well - never angry - often disappointed - because we did not act. So often He lays opportunities at our feet - opens doors - removes obstacles - levels the rough road - clears the path - only to have us - do nothing. Time and again - He repeats His efforts. Time and again - we stall - stuck in the same time and space. Thankfully He is much more patient than we are ourselves. His offers - always there - waiting for us - to act. Every day is a new opportunity - another chance to follow Him - into a new - deeper relationship. Every day He invites us to follow Him - to move from loneliness - pain - suffering - despair - to a new life in Him - to wholeness - comfort - joy - hope. Jesus' footprints do not have to be the only ones in the sand - yours can be there alongside Him - following Him to a better place. Take the first step - the rest will be easy.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Passing The Torch

Passing the torch - a metaphoric expression - alludes to an ancient Greek race in which a burning torch was passed from one runner to another - viewed at opening ceremonies for the Olympic games. Today - a change of duty - passing on responsibilities from one individual to another - receiving a promotion at work - retirement - leaving someone else in charge. A rite of passage - for some - leaving one set of duties behind to accept new obligations. In a few days this ritual will be observed as our current President leaves office and the new President-elect takes over. In the process the winds of change will fan the flames of that particular torch - how it will affect the United States - yet to be seen - too many self proclaimed prophets - confusing this ritual. This particular ritual - occurring every four or eight years - always generates a lot of interest - quite often an unwarranted amount of misdirection - a game played in particular by politicians.
When Jesus said He had a fire to ignite on the Earth - He did not mean He would be passing any torches. Rather His fire - the flame of His love - for each of us. He wanted people to come alive for God - to share their faith - to deepen their relationship with Him and His Father. He wanted people to make a firm commitment to accept Him as Lord of their lives - to follow God's commandments - to love one another - as God loves them. Once committed to Jesus and His Father the light of  that relationship would be visible to all - the flame of God's love would shine throughout their very souls. Jesus calls each of us - today - to accept His love freely and completely - to let it fill our hearts with warmth - light - to grow in us - that we may - pass the torch - to all we meet.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Sunshine Superman

You have to be older - to even know what Sunshine Superman - was. In the mid 1960's - July 1966 - a number one hit on the American music charts - sung by Donovan - a Scottish singer-songwriter. Basically a love song - trying to convince the focus of his attention on his qualities - "Superman and Green Lantern ain't got nothing on me" - a classic line in the song. Love songs such as this are what made music of the 60's so great. Walking down memory lane - a fun journey - with the right people. Most younger adults have no idea what they missed - not living then. Life was simpler - still complicated - education - jobs - family - drugs - sexual revolution - the draft - Vietnam - marriage - religion. Back then - through everything - most people still had faith - attended church - professed belief in God. Today - much the same - except the latter point. Church no longer relevant - an idea whose time has come and gone - now it is all about self - personalized - lonely - disbelief.

Through the ages God has always been there - for all of us - even when we fail to acknowledge Him. Throughout the ages - His people either pay attention to Him or ignore Him - the Gift of Free Will. God will not - does not - force our attention on Him. When the time is right - everyone eventually makes a conscious decision to acknowledge the Author of Life. As we strive to honor New Years Resolutions - failing time and again - another promise fallen by the wayside - God waits - patiently - Jesus standing next to you - holding Your heart in His hands - with Love.

Deacon Dale

Sunday, January 8, 2017

An Epiphany

So this Sunday we celebrated the Epiphany - the revelation of Christ to the Magi - in modern days - to those who know nothing about Jesus. My personal epiphany - I missed saying Happy New Years to all my readers. Sorry - not justified - been very busy since the end of the year traveling from the cold Illinois winter wonderland to warm sunny Arizona. Most moves not always to plan - of course - neither were ours.  However - in just 10 days - we are here - and have accomplished quite a bit.  Now back to blogging - praying more intently - seeking God's will for us while we are here. You know that being avid Cubs fans - our first priority - securing some tickets to the Cubs spring training games.  That accomplished - we are set for four games - we turn our attention to other less important projects. The yard here all spruced up - yes even gravel needs some care - small projects around the house almost all done.  The bigger issue - my leg and difficulty walking - hiking - biking.  It has been a very slow process - not happy with the outcome so far - but in His time - not mine.  I am now on my seventh doctor and third round of physical therapy.  If the exercises don't kill me - I think I will get a handle on what is happening with my body - and they call these the Golden Years.

You know the saying - into every life a little rain must fall - and fall it has.  With Jesus holding an umbrella over my head - it is tolerable - one day the rain will stop.  For most of us - we know what that is like - things go pretty well - then a bump in the road - a diversion - a hiccup in our plans.  Being faithful to God - being faithful to yourself - goes a very long way. As long as we have life in our bodies - as long as we have air in our lungs - the battle with life continues. All we need is a positive attitude - trust in God - willingness to hang in there - no matter how long it takes.  With God - all things are possible.  May each of you have a Blessed and Healthy New Year.  May 2017 - be your year!

Deacon Dale