Wednesday, February 28, 2018

I Have No Idea

Yes - you heard it - I have no idea - a comment made so often it almost deserves an acronym - IHNI - but how to pronounce.  There is noting wrong when somebody says - I have no idea - just catching them at an odd moment when they cannot focus on the question - asked about something of which they have no knowledge.  If asked - almost everyone would admit to making that comment.  Who - me - what - where - when - why - clueless - in that specific moment.  Lenten devotions sort of fall into that category - pray what - read whom - go where.  
God has to have a good laugh at the things that we worry about - things of no consequence - when much more serious matters are at hand.  Gun control - second amendment - rights versus privilege - good versus evil - heaven versus hell.  The later are the questions  that we should focus on - where are we going - when will we get there - what is our final destination - all good things to contemplate - especially this Lent.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Failure To Thrive

Failure to thrive - in very simple terms means that someone - something - is not growing as expected.  This term is used frequently with newborn babies - in particular those born premature - very much underweight - frail - fragile - unable to feed on their own.  Usually an I.V. line is placed so the infant will receive adequate nutrition.  Without the proper nutrients - all living things will die.  Babies - not the only persons who are at risk - also - teens - adults - seniors.  When food and water are withheld - the body suffers.  The same goes for those intangible things that help lives grow - faith - and especially love.  When love is removed from  the daily diet - persons feel lost with no purpose in life - become confused - worry invades their lives - emotions run wild - feelings of abandonment surface - a sense of hopelessness enters their lives. This obligation to nurture falls on everyone - primarily - parents - children - spouse.  Parents nurture children when young - children nurture parents in old age - spouses nurture each other throughout their entire relationship. When anyone fails to meet their obligation to nurture those to whom they are obligated - relationships fail - one or many - will become - physically - emotionally - starved. 

God sends His love to each of us daily - for our personal well being - for the well being of others.  His love is not for our benefit alone - He expects us to share - give His love away to others - a gift to be re-gifted - time and time again - not only when we feel like it - rather constantly.  If we want to be nurtured by God - then we have to give His love away - otherwise His love to us - will dry up - stop.  In Lent we focus on God's awesome love - His gift of His Son - His Son's gift to us - on the Cross. 

Deacon Dale 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Dilly Dilly...

The Budweiser people came up with an infectious mantra for their recent advertising campaign - the key words - Dilly Dilly.  The ads were silly - made people laugh - encouraged copycats - even our pastor got the bug - an avid Eagles fan - Philly Philly.  Finally something funny - with good taste - getting people to smile - laugh - together.  In Lent many people do not find much to laugh about - somber faces - ashes - penance - guilt - sorrow - not the joy one would expect from people being cleansed of their sins - being brought closer to God - finding new life - new ways to live good and holy lives.

The Church never intended the season of Lent to be a burden - beating people up - causing anguish.  Lent is probably the most misunderstood season in the Christian calendar.  A season of deep spiritual reflection - looking into our very souls - finding things that should be eliminated - removed from our lives - seeking ways to help us grow in holiness. In Lent - God - Jesus - stand by waiting to help - encourage - heal - forgive - reconcile.  One has only to ask and  they will be  there at your beck and call. Dilly Dilly 

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

No One Alone

It came to me during morning Mass today - as Father Anthony delivered a very impassioned homily - begging parents to become - parents - to live up to their call as - Christians - to put down the electronic instruments of distraction - to connect to their children - to more closely monitor their children's use of technology.  He likewise begged children - to drastically decrease their - screen time - time spent on their phones - computers - televisions - to discover the real world surrounding them.   His plea - for families to become families again - without technology - to eat meals together - without the distraction of - devices - to gather outside - without devices - to engage - fresh air - outside activities - each other. His plea - the result of the Florida shootings - aim to put the blame exactly where it truly belongs - as I said a few days ago in my post - WE THE PEOPLE - have caused this.  We have been lured - lulled - into a group of lazy - technologically drugged individuals - mesmerized - by the capability of what is possible to do that was not available just a few short years ago. Technology - designed to help - promote - better lives - new advances - enhanced education - has been hijacked by Satan who has turned electronic devices into - addictive drugs - to dull our senses - to tear us away from each other - from the real world - lured by the promise of a virtual world - inhabited by - 1143 friends - who we have no idea who they are.  WE THE PEOPLE - guilty as charged - have left people who are hurting - alone - abandoned - turned our back on those - most in need of our attention - begging for attention - love.  My new mantra - NO ONE ALONE - no reason for anyone - young or old - to feel alone - unloved - abandoned.  WE THE PEOPLE - need to immediately notice those on the sideline - left out of the game - pushed into corners - alone in darkened places - as if they have no value - no worth.  Beginning now - I urge everyone to make it a point to notice the misfits - the troubled - the lonely - to engage them - to help them to feel that they are not alone.  Each one reach one - the world will start looking better in no time.

God created us to be men - women - family - community - to live - love - laugh - together - looking after each other.  In today's Gospel - Jesus - transformed before His disciples - revealing His glorified body - showed His disciples His true nature.  This Lent - allow yourself to be transformed - not physically - rather spiritually - to connect yourself - to others - those also struggling with life.  Your Lent will be the better for it.  Jesus - always with us - always there to offer a hand up - leaving NO ONE ALONE.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Going For Gold

For the last two weeks many eyes focused on the 2018 Olympics - the games - the athletes - the results. Going for gold - the focus - settling for silver - bronze - the reality for many.  The majority competing - going home empty handed - not losers - by any standard - a winner without a medal.  Just being good enough to be able to participate in the winter games - an awesome achievement - being rewarded with a medal - the frosting on the cake.  In Lent - too many people approach this season - as if it were a competition - something to be beat - mountains to climb - adversaries lurking at every corner - turn - along the path. The Lenten experience is a journey - traveled at one's own speed - a path walked alone - even when in a group. The prize at the end of the journey - holiness.

We are all gold - in God's eyes - everyone a winner - nobody a loser.  No matter what we do during the 40 days of Lent - no matter how many - how few efforts we accomplish - all of us will be gold in the eyes of God.  It is not quantity - how good - bad - it is the fact that we entered the season - trying - seeking something - to grow in holiness.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Guns and God....

This Lent our focus has been drawn away from - for some - closer to - for others - to God - why He allows violence to exist - in particular - surrounding  the recent school shooting that claimed the lives of 17 people - adults - students - all children of God. Many question - why God sits blindly by - allowing these tragedies to continue.  The real question - what is the matter with us - the people of these United States - that all of us - children and adults - sit on the side - allowing these incidents.  What is the matter with us - why have we become numb to  the realities of not only school violence - but violence in general.  Why do we make it a political issue - when it really is a moral issue - an issue of social concern for our fellow persons.  Satan has entered our lives to the point that he has us fighting among ourselves about weapons - of war - hunting - recreational shooting - when the  real issue is the individuals who commit these acts of violence against God's children.  Just as we cry and mourn the loss of innocent lives - so does God.  Every time something bad happens against anyone - God is displeased.  His failure to act - in reality our failure to act.  One of the great gifts to mankind - the gift of free will - freedom to acknowledge the existence of God - freedom to turn our eyes away - ignore Him - His commandments.  It is that same freedom of will that allows one individual to scheme - plan - commit - these violent acts - against others. The true issue here is not guns- gun rights - gun laws - age limits - it is all about being present to each other.  From what I understand - none of the individuals involved in any of the recent mass shootings - schools - LasVegas - were known criminals.  Criminals use guns to steal - rob - murder individuals.  Criminals do not plan mass killings - spree shooting - as a norm.  Thus - criminal background checks are useless when deciding who may - may not own a gun.  The recent mass shootings have been committed by ordinary people - people carrying some emotional burden - feeling unloved - alone - outcasts of society.  Most appeared normal - maybe some quirky - but none deemed a danger to society.  Every time you view an interview with those who knew the perpetrator - you hear that they appeared - normal - quiet - alone - not someone you would ever think could commit a violent act - yet - they do.  In retrospect - often they were bullied - ignored - often unloved - abandoned.  So I ask - who do you ignore - who do you know that is bullied - who is unloved - made to feel less than a human - when have you failed to stop - engage a fellow human - youth - adult - in a friendly conversation.  When have you ridiculed that person on the corner asking for help - rather than stopping and listening to their needs. When have you spent that extra $100 on a sporting event - personal comfort item - when the family next door was going hungry.  In reality - WE - THE PEOPLE - have created these individuals - by our lack of concern - for our fellow human - not considering their color - religion - ethnic background - educational - social level - WE - THE PEOPLE - are guilty.  This is not a political issue - it is a social issue and everyone of us needs to change the way we think - act - toward others - if we ever want to see this ended. 

God created us - man and woman - He created US - When He was done He looked upon all He had created - and He saw GOOD. God is not the issue - Guns are not the issue - the hearts and minds of each of us - is the issue.  This Lent - as you seek inner change - as you seek to grow in holiness - seek also how you may be a better steward of the people God has placed into your lives.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, February 22, 2018


What are you afraid of - what scares you - terrifies you.  In America it seems that people in general are afraid of almost everything.  Relationships - strangers - activities - you name it - somebody is afraid of it.  Scared to drive in traffic - big cities - highways - scared to meet people who are different from them - scared to travel to unknown places - countries - scared to try - eat new foods - scared to do new things - work - sports - attend events.  It is amazing that anyone wanders outside their homes.  Somewhere we became a nation of fear.  We buy insurance for almost everything - we are even so fearful we pay for extended warranties on items that will be worn out before they ever fail.  We also fear God - His judgment - His final say on our eternal life.  In Lent many fear the entire concept of 40 days of being scared - scared they will do Lent wrong - not complete their spiritual exercises - not do them long enough - good enough - to please God.

God is not the God of fear - just the opposite - God is the God of peace - comfort.  Satan is the one who creates - spreads fear.  In an effort to turn our eyes away from God and the peace that He brings - Satan creates chaos - events that instill fear in the hearts of many. The recent shootings in Florida were the work of Satan - in the aftermath - out of chaos - God will bring healing - peace.  In Lent we are asked to give up our fears - to seek the peace - comfort of Christ.  It is there - Jesus is there - waiting for you to discover - Him .

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Your Jesus Scorecard

As contemporary people we love to keep score - how well our team does - tracking individual player's statistics - monitoring our children's grades - achievements - tracking government officials - their records on social actions - reforms - results.  Statistics flow around us like water flowing in a river.  The issue with statistics - numbers - they can be manipulated - made to say almost anything you wish.  You have heard the phrase - figures lie - liars figure - not necessarily for the benefit of everyone - usually the opposite. In Lent many are caught up in their spiritual scorecards - how many prayers they pray - how often they go to confession - the number of religious book they read - prayer cards they possess - quantity of rosaries in their pockets - purses - the number of Rosary - Divine Mercy chaplets - prayed. All in an effort to prove to themselves - others - how well they did - Lent. 

Truth be told - God - Jesus - not a bookkeeper - with them numbers - do not matter.  All they want is our heart - our love - our commitment - to the Gospel message of Jesus. This Lent toss the scorecard and focus on what really matters - your firm commitment to Jesus - Our Lord and Savior.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Wrestling With God

The idea of wrestling with God - to most a crazy idea - an impossible task.  Yet that is basically what Jacob did all night long - Genesis 32:22-32 - Abraham also wrestled with God when he kept begging Him - "but Lord what if there are only 50 - 40 - 10" - Genesis 18: 22-33 - Job likewise also had the strength to have his wrestling match with God - Job 13:3.  Throughout the history of man's relationship with God - wrestling matches have occurred.  Many view God as some kind of mean tyrant - in the Hebrew Scriptures - turning Lot's wife into a pillar of salt - deemed unreasonable by a loving God - more fitting to One that is mean - angry.  One has to understand the context of Holy Scripture to fully understand what was happening.  The reality - God has always been a loving God - looking out for the best of all mankind.  In Lent - many will likewise wrestle with God - how they understand Him - His commandments - desires - requests - many which on the surface seem unreasonable. Through this 40 day period - plenty of time to dig deeper - to come to understand the truth of what God wants for each of us - as a group - as individuals. 

When God created the world and all that populated the Earth - He looked back and saw goodness - everywhere.  Then mankind began to exercise the gift of free will - straying away from God's plan - creating their own plan.  This moving away - originally a communal action - now very individual.  Today we understand that we are responsible for ourselves - alone - and how we act - react - affects our relationship with God - eventually a ripple effect on the community.  This Lent - grab your sweat towel and water bottle - sturdy yourself - engage God fully - wrestling with Him - if you must - to achieve for yourself - for the community - all that God has planned for you.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, February 19, 2018


Exercise is good for the body - keeping moving parts moving - active - a body in motion gathers no dust - lasts longer - in general - than one constantly at rest. We recently had a chance to talk with a personal trainer - a lady who has spent the last 30 years as a physical therapist - personal trainer.  One observation - the methods - techniques - have evolved over the years - new research revealing many old ways were not the best - replaced today with better - more effective exercise - routines.  The same goes with spiritual exercises - with time - all  things change - usually for the better.  New devotions discovered - learned - taught to others - bringing God closer to many - making God more accessible to all.  Anything that makes God more accessible - definitely worth sharing with others.  As more are exposed to these - more given the opportunity to grow in  their personal relationship with  the Lord.

Throughout history God has been revealing Himself to the peoples of this world.  In nature - culture - music - art - He has inspired many who have influenced how and when we experience His presence.  As we begin our own spiritual exercises this Lent we need to be open when others share new and different ways of coming close to Him - to His Son - Jesus. In the case of spiritual exercise - they are all good - leading all towards God.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

First Sunday of Lent

The First Sunday of Lent - Today we heard the Gospel story of Jesus in the desert - being tempted by the devil - at the end of 40 days - very hungry. As we enter into the 40 days of our Lenten journey we can all relate to the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert. We can also relate to being tempted by the devil - an occurrence which happens more often than any of us would like to admit - unlike Jesus - failing poorly in many attempts to avoid sin. In fact - if we would admit it - each of us could be considered an almost professional at sinning.  Very few of us have the strength - ability - stamina - to avoid sin. Most of our sins are minor - most very likely will not keep us out of heaven - still we sin more often than we realize - will ever admit.  Like Jesus - we are a hungry people - unfortunately what we hunger for - not always food. We hunger for fame - compliments - thank yous for every little thing we do - constant acknowledgement of acts of kindness which we perform. We hunger for acceptance - recognition - praise. We hunger for attention - love.  In these 40 days of Lent we will pray - fast - give alms.  We will pray for strength to avoid sin - temptation - we will fast from attention seeking - recognition - we will offer alms of self - giving coins from our personal treasury of our talents - gifts - abilities. In 40 days we pray that our hunger will be satisfied - with God's love.

God is pleased with every effort we make to improve ourselves during Lent - making not only our own lives better - also improving life for those around us. The opportunities are so numerous - like Abraham - you can count them as stars in the skies. This Lent - look out - look up - to the possibilities that are displayed before your eyes.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Mind Your Head..

Most often you will hear the warning - watch your head - or - caution low ceiling. The one I find most interesting is the sign I saw both in England and Italy - mind your head. As we prepare for tomorrow - the First Sunday of Lent - I think this warning is more than appropriate - Mind Your Head.  In other words before one can change their heart - their actions - reactions - one must first - mind their head - alter the thought process - be willing to experience change - to be willing to make a commitment to improve one's life. Lent is all about change - evaluating one's life - making note of what needs improvement - especially spiritually - then following through - implementing those changes. All of  this is a process that does not happen overnight - which explain why Lent is 40 days long

Our God is such a loving - forgiving God - He gives each of us all the time that we need to make changes - improvements.  Even when we do something that is not good for us or the community - no demands - rather gentle suggestions - hints that change is needed.  In this season of Lent - the Church also understands that most of us need time - besides change - to make those changes happen. As the saying goes - Rome was not built in a day - neither will any serious change happen in our life.  Keeping our focus on God - Jesus - the Holy Spirit - all that we need - to achieve our Lenten goal.  

See you at the finish line
Deacon Dale  

Friday, February 16, 2018

Remember You Are Dust......

On Ash Wednesday that is exactly what many of us heard - remember you are dust and to dust you will return. Not exactly an inspiring statement - or is it.  What are they trying to tell us.  Is life that short that we are insignificant - nothing more than a dust particle in the eye of God.  I think not - I find it very difficult to think that God would create us - each of us - with out considering what we would become - who we would grow into - the potential in each of us.  It reminds me of the story about the man at a funeral who asked what the dash between the date of birth and date of death meant. Was that dash merely a place holder - a character used only to separate dates from each other.  As the story goes - that dash represents the story of our lives - what happened in between the date of our birth and death. That dash represents our birth into this world - into a family where we grew and were loved and educated - where we finished our education - found a spouse - for many - and started our own families - where we created a career - a career in which we made the world better for everyone - a time when we played sports - socialized with family - friends - where we did many marvelous - outstanding things - before our death. That dash is a badge of honor - that gives value to our lives - before we returned to the dust from which we sprang.

In God's eye - each one of us is as precious as gold - a feather in His cap - someone to be proud of - to be loved by Him without reservation. In Lent we pray and reflect on how much God loves us - why He sent His Son to die for us - on a cross - hung out to die like some common thief.  We ponder His awesome love - wonder if we are really worth it - then when we realize it - cry like a baby - asking forgiveness - for the times when we allowed ourselves to be less than He created us to be. In Lent - we search - seek - to find the lost person inside us - to renew the gift given freely by God - to become more - better than we are now.

Deacon Dale  

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Playing Hooky

Yes I have been playing hooky - being absent from these pages for some time now. The month of January completely escaped me with everything going on in the family - coping with my own recovery from surgery and spending time with our oldest son's own surgery - coupled with making arrangements for our annual winter sabbatical into the desert.  Now the time has come to return to blogging and for Lent - this year - I will attempt to post some thought daily - as a reminder to myself that it is now Lent and time for me to work on improving myself. Yes - like many - I have things that definitely can stand improving.  Others have politely reminded me that I am not perfect and improvement would be good. To this end - I apologize - with prayer - the grace of God - I will be better by the end of Lent.

Nobody is perfect - everyone can use some improvement in their life. We are human and given to bouts of laziness - so no better time to implement change than now.  Forty days to work on whatever is needed. Today is the time to start - see you at the finish line.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Lent-entines

Yes today we not only celebrate Valentines Day - also the First Day of Lent. As we woke this morning the day began with the exchange of Valentines cards and hugs - kisses.  The day progressed through the normal daily routine until late afternoon and evening Mass - reception of ashes - gently imposed on our foreheads.  As the evening winds down - another pleasant Valentines and beginning of Lent.  Valentines - one day - Lent - many more.

During the next 40 days we will pray - fast - give alms - all in an effort to achieve - holiness. Some will find this time easy - others a major struggle. There is no right way - wrong way to observe Lent - as long as you do more than nothing. It is your Lent - enjoy this time of grace - you deserve it.

Deacon Dale