Sunday, May 22, 2022

And In The Meantime.......

 Well it has been almost a month since my last post.  In that time we returned to Illinois - went to The Netherlands - back to Illinois - now back to our routine of mowing the lawn - living life in Illinois.  To say the least - it has been busy - very rewarding - looking forward to summer.  A quick recap on the traveling - no issues to cope with - some minor delays - being patient a big help.  Doing a Covid test to return to the States - very easy - negative results - no surprise.  The Netherlands was a pleasant distraction from all the crazy things going on back home in the States - good food - friendly people - an easy place to navigate.  We celebrated Mothers Day while there with a wine and cheese canal cruise in Amsterdam with a bunch of friendly tourists from all over the world.  If you have considered visiting The Netherlands - we definitely recommend - would return if the opportunity presents itself.

Keukenhof Botanical Gardens   Lisse, Netherlands

As Easter Season is rapidly coming to an end we count our blessings - the gift of life - the gift of love - family - friends - new opportunities - exciting challenges ahead. Walking though this life - with Jesus at our side - outstanding.  The thousands of tulips we saw at the Keukenhof gardens definitely made us stop - think - how beautiful life may be - if only we focus on the beauty that life offers us - rather than focusing on sad - unhappy things - events.  God is good - He calls each of us to receive the blessings He freely sends to us - every day of our lives.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Divine Mercy Comes and Goes

In February of 2000 in Chicago, IL - the Pastor of the Parish of St. Stanislaus Kostka - Father Anthony Bus - was interested in building a perpetual adoration chapel dedicated to the Divine Mercy.  He called Mr. Oscar Delgado his parishioner - who was very devoted to propagating the message and the devotion to the Divine Mercy - to help him in this project. Mr. Delgado had been involved in the establishment of a few adoration chapels and he agreed to meet to help to achieve this project.  This Parish is located right next to the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago. Hundreds of thousands of cars pass by every day, right next to the Parish. Mr. Delgado looked and said to Father Anthony - “By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I would like to commission a very large statue of the Divine Mercy and put it next to the Parish - so that millions and millions of people will see the statue of the Divine Mercy.”  So he called a famous Mexican sculptor - Gogy Farias - to make the statue of the Divine Mercy. It was made in Mexico City, Mexico in bronze - weighing 2 tons. It is 16 feet tall. He had the statue sent to Puebla, Mexico - so that it could be blessed on May 18th, 2000 in that city - because that was the site of the first foreign trip made by Pope John Paul II. It was blessed on May 18th - Pope John Paul’s birthday - by a special delegate from the Vatican. It was then transported to Chicago and it arrived on the feast of Corpus Christi in Chicago in June of 2000 - during the Great Jubilee Year.  It travelled to different parishes around Chicago and Illinois for three years. However, for various reasons, the statue was not to be permanently placed in Chicago.  On September 8th of 2003, Mr. Delgado gave the statue to our Blessed Mother - on her birthday and he put her in charge of where she wanted the statue of her Son to go.  At this time - during the International Congress of the Marian Fathers on the Divine Mercy in Poland - two Fathers said that the best place for the statue would be in Kibeho in Rwanda - where they were founding a Marian Formation Center. They proposed putting the statue of Jesus on a hill - about a mile from the Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho.  They consulted with Mr. Delgado and  after he prayed about it - he agreed to send the statue of Jesus to Rwanda - forever. It came to the country of a Thousand Hills in the month of August,  2004 and it was installed in Kibeho, on the hill of Nyarushishi - on November 13, 2004. The official enthronement was celebrated on December 8, 2004 - the closing of the Jubilee of the 150th Anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.  A few weeks prior to shipping that statue to Rawanda - Arlene Metcalfe - who was Head of the Worship Commission at St. Patrick Parish in Yorkville, IL at that time - made a phone call to the Chicago parish and was able to arrange for the statue to be brought to St. Patrick parish although public viewing had been stopped - where it sat on display outside the church for one week.  The local newspaper - the Beacon News - promoted this event by stating on the front page of their newspaper - Divine Mercy Comes to Yorkville.  That headline brought thousands of visitors to the parish for the week it was on display.  The simple act - attracted much attention to the parish - as well as introducing Divine Mercy to thousands.  St. Patrick Parish is staffed by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception - promoting the Divine Mercy devotions is one of their primary ministries.  
Jesus I Trust In You

On April 30, 2000 Pope John Paul II canonized St. Faustina Kowalska and that same day instituted the Second Sunday of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.  St. Faustina - in her diary - had written exclusively of Jesus' Divine Mercy. Her diary records over - over again how God's Divine Mercy is available to all - the littlest to the greatest - the most sinful to the holiest. In everyone's life God has revealed His awesome Divine Mercy.  Parishioners at St. Patrick very willing share the fact that they are a Divine Mercy Parish - hundreds have shared how they have personally experienced God's Divine Mercy.  Jesus promised to all - where two or more are gathered - He will be in their midst - listening - healing - offering His Divine Mercy.  At St. Patrick - the gift of Divine Mercy - experienced - freely shared with all.  In HIs Name what comes around goes around - no limits to His Divine Mercy.
Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Eggs-spectations

The Easter eggs are all gone - decorations put away - time to move on.  Today we do our best to make this an excellent day - today - always a good day - for a good day.  In this day we do our best - minor disturbances put aside - to make of this day what we will - what we can.  Making plans for tomorrow - part of today's plans - remembering - tomorrow never comes.  There is only - yesterday - what was - today - what is - tomorrow - never comes.  Although we have our expectations - often - many never materialize - occur - modified in their reality.  


God says to you - me - make of today what you will - tomorrow - may never come.  Do not put off for tomorrow what you can do - today.  Starting today - making plans for many tomorrows - some will come - others will not.  Travel plans underway - getting ready to leave this place - traveling back home - packing for an adventure in the Netherlands.  Blog posts will be on hold for a few weeks - God willing - they will return.  Eggs will come and go - but hope is eternal.  God has promised us - Jesus has told us - Hope is forever.

Deacon Dale  

Monday, April 18, 2022

Easter Monday

Today - Monday after Easter - fortified by yesterday's celebrations we begin Eastertide.  For the next seven weeks - daily - reminded - of His accomplishment - opening the gates of heaven for all.  All are invited - not all will respond - Free Will - an awesome gift - too often used to make wrong choices. 


God knew full well what He was doing when He gave us Free Will - knowing full well - some would make wrong choices.   We just celebrated the Triduum - Easter - for the majority - a great experience - for some - Easter eggs - jelly beans - bunnies.  Nothing wrong with those in addition to a spiritual experience - a few - Easter - very secular - non religious event.  This year we celebrated Good Friday - Easter Vigil with a community that is 98% Hispanic.  To hear their responses spoken at Mass - the energy - enthusiasm -  the excitement - far exceeding any prior times in our experience.  The energy shared by the priests - especially the Pastor - as he delivered his homily in both Spanish - English - stirred a full congregation - to Easter joy.  As he shared Jesus' victory over Death - as he baptized - confirmed - some thirty people - adults and youth - met with standing ovations - applause - an Easter celebration to be remembered.  Praying that this Easter joy - stays with all who attended - with all - who around the world - experienced similar services - the joy - that Jesus is Risen - that all carry that joy into the entire 50 days of Easter season and beyond.

Happy Beginning of Eastertide
Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Easter

Easter Sunday - New Life - New members in the Church - the Family of God - now larger.  This is truly the Day - The Lord Has Made - Let Us Rejoice - Be Glad In It.  For the Faithful - Easter a lot more than bunnies - colored eggs - dinner tables overflowing with food - drink.  Easter to acknowledge - God is Good - Blessings received every day of our lives. Today we celebrate - around the world - Jesus' victory over - Death - Satan.  In His resurrection - attained for all of us - Our chance to gain Heaven - when our time comes. 


Today - Easter Sunday - marks the beginning of Eastertide - 7 weeks of the - Easter Season. For the next 50 days we celebrate Christ's victory at Easter - until Pentecost.  Similar to the 6 weeks of Lent - when we prepared ourselves to celebrate Easter - now 50 days to celebrate - share in His victory.  Fortified by this victory - easier for us - to be very active disciples - to share His story - message.  As always - Jesus - God - constantly with us - guiding - leading us to - Holiness.

Deacon Dale 


Saturday, April 16, 2022

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday - the third day of the Triduum - on this day the Triduum comes to an end.  In the early part of the morning - in Churches around the world - families gather with their Easter baskets - filled with bread - meats - drink - flowers - for the annual Blessing of Easter Foods.  Food that will be prepared - consumed - on Easter Sunday - with family - friends - after attending The Easter Vigil Mass - Holy Mass on Easter Sunday.  This day typically spent in Vigil - prayer - waiting for the One Who Is To Come - to Rise from the Dead.  The day - spent in solemn silence.


The Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday - waits until after sunset - the beginning of the new day - in darkness - the faithful gather.  Steeped in prayer - the lighting of the Easter Fire - the Dressing of the Paschal Candle - Procession to the altar - prayers - multiple readings from Holy Scripture - Words of encouragement in the Homily - Baptism - Confirmation - of the new members - Holy Eucharist - Final blessing - Dismissal.  The Vigil ended - all sent - to the four corners of the world - to Proclaim the Gospel message of Jesus.  In their words - speaking from their own life experience - sharing in Truth - Jesus Is Lord - Our Savior.

Deacon Dale 

 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Good Friday

Good Friday - the second day of the Triduum - the day that humanity put God on trial - could not find any reason to punish Him - forced by the people - giving in to political power - calling for Jesus to be crucified.  


On this day in history - humanity rebelled against Him - the Author of Life - the One who Created - Heavens - Earth - All that exists - their very being.  As thinking creatures - blessed with intellect - language - free will - ability to achieve anything - they chose - Death.  Death on a Cross.  When the spear was plunged into Jesus' side - when the blood - water - life - flowed out of His mortal body - all time stopped.  In that one instance - at the very moment He breathed His last - as a human - all life - all movement - everything came to a stand still.  In that moment - God gasped - held His breath - checking in His emotions at what the world had done to His Son.  In an instant - all that happened - nothing - Silence.  Then - as in a rage - the Heavens opened up - the tears of God fell - like a rain storm - the veil of the Sanctuary - was ripped from the top - where it touched Heaven - down to the Earth - that drank the Blood of His Son.  This is what happened on Good Friday - God Friday - when anyone else would have torn their enemy limb from limb - yet - God cried - in HIs Divine Mercy - Forgave those who ended His human life.  As we spend this day - alone - with others - however we chose - we pause - and hear the voice of Jesus - deep within our hearts - souls - Father Forgive Them - They Know Not What They Do.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday - the first day of the Triduum - the Three Holiest Days - before Easter.  Tonight at Holy Mass - significant events celebrated - the initiation of the Eucharist - initiation of the Priesthood - the Foot Washings - model of service to others. How Christians are called to live a life of holiness.


At the Last Supper Jesus took bread - wine - said - "do this in memory of Me" - the first Eucharist.  When He instructed His disciples - Do this - created the priesthood - washing the feet of others - showed His disciples first hand - Ministry of Service.  As His modern day disciples - we are called to do the same - as non ordained - specifically - service to others. One does not have to be ordained to practice - live a life - as a Christian - Christ follower.  God has called all our names - not all hear - fewer respond to that call.  Today we celebrate the beginning of Christianity.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Last Things

Today is the final day of Lent - almost.  Lent officially ends with the celebration of Holy Thursday evening Mass - so a few more hours left - still time.  Today is the day we pick up all our spiritual pieces - the things that we have gathered about ourselves over the last forty days - yes - it is actually more than forty days - we already discussed that issue - here we are at day #43 with our Lenten posts - Sundays have been included -  another three days to go until Easter.  In these last hours of Lent - we rearrange - clean - our spiritual houses - preparer ourselves for the three holiest days of the Christian calendar - the Triduum.  Holy Thursday - Good Friday - Holy Saturday.  In those three days we will focus on three special aspects of the Christian year - how it prepares us to joyfully celebrate the Resurrection - Easter. 

Getty Images 

Jesus has been with us throughout our entire lives - every day - walking next to us - guiding - sending angels - people - to help us on our journey.  Even when we were down - out - when we drifted away from Him - He was never far away from us.  We may abandon Him - we may lose faith - He - always there - hard to believe - that is who He is - what He does.  As we enter the Triduum - may we empty ourselves of all our worries - concerns - turn them all over to Jesus - declare to Him - Jesus I Trust in You.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

T.A.C.O. Tuesday

Take - Accept - Christ - Openly - Be not afraid - now is the day the Lord has made - accept - rejoice - He Loves You.  Tuesday - today - tomorrow - then Lent is over for another year.  Now is NOT the time to stop - we are near the finish line - have not crossed it - yet.  Still time for our final prayers - sitting on the back porch - meditating on what this Lent has meant to us - as a group - as individuals.  Did we just cruise through these forty days - getting minimally involved - or - did we jump in feet first - attempting to do everything suggested - coming close to spiritual burn out.  Bottom line - whatever one did - only that individual - God - knows - nobody else's business.  Developing one's spiritual life is not restricted to a forty day experience - each of us - every day of our life - should be talking with God - Jesus - improving our relationship - every single day of our life. If you have not - accepted Jesus into your heart - as Lord - Savior - still time.  The stories are endless - the witnesses - plentiful - sharing what life in Christ - all about. 


Jesus will come to you when ever - where ever - you want. He stands - waiting - time after time - you have been told - still - He - waits. Will today be the day you - Take - Accept - Christ - Openly - Let this Lent end on a positive note. One more day...

Deacon Dale 


Monday, April 11, 2022

Holy Week

Palm Sunday - branches waving in the breeze - singular thin strips of green palm branches - multiples grouped together - in some places - entire palms - tightly gripped by - children - adults - people of all ages - genders - mixed ethnicities - Christians - around the World - celebrating the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem - at Holy Mass - sprinkled - blessed - during the entrance rite.  I have visited Jerusalem three times - never greeted with a single palm - rather very much like entering any city one might visit - except for the sidewalk vendors offering their wares - 3 for $1 - 12 for $5 - typical tourist hustle.  People - buildings - vehicles - some noise - often congestion - feeling slightly disorientated - trying to assume some balance of ones surroundings.  Jerusalem - Holy Ground - walking in the steps of Jesus - Himself.  One experience - everyone should have - if possible - connecting to our roots.


For the past five weeks we have been walking in the desert with Jesus - trying to navigate the various roadways that is Lent - praying - meditating - spending time alone with God - seeking holiness.  This is our last hurrah - the final week- three more days until Lent ends - the Triduum begins - the three holiest days on the Christian calendar - then - Easter - the golden ring at the end of our journey.  At this time - not much left to do - except - pray - Adore - focus - our hearts - minds - on Jesus.  Our Lord's entrance into Jerusalem - the beginning of our entrance - into New Life.  Our journey - started over two thousand years ago - with Jesus leading the way.  Now it is up to us - how to make the best use of our time this week - leading to celebrating with Jesus - His  Easter Victory.

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

The Son

This is what our faith is all about - The Son - the Son of Mary - the Son of God - The One - who existed before time - beyond time - eternally present in all the lives of anyone who ever lived.  He was there with His Father when the world - the Heavens - all that exists - was created.  He who comes from the Father - is the Father - the Holy Spirit - One in Three Persons - the One we can never ever understand.  To Him - be glory and honor - for ever and ever - Amen.  No one will ever completely understand - Jesus - God - The Holy Spirit - an impossible task - for mankind.  It is not for us to understand - that is not what we have been asked to do.  Our task - to accept Him - as Lord - Savior - to Worship - Adore - Him - for what He has done - will do - in all our lives.  For many - an easy task - for all too many - extremely difficult.  All one has to do is proclaim - Have Mercy On Me Lord - I am A Sinner - Forgive Me My Sins - Heal Me - Create A New Heart In Me.  Jesus I Trust In You.  Period


Jesus stands waiting for each one of us to make that simple statement. He asks no money - No demands - you do not have to do anything - it is a come as you are invitation.  Clean - dirty - wealthy - poor - believer - unbeliever - makes no difference.  Whether you believe it or not - He loves you just as you are - Period.  He waits - He knocks at the door of our heart - will you let Him in?

Deacon Dale  

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Our Mother

Mary - the Mother of Jesus - hand picked by God to be the Christ Bearer - a role model for all mothers - our adopted mother - the Mother of Our Lord.  When we invited Jesus into our hearts - we also invited His Mother - to be our Mother.  As a role model - Mary showed all women - all mothers - how to support her family - husband - son.  When one considers that she gave God permission to bless her with His Son - at the early age of fourteen or so - it shows how mature - developed she was - trusting in Him - completely.  For us - guiding us to also trust - accept - all that He asks of us.


Being a Mother - a full time job - on call - twenty-four hours a day - three hundred sixty five days a year.  It is one of the most exhausting things a woman can do - also the most rewarding.  Just as Mary looked on Jesus on the Cross - tears in her eyes - also memories of Him at the wedding at Cana - His first miracle - His head nestled in her arms - loving - fond memories - memories that we can relate to - with our own mothers.  In honoring Mary - in a way we also honor our own mothers.  I know for myself - my mother - bearing my older brother in 1943 - myself and twin in 1945 - another set of twins in 1947 - five children in forty-nine months - and everything we put her though - adding another brother in 1957 - definitely a saint in her own right.  For Saint Mary - and all the other mothers/saints who followed her we pray..

Deacon Dale 


Friday, April 8, 2022

Our Father

Everyone has a father - somewhere - living or dead - would not exist - without a father.  Most of us have fond memories of our father - some not so blessed - happy memories few and far between.  Growing up - always a bonus when dad was around - helping - teaching - guiding us along the path of life.  For those with absentee fathers - another story - lots of disappointment - lack of male influence.  For those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord - Savior - know that they have a Father in Heaven - who has always been there - will always be there - just for them.  God is not - has never been - an absentee Father.  He created the world - all that is in it - just for us - worthy of  our praise.


In God we have a Father - worthy of our love - praise - adoration.  Always there - never disappointing - listening to our every prayer - conversation that we direct to Him.  In faith - we offer to Him - the prayer Jesus taught His disciples 

Today is an excellent day to offer this prayer to Him - the Author of Life - the One - who has always been there for us - since the beginning of time.

Deacon Dale 


Thursday, April 7, 2022

Reading Scripture

If you want to know anything about anyone - need to do the research - dig in - dig deep - go the extra mile.  To learn about Jesus - need to read about Jesus - to learn about God - need to read about God - best source - the Bible.  One would think that is all you should need to read - not true.  The Bible is the inspired Word of God - the Books of the Bible - not necessarily in good chronicle order.  To understand what the Bible actually says - one needs to read with a plan.  Many people assume they start with Genesis - continue straight through to Revelation.  Doing that creates a lot of questions - confuses many - majority quit before they get through the Old Testament - the Hebrew Scriptures.  One good way would be to follow the podcasts with Father Michael Schmitz - currently the number one podcast listened to.  His style of reading Scripture - blending in an excellent reading style - combined with an organized approach - makes Scripture come alive - not always in a clear manner - more in a real manner.  Passages that confuse - seem to conflict with the common idea of who - what God - Jesus - is - are numerous.  Father Michael has a way to put it in proper perspective.  In addition - other books - available to fill in the blanks. 

Getting to know  the history - theology - behind religion - helps to broaden one's perspective - understanding God - His Son - The Holy Spirit.  God has a plan for our life - the Bible is a long love letter - from God - to each of us.  The way to a joyful - peaceful life - the road we should follow - laid out in the Bible. The majority - have a Bible - today would be a good day to get acquainted with it.  Father Mike's podcast is available for free - just click this link and get started with him today.  https://ascensionpress.com/pages/biy-registration

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Doing His Will

OK - things are looking good - on track - focused - praying more - time in Adoration - doing Bible in a Year - Hey - This is how we do Lent - correctly.  Feeling good about one self - really doing well - this must be what it means - to do His will.  Doing some spiritual reading - learning new prayers - spending more time in prayer - lighting candles - meditating - all going well. At this point - definitely on track - getting closer to the goal - doing well.


Jesus calls us to follow him - to walk with him - to accept Him - as Lord - Savior - easier than it sounds.  There are so many distractions - things that get in the way - some legitimate - some not.  For some - a very easy task - for many - much more difficult.  As the saying goes - Rome was not built in a day - in a similar way - we should not expect things to change over night.  All journeys - begin with that first step - big - little - does not matter.  The important thing - take that first step.  Here we are - together - past that first step - well on our way to - holiness - doing His will.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

B-C-E

B - C - E - Baptism - Confirmation - Eucharist - that is what Lent is all about.  Lent was originally a period of prayer - reflection - for those who were considering joining the Catholic Church. Nothing more - nothing less.  Eventually it was decided that - in addition to the - Catechumens -  those who were already members of the Church - should also be involved.  The  faithful of the congregation - asked to pray for those in the process of committing their selves - to Jesus - in return those in the RCIA - asked in turn to pray for all those who were already active members of the Church.  Basically parishioners praying for those who wished to become parishioners.  Each one - pray for - each one.  Thus the current members became involved with those seeking membership.  At this point - Lent - involving the entire parish community.  New people - gain faith - community - existing people - renewing the faith they had already attained.  Faith begetting Faith.  Sounds complicated - not - very simple in practice.

                        Baptism                                Confirmation                              Eucharist 

Now that we have shed the excuses that troubled many in the first four weeks of Lent - now that we have made our commitment to really get serious with Lent - together with those seeking - Baptism - Confirmation - Eucharist - we can appreciate the gift of Faith that we already have - the gift that they will soon receive at the Easter Vigil Mass.  It is an exciting time - a time of rejoicing - a happy time - now recommitted to our daily prayers - time of meditation - sitting at Adoration in Church - doing all that is necessary - to prepare ourselves to celebrate the victory of Jesus - at Easter.  In quiet - we consider our own baptism - confirmation - the gift of receiving Christ in Holy Eucharist.  We pray that in those times when we receive communion - when it has become a routine - we stop - halt in our steps - consider just what we are doing - the gift we receive.  That gift to be celebrated - B - C - E - Because Communion is Everything.  It should never become ordinary - exactly the opposite -  an unbelievable gift - offered to us - each - every time - we attend Holy Mass.  Here I am Lord - I come to do your will.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, April 4, 2022

It's All About You

Yes - it is true - it is all about YOU - where you have been - where you are heading - where your journey will take you. Yesterday I said it is time to get serious - to quit playing games - blaming others - situations - for your failure to take Lent seriously.   So far - this Lent - I have posted thirty-three - minute meditations - in an effort to help kick start Lenten devotions - helping to get back on track - showing many - the true path to salvation.  For some - great success - for others - just another minute read while drinking their morning coffee.  

God calls each and everyone of us - constantly - some hear - respond - others - words falling on deaf ears.  For many - Jesus was sent - a visible sign that God is - Love - Forgiving - Compassionate - waiting patiently for an acknowledgement - that He is there.  Ten days left - Lent is gone - done - finito - finished.  Ten days - not a ton of time - yet - in a flash - in an instant - your heart can be given over to God.  All anyone has to do is admit they are a sinner - ask honestly for forgiveness - invite Jesus into their heart - accept Him as their Lord - Savior.  It can be done - should be done - now.  Anyone can make that commitment - today - now - and still experience the best Lent of their life.  As we continue this journey together - walking through the sands of our lives - not looking for an oasis - instead enjoying the oasis - that is Jesus.  He is all that you need - there - waiting to fill your soul with - Living Water - New Life - in Christ.  

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Tri-Cycle

One of the things that is often confusing about Lent is the fact that many churches during Lent will avoid the prescribed readings of the year - instead use Year A - those scriptures more focused on those planning to enter the church at Easter.  Normally the Sunday scriptures follow a three year cycle of A - B- C.  This year we are in Cycle-C - for churches who have candidates in the RCIA program - the option to use Cycle-A often taken - Cycle-A lending it self more closely to - water - light - new life - as those candidates prepare themselves for baptism - confirmation - Communion.  Like many things in life - specific - prescribed cycles - exist.  Just as one typically starts riding a tricycle when young - providing a secure basis - three points - creating balance - preparing one for future cycling - so does the three year cycle of scripture help to create a spiritual balance. 

At this point in Lent - all of us should have experienced that feeling of being balanced in our journey.  We have less than two weeks before Lent ends and we enter the holiest three days of the Christian calendar - the Triduum.  If we haven't gotten serious yet - this is the day to get focused - stop making excuses - getting down to the work that is Lent.  No more excuses - no more delays - today we pick up ourselves - make a commitment to make the most of the few days we have left.  God calls each of us - everyday - He speaks our name - today is the day when we finally respond to His call.  Here I am Lord - I come to do your will.

Deacon Dale 



Saturday, April 2, 2022

Removing Barriers

One of the truths of life - barriers - little - giant - pop up when you least expect them.  After weeks of planning - taking everything into consideration - weighing various options - plans should go exactly as expected - once started - everything going as expected - BAM - hit a barrier.  Some barriers have a good purpose - others - no reason for them to exist.  When we go cycling in the mountains there are a few roads that come to a sudden end - obviously a future extension planned - barriers in place that do not say - NO - rather - not now.   As shown in the photo - easy to see what lies ahead in the future. 


As we journey through Lent - not uncommon to run into a few barriers to our plans - things that cause us to deviate from our agenda.  Instead of assuming they are saying - NO - pause - consider -  it might be one of those - not now moments.  It is not unusual when we talk to God - His answer - not yes - instead - wait - not now - maybe later.  Lent is a time to focus on the small things that will make us better - now - not the big things of the future.  As Jesus walked through the desert - as we journey with Him in Lent - baby steps - moving gently around any barriers - we encounter. 

Deacon Dale 

Friday, April 1, 2022

Jumping Through Hoops

Most people have heard the phrase - jumping through hoops - to do a complicated or annoying series of things in order to get or achieve something.  Too often those in control - make tasks more complicated than needed - as a means to delaying completion - a senseless way to mistreat another person - lording ones power over another.  This is not the way anyone should treat another.  Then again - an entirely different meaning among the native Americans who belong to many of the indigenous tribes.  Dancing through hoops - Hoop Dancing - an art passed down through the ages - an art form that tells a story - takes extreme skill. The art of hoop dance honors cultural traditions shared by multiple Indigenous communities - with roots in healing ceremonies - traditions - practices. Today hoop dance is shared as an artistic expression to celebrate - honor Indigenous traditions throughout the U.S. and Canada.  This past weekend we had the opportunity to attend the Annual World Championship Hoop Dance Contest.  The ages varied from youth as young as six years up through seniors forty and over.  Both boys - girls - men - women compete on an equal basis.  Hoop Dancing is a high energy event - dancers literally jumping through hoops - forming various shapes with the hoops - all in timed competition.  For competitors - spectators - serious - fun - family event.

World Championship Hoop Dance Contest - Heard Museum - Phoenix, AZ 

In Lent some feel that the church ask too much of individuals - making participants jump through hoops - seeking personal holiness. Although there are multiple guidelines - nothing really enforced on anyone. A few simple suggestions - making more time for prayer - making personal sacrifices of time - money - reevaluating their lifestyle - where they have been - where they are going - benefiting primarily only the individual - only benefit to community - better citizens.  In Lent no jumping through hoops - only opportunities to draw closer to God. 

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Opening minds

Open ears - open hearts - open minds - what gives?  We have previously discussed opening our ears - hearts to Jesus - isn't that enough - now - why our minds?  Truth be told - we need to be one hundred percent open - available - to God.  As an instrument - as a disciple - we need to allow God to use our entire being - to minister to others.  Even thought we may have an awesome - fantastic - relationship with Jesus - His Father - The Holy Spirit - that is not where it ends - nor should it be.  When we came to Faith - when our lives became truly devoted to Him - that was not the end - rather the beginning.  For many - their relationship is theirs alone - not to be shared with others.  Once committed to Christ - any further development - change - stopped.  Honestly - we are not for ourselves - the real mission - to help spread the Gospel message of Jesus - to draw others to Christ.  It is not about church attendance - adding donations of money - time - to the parish coffers.  It is all about community - gathering believers - to go to  the four corners of  the world to spread His message.

It has been over two thousand years since Jesus walked this Earth.  One would think that was plenty of time to tell everyone about the Gospel - about God's Divine Mercy - His forgiveness - His acceptance of all - no matter what they have done - what they will do.  People die - are born - every year - who never know the love of God.  They walk among us - those who have heard - but not listened - have seen - but not seen - have witnessed from afar other's faith - but have never experienced it for themselves.  As we journey through Lent - in addition to drawing ourselves closer to Christ - we need to bring others along - to share our experience with them - that they - for themselves - may hear - see - feel - open their hearts to Jesus.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Opening hearts

Hearts can be soft fleshy organs that pump blood throughout our bodies - filled with love for mankind - life - God.  Some hearts - cold - stony - diseased - not with biological issues - rather unemotional - hardened by the tests of time.  Too often - beaten up - beaten down - individuals lose the ability to love - be loved - conditioned by unfortunate events in life.  Most people confuse their biological heart with their emotional heart - that center where we store love - hate - pleasure.  The place that we call our "heart" - actually a spot in our minds - where we process all sorts of memories - happy - sad - fun - tragic - good - bad.  Majority of people have open hearts - freely sharing - what makes them - special - different from others.  A smaller number - closed hearts - difficult to get inside with them - where they live.  

Jesus calls us to be lovers - to have open hearts - freely sharing ourselves with others.  In doing so - we benefit from good relationships with others - life takes on a better meaning - problems openly  shared - experienced with each other.  When we made the decision to become Jesus' disciple - we made a commitment to trust in Him - to openly share all that we are with others - opening our hearts to their concerns - worries - needs.  In freely sharing our self with others - we open the door to the Divine - to touching the hearts of many - with God.  Jesus knocks at the door to your heart - is it open to Him?

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Ears to Hear

God calls all of us - not all hear His voice - some expecting to hear an audible sound - others refusing to accept His words flowing from the mouths of others - not His.  When God tries to get our attention - not always in big - grand - explosive moments - more often - in the quiet - whisper of the winds.  To hear God - one has to place themselves in a place where there are no distractions - where one is open to hearing His call - that would be normal.  In some instances - amidst the clamor - noise - of chaos - there are those who will hear His call.  It is in exceptional times - quiet - noisy - when He speaks our name.


As we wander throughout the days of Lent - busy in all our devotions - it is imperative that we open our minds - hearts - ears - to the sound of His voice.  It may be in a bird song - the rustlings of leaves - branches - in the wind - the cry of a baby - the mewing of a cat - bark of a dog - rarely - in the spoken voice.  In meditation - contemplation - quiet of our hearts - we might just hear what He has to say to us.  For those who have ears - let them hear.

Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Consecration

This past Friday - March 25, 2022 - the Pope consecrated Russia - Ukraine - all of humanity to Mary.  This was not the first time this consecration was done.  From Wikipedia -the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary by a specific act of a reigning Pope along with all the other Catholic bishops of the world was allegedly ordered in a Marian apparition by Our Lady of Fatima on July 13, 1917. Sister Lucia dos Santos, one of the three visionaries publicly stated that at different times the Blessed Virgin Mary had given her a message of promise, that the consecration of Russia (as a country) would usher in a period of world peace.  Pope Pius XII, Paul VI, Pope John Paul II have consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart, albeit without directly referencing Russia or the USSR.  Some have felt that the request made by the Blessed Mother had never been properly done - thus the reason why the area commonly known as Russia continues to be an area of unrest.  Some question why Pope Francis included Ukraine in the recent consecration - failing to realize that Mary's request spoken in 1917 included that area called Russia - including all the regions of the U.S.S.R. - The United Socialist Soviet Republic which consisted of not only Russia but also - Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Belorussia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Latvia to name the majority.  Thus when Pope Francis consecrated Russia AND Ukraine - he was doing EXACTLY what the Blessed Mother had asked and intended.  

Holy Mass Fatima Shrine 

When anyone is consecrated to Mary - the understanding is that they are making a commitment to Jesus - through Mary. Anyone may consecrate their self to Mary - assuming they have a special devotion to Jesus - through - with - His Mother. When I was in formation - prior to ordination - we had some classmates who held a deep devotion to Mary - the Rosary - thus when we met for classes - whoever was available - joined in the chapel to pray the Rosary before class. In approximately our second year of formation - it was proposed by a few of our class - that we as a group of future Catholic deacons consecrate ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Thus - our next time together we did just that - setting a precedent - the only class in the Joliet Diocese - since the restoration of the diaconate in 1968 - to be consecrated to Mary - almost twenty years after the restoration in the United States. As mentioned - any person - group may be consecrated - all it takes is a desire to make an honest sincere commitment to Jesus. Jesus calls all of us - different paths for different people - where is He calling you?

Deacon Dale 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Running on fumes

Anything worth doing involves physical - mental - energy.  Even when all the plans have been  made - schedules planned - team gathered - tools ready - energy - the key ingredient.  Without energy - a fuel source - back up reserves - failure almost guaranteed.  It doesn't matter if you are adding a garden feature - addition onto the house - publishing a book - novel - short story - leading a prayer service - helping with a youth group - all take considerable - time - energy.  Heading into any project when one is already feeling exhausted - failure looming on the horizon.  To be properly prepared - start with a full tank - energy reserves - close at hand. 

To many - Lent is very tiring - an exhaustive process - spread over a long time.  To some - six weeks a drop in the bucket - to others - anything beyond twenty-four hours - a long burdensome trek.  In those times when you feel like you are - running on fumes - no reserves available - the tank rapidly becoming empty - time to push the pause button - stop - seek respite.  No one in their right mind should ever criticize one for taking a break - putting a project on hold.  For some - a feeling that they are disappointing God - good news - He has all the time in the world - for you - for any effort you might make.  God is very patient - He created you to be Good - not perfect - so give it a rest.  If you need time - Jesus - always - will wait for you.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Walking On Dry Land..

When we read Holy Scripture - often the recognition of walking - on dry land.  The significance - not walking in water - crossing from one side to the other - on dry land - God making the path - easier - safer.  So it was with the Israelites when Joshua led the people over the Jordan River.  In Hebrew Jordan is translated Yarden or יַרדֵן which means to descend - go down.  It was given this name because  the river physically descends downwards to the Dead Sea which is the lowest point on Earth - significant to us spiritually - after we have descended to the lowest point - we move forward with our lives - we ascend - go up on a path closer to Jesus - to God.  Recalling the baptism in the Jordan when Jesus was baptized by John - He first descended downwards as an act of humility - at which point the dove appeared above Him as He ascended upwards to the start of His ministry.  As we were cooling off in the pool at the Arizona house today - escaping the 94 degree temperature - we descended down into the water.  After splashing around a few minutes - I spied a tiny winged creature - a bee - a hornet - struggling in the water - having made a bad decision - seeking dry land.  I gently lifted it up on the back of my hand and carefully set him on the concrete decking surrounding the pool.  I watched for a few minutes - wondering if it was alright - then swam away - leaving Him in His creator's hand.  Later on as we were placing the solar blanket back on the pool - I looked for it - nowhere to be found - hopefully restored to good health.

So many times in our lives we feel like we are lost in a sea of troubles - floating in an ocean of worries - emotions - fearful - looking for some sort of help.  In Lent - not unusual to have that same lost feeling - wondering how we can escape our current feeling of loss - failure.  In those moments - when we need to allow ourselves to descend - give up our self sufficient ideas - admit that we are not a god - that we need help.  Looking upwards to Heaven - we seek the hand of God - Jesus - standing there on the shore of our lives - hand outstretched - saying - Come to Me - All who are weak and tired - I am here for you.  Like my little - bee - hornet - your life has value - meaning - He will help you to ascend to a higher place.  If only - you will ask Him.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Stations..

What would Fridays during Lent be without - Stations of the Cross - a prayerful Journey of thirty minutes or so in which we are led through the meditation of the Stations Jesus endured on His Journey.  The practice of Stations origins vary depending on who you ask.  Originally when people came to realize who Jesus was - The Son of God - The God who came to Earth - the Author of Life - only then - did people wish to pay respect to Him - what He did - what He experienced.  In the very early days - people travelled to the Holy Land - to visit - see - the significant places where Jesus walked - ministered. Specific sites were visited - Calvary - Pilate's House - a few others.  Eventually - The Via Dolorosa - the path that the Roman soldiers would have taken Jesus from Pilate's to the place of Crucifixion.  Starting at the Antonia Fortress to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher - a distance of about two thousand feet - with nine specific stations - stopping places - with five additional stations inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  The Via Dolorosa is not one specific street - rather a route involving multiple streets as it winds through Jerusalem. I can personally share - walking the Via Dolorosa - on three different pilgrimages - is a very - spiritual - emotional - experience.  When it became apparent to Church leaders - the majority of Christians would never be able to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem - the concept of building Stations in places other than Jerusalem developed.  Over the years the numbers have varied - finally being set by Pope Benedict XIV in 1742 at fourteen when he exhorted all priests to erect Stations in parish churches and grounds- in order that all the faithful could experience walking the Stations.  More recently Saint Pope John Paul II rewrote some of the Station prayers and added a fifteenth Station. 

Stations in the Sonoran Desert 

It does not matter if one walks the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem - the route has been modified over the years - or if one prays the Stations hanging in their parish church.  What is important is that one acknowledges - meditates - prays the Stations - as a spiritual exercise to draw them deeper into the mystery of Faith. Stations may be prayed any day - week of the year - not just during Lent.  It is there for the faithful to take advantage of - to help - bring Jesus closer to their - mind - heart.

Deacon Dale 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Prayer Time...

When my wife and I walked the Camino de Santiago - majority of our waking hours - focused on the trail - where we were - where we wanted to be - the path - the obstacles.  Our number one priority - our well being - staying safe in a foreign country - following our guide book - staying on a well marked trail - speaking a foreign language that we were not fluent in.  In the large cities - English readily spoken - in the villages - hamlets - no hablo ingles.  Walking in the mountains - valleys - through - the backyard of Northern Spain - in between the thousands of steps - our time dotted with - prayer.  We prayed so many - Rosaries - Divine Mercy Chaplets - free form prayers - that we lost count.  When you have been married to your trekking partner for forty-four years - not a lot to talk about - so prayers flowed like water.  Our basic day - from eight o'clock in the morning until four o'clock in the afternoon - eight hours daily - on the trail.  At a minimum we spent six hours daily in prayer.  In that time as we drew closer to - Jesus - God - we also drew closer to each other.  One giant prayer experience that lasted over thirty days.

Praying Hands & Trekking Poles 

In Lent - if we are very diligent - most may be able to accumulate some one hundred twenty hours of prayer time - over the course of forty days. On the Camino in ten days less - some eighteen hundred hours.  The goal in Lent is to find ways to add more prayer time into our lives.  In truth the goal in Lent - more prayer time - not the number of hours spent in prayer.  All of us are busy - have obligations that fill the hours of our days - prayer time - a luxury.  Adding additional time in prayer - a win - a successful accomplishment.  In those prayers - for ourselves - for others - for specific needs - all excellent.  In prayer - we immerse our minds - link our thoughts - with God.  In those minutes - hours - we connect with the Creator of Life - we make our Lenten experience - meaningful.

Deacon Dale 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Game On..

If you are a fan of baseball - very happy that the extended negotiations between owners - players - finally over.  Games are finally being played again - able to go to the ballpark - enjoy an afternoon - evening - of baseball.  It is unfortunate - millionaires - arguing with millionaires - at the expense of fans - majority who will never be a millionaire themselves.  This is an issue that all of us have to contend with - those with money - too often make their wealth at the expense of those with much less.  Unfortunately - many aspects of life that are not fair - majority - coping as best they can do - accepting - what they cannot change.  Better to move on - concentrate on the really important things in life that are within ones control.  

Finally

Bottom line - our personal happiness - taking care of self - family - friends - the things that really matter in life - where we focus our energies.  Rather than waste - time - on things we cannot change - focus on those we can.  The Serenity Prayer comes to mind - 

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can,  and wisdom to know the difference. 

In life we can focus on our health - physical - spiritual - our occupations - our relationships - family - friends - God.   It is imperative that we do not let things beyond our control occupy our thoughts - actions.  Instead - the truly important things - especially our personal relationship with Jesus - must be our number one priority.  As we continue our Lenten journey - we need to be consistent - diligent - in our efforts to improve as much as we can.  Our focus - not on  the games played around us - rather that which leads us to our eternal life with God - Game on.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Commitment

It is so easy today for everyone to join in - I am here - I want to be counted - I am standing up for all that is right - correct - hear me roar - I am not lying.  Then - almost as soon as the commitment proclaimed - gone - disappeared - cannot be found - lost in the dust of time.  Yes - so many - making proclamations of commitment - gone almost as quickly as their vow professed.  Quickly - loudly - shouting for all to hear - in the next instance - gone.  Fifteen seconds of fame - done - over with.  Best intentions - already in the toilet.  What to do.

In reality - not unusual - so many - best intentions - the busyness of life - getting in the way.  Does  that make one a total loser - sinner - fallen off the path of life - leading to Christ?  God - as mentioned previously - does not expect perfection.  So you have not been able to do as  you intended - all that means is that you did not do all that was intended - nothing more - nothing less.  It does not mean you are bad - just easily distracted - perhaps a little weak in your commitment.  Time to calm down - admit your are - human - normal - easily distracted. Developing a strong faith life does not happen over night.  Even clergy - with many years of experience - stumble fall - on occasion.  It may mean one is down - not necessarily out.  Jesus - constantly at your side - offering a hand - up - helping one back onto the path. Remember you belong to God.  He is your Father - always there - waiting - offering - accepting - no matter what happens.  His commitment to each of us - one hundred percent - even when our commitment is less than perfect.  In these moments - pray - pray again - seek strength - recommit your self to a good Lenten experience.  It is possible - still.

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Deacon Dale 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Paying Tribute

The other night my wife and I attended a performance at the neighborhood high school performance center presented by UPTOWN - a tribute singing group.  Tribute groups typically select a single performer or group - learn their history - songs - all they can - when they perform - usually very similar to the original - very often - as good as the original.  

UPTOWN - A Tribute to Motown

When a person or group of people make the decision to form a tribute group - takes a lot of research - work - practice - before they are able to appear in public.  The goal is not only to provide entertainment - also to honor the person - group - their music - showing honor - respect - for their accomplishments.  When one makes the decision to become a disciple of Christ - requires learning all about Him - The Son - The Savior - The Lord - of Life.  One does not - should not make this decision lightly - committing oneself to living a life - honoring - glorifying - The Christ.  In Lent - we ask our self - do I truly reflect the values proclaimed by Jesus - do my words - actions - thoughts - honor Him - if not - why not.  We have begun week three of Lent - now is the time to get serious - to finalize our plans for a great Lenten experience - to jump in - both feet - mouth open wide - singing praises to God - now - paying Him the Tribute - He deserves - one that we know will surely honor Him.

Deacon Dale