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Saturday, February 18, 2012

I Did It My Way or I Did It God's Way: My Morning Notes w/Fr. Larry Richards

Let’s always remind ourselves that we are a people of love.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (i.e. confession) is not meant to be a shameful or judgmental chastisement by the priest but an experience of the love and mercy of Christ.

Although it may seem that sinful acts / behaviors are personal in nature and have no direct impact on anyone else, it’s important to recognize how seriously damaging these can be in our community. 

Any community for that matter.  

Violations of the Ten Commandments have repercussions- a ripple effect from personal to social. 

Each time we sin, we nail Christ to the cross. We participate in His death. But the whole reason Christ came into being, came into the world, is to save us from our sin. The closer we are to recognizing sin, the closer we are to Christ. The more we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the greater our awareness of sin. Therefore, every sin we confess to a priest is taken up by Christ and delivered to His cross. That is His true sacrifice. 

Stop making excuses for not going to confession. Really, just stop it. 

Let’s understand and pray about the fact that we are “...temples of the living God” (2 Cor 6:16). True integrity is living life each day reflecting on this hidden truth.

We are all called to Holiness... we should strive for Holiness. 

Drawing: Chia Yew Hang
The Examination of Conscience.

Remember, the greatest sin is our stubborn, selfish pride. 

Surrendering by way of an active prayer-life: Prayer is getting to know God’s will, not just simply rattling off a laundry list of our personal needs and desires. Communication in prayer is two-way. We offer, we petition, we praise, and then we LISTEN…. each and every day. We open ourselves and surrender our will to the Father (this is key – understanding also Christ’s relationship to God the Father). There are many ways we can do this – it’s about developing an active prayer life (Mark 1: 11; Matthew 16:15-25).

The importance of Eucharistic Adoration.

Psalm 46:11 (i.e.“Shut Up and Listen").

Best reference of the conference is St. John Vianney's The Glorious Duty of Man: To Pray and To Love,  from Catechetical Instructions (Catechisme sur la priere: A. Monnin, Esprit du Cure d'Ars, Paris 1899, pp. 87-89)

[My little children, reflect on these words: the Christian’s treasure is not on earth but in heaven. Our thoughts, then, ought to be directed to where our treasure is. This is the glorious duty of man: to pray and to love. If you pray and love, that is where a man’s happiness lies. 
Prayer is nothing else but union with God. When one has a heart that is pure and united with God, he is given a kind of serenity and sweetness that makes him ecstatic, a light that surrounds him with marvelous brightness. In this intimate union, God and soul are fused together like two bits of wax that no one can ever pull apart. This union of God with a tiny creature is a lovely thing. It is a happiness beyond understanding.We had become unworthy to pray, but God in his goodness allowed us to speak with him. Our prayer is incense that gives him the greatest pleasure. 
My little children, your hearts are small, but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God. Through prayer we receive a foretaste of heaven and something of paradise comes down upon us. Prayer never leaves us without sweetness. It is honey that flows into the soul and makes all things sweet. When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun. 
Prayer also makes time pass quickly and with such great delight that one does not notice its length. Listen: Once when I was a purveyor in Bresse and most of my companions were ill, I had to make a long journey. I prayed to the good God, and, believe me, the time did not seem long. 
Some men immerse themselves as deeply in prayer as fish in water, because they give themselves as fish in water, because they give themselves totally to God. There is no division in their hearts. O, how I love these noble souls! Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Colette used to see our Lord and talk to him just as we talk to one another. 
How unlike them we are! How often we come to church with no idea of what to do or what to ask for. And yet, whenever we go to any human being, we know well enough why we go. And still worse, there are some who speak to the good God like this: “I will only say a couple of things to you, and then I will be rid of you.” I often think that when we come to adore the Lord, we would receive everything we ask for, if we would ask with living faith and with a pure heart.] 

Final thoughts:  continue to foster and sustain relationships with immediate family members. Tell them how much you love them. What truly matters in the end are the those whom we love. Please remain a people of love; but speak the truth in a loving manner. Always remember,  we are not meant to be judgmental of others...



Meet Fr. Larry Richards

Thursday, February 2, 2012

On Passing

It's often with great surprise and affectionate sadness when we hear about the passing of someone we admire.

The word gets around fast.

            You can almost feel its powerful vibration.

A growing, intensified pulse of emotion that penetrates the heart so quickly one ignores the well intentioned voice mails, tweets, or causal conversations.
Death is like that… in its temporary vanity.

                                                Only Love remains.  

The truly under-rated and gifted Polish poet Wistlawa Szymborska (1923 – 2012) passed away this week at her Krakow home. 

Although my appreciation for her work blossomed in the last year or so, her insightful and intelligent poetry continues to be a soulful treasure chest worthy of continued exploration, even now at this critical juncture! I can only hope others will learn...

re’s one from my earmarked anthology entitled Poems New and Collected (Harcourt,1998).

On Death, Without Exaggeration

Photo: AFP/Getty
It can’t take a joke,
find a star, make a bridge.
it knows nothing about weaving, mining, farming,

building ships, or baking cakes.

In our planning for tomorrow,
it has the final word,

which is always beside the point.

It can’t even get the things done
that are part of its trade;
dig, a grave,
make a coffin,

clean up after itself.

Preoccupied with killing,
it does the job awkwardly,
without system or skill.
As though each of us were its first kill.

Oh, it has its triumphs,
but look at its countless defeats,
missed blows,
and repeat attempts!

Sometimes it isn’t strong enough
to swat a fly from the air.
Many are the caterpillars
that have outcrawled it.

All those bulbs, pods,
tentacles, fins, trachea,
nuptial plumage, and winter fur
show that it has fallen behind
with its halfhearted work.

III will won’t help
and even our lending a hand with wars and coups,d’etat
is so far not enough.

Hearts beat inside eggs.
Babies’ skeletons grow.
Seeds, hard at work, sprout their first tiny pair of leaves
and sometimes even tall trees far away.

Whoever claims that it’s omnipotent
is himself living proof
that it’s not.

There’s no life
That couldn’t be immortal
if only for a moment.

always arrives by that very moment too late.

In vain it tugs at the knob
of the invisible door.
As far as you’ve come
can’t be undone.

© Wislawa Szymborska, S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh