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September 3, 2017 - Why Spiritual Struggles?

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

I am a cradle Catholic. I was twenty, and about two-and-a-half years in the seminary, when I had my first deep spiritual experience. I made a good confession, I resolved to spend time in prayer each day, and also make some serious life-changes. Because I felt close to God, and because I was earnest about living my new life, I expected life to get a lot easier. The opposite happened. I lost some friends and I found my new existence to be a struggle. Like me, most people who newly become Christians or have had a conversion experience, expect life to get easier. They expect temptations to go away, their prayer to be answered easily and their strained relationships to get smooth. Their rational is very logical. As they move closer to God, and as they embrace holiness, they expect a turn around. The expectation makes perfect sense. If you take medication for an ailment and do everything the doctor asks you to do, you are supposed to get better. In spiritual life, often, the opposite happens. Life actually becomes harder. It is counterintuitive, but this is exactly what happens. 

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September 2, 2017 - Stewardship vs Servitude

Saturday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

A few important things have happened on September 2.  World War II formally ended with the signing of the documents for Japan’s surrender in 1945.  Keanu Reeves of The Matrix was born in 1964, “Woah.”  Finally, my daughter, Hosanna, was born.  As we celebrate her second birthday, she’s going to help us break open the Parable of the Talents.

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September 1, 2017 - Carrying Unique Lights

Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

All three of my daughters have said words this week that I imagine are familiar to many of us: "No fair!" Sometimes their sense of fairness was offended because they thought another person got a bigger treat. But sometimes their sense of fairness was offended because another person was more talented than they were. My oldest daughter excels at reading; my middle daughter is a terrific dancer; my youngest daughter is proud of helping set the table.

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August 31, 2017 - Active Waiting

Thursday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

In today’s gospel, Jesus urges his followers to stay awake and be prepared for their master’s return.  This is an especially challenging command for us today.  We get prepared for something we believe will happen; if it doesn’t, we lament that our preparation was a waste.  We see waiting as passive, but we see preparation as active.  Being ready and then not doing anything seems silly.  Wouldn’t it be better to move on to the next task on our list?  Or better yet, be ‘done’ for the day and enjoy a cold drink?

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August 30, 2017 - Snooze Button

Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Reflecting on the Wednesday scriptures now for eight years, sometimes feels repetitive however the Spirit of God often illuminates the readings with experiences that are eerily timely.  In the last few weeks I met a patient that knew themselves well.  The crux of our conversation challenged both the patient and myself like the words of Jesus in today’s gospel: “on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy”.

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