Sunday, March 8, 2009

"Worry is a weakness from which very few of us are entirely free. We must be on guard against this most insidious enemy of our peace of soul. Instead, let us foster confidence in God, and thank Him ahead of time for whatever He chooses to send us."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A very good snow day.

As I walked down the snow covered street Monday morning with my faithful -albeit disobedient- Beagle Molly, the words my wife uttered the night before (in the middle of a solid 3 days downpour of rain) came back to haunt me; "It's going to snow tonight"....."Aw, baloney" I said, citing every piece of folk wisdom I could muster to prove to her why she was wrong... Are they ever really wrong? So I found myself walking the dog on a crisp march morning, with the crunch of snow under foot and the prospect of a day off of work on my horizon as we meandered down the street from our house..
I decided that since the kids were playing with friends and my wife was still sleeping peacefully, I'd take the chance to just go out and....just be...One with nature, one with the environment, I dont know, but I knew I wanted to be outside on this beaitiful morning for as long as possible. We walked a good mile or so down the middle of a usually very busy street across snow and ice as polished as a mirror. To the right of the road is a thin line of scrub pines, blocking an old cow pasture partially from view. I knew from the moment we stepped outside, this was our destination.
The snow was deeper here, probably because of the overgrown brush , but it still came well up to my shins and was a little harder to mavigate than you'd expect. Molly loved it, leaping from spot to spot, chasing birds, oblivious to me, or the limitations of her lead at times.We walked to the other side of the field, and right into the woods. It was quiet here, the scrub trees and snow had muffled the distant sounds of traffic and the train tracks at the top of our street. i felt as if I was 100 miles away from Charlotte, and out in the mountains somewhere, the only sound coming from the chirping of small birds faintly breaking the silence.We walked in silence, underneath trees blowing and whispering in the breeze. I really should have taken the time to say a prayer, or recite the rosary (it is, after all, Lent), but instead I just stood in silence, listening to the muted sounds of nature. I guess I was listening to God, though it didn't occur to me at the time, but any time spend in silence, just contemplating the very essence of our surroundings, away from all distractions is time with God.

As we walked back towards home, I felt a peace about me, a happiness that only grew more and more with the rising sun. It was a very good snow day.

Sunday, March 1, 2009



"He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry" (Mt 4,1-2)

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

At the beginning of Lent, which constitutes an itinerary of more intense spiritual training, the Liturgy sets before us again three penitential practices that are very dear to the biblical and Christian tradition – prayer, almsgiving, fasting – to prepare us to better celebrate Easter and thus experience God’s power that, as we shall hear in the Paschal Vigil, “dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy, casts out hatred, brings us peace and humbles earthly pride” (Paschal Præconium ). For this year’s Lenten Message, I wish to focus my reflections especially on the value and meaning of fasting. Indeed, Lent recalls the forty days of our Lord’s fasting in the desert, which He undertook before entering into His public
ministry. We read in the Gospel: “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry” (Mt 4,1-2). Like Moses, who fasted before receiving the tablets of the Law (cf. Ex 34,28) and Elijah’s fast before meeting the Lord on Mount Horeb (cf. 1 Kings 19,8), Jesus, too, through prayer and fasting, prepared Himself for the mission that lay before Him, marked at the start by a serious battle with the tempter.(click on above link for entire story)

"The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday [Canon 97] to the 59th Birthday [i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday] to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity. Such fasting is obligatory on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The fast is broken by eating between meals and by drinks which could be considered food (milk shakes, but not milk). Alcoholic beverages do not break the fast; however, they seem contrary to the spirit of doing penance." (EWTN, The Holy Season of Lent)

I myself am a supporter of the fast, and on fast days I even try to avoid the collations ( I did pretty good Friday). I am really trying to make this Lenten season better than the past few years. I have in the past given up lame-o things, things my Doctor would have me give up anyway, and it never seems to come out to anything more than a lack-luster effort at best. This year though, I'm going in the opposite direction. Once a week I plan on either throwing out a bag of stuff I don't need cluttering up my life, or I'll give away a bag of stuff to charity. One a week, I think that's a good start, don't you? I'm also going to volunteer to help the Knights of Columbus out with the Lenten meal preparations again. I haven't done that in quite a few years, and I feel as if the time might have come to start volunteering with them again. I don't want a position in the council or anything, but I need to help out around the Parish more. My problem is, every year I make these plans, and I never carry them out, so I have to change my tactics, approach it all from a different angle. Does anyone else have any suggestions for me?