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Happy Fathers Day to all of our Dads!

Fathers Day…it is something that my own Dad could not celebrate with his father as he was left orphaned at a very young age. I have two grandsons who can’t celebrate with their fathers as they have never even met. Funny thing,though, God sends in another with the armor. When my Dad was moved to Buffalo from the west coast he took up residence in a home with two women, sisters, whom had never married. They did this thing where they would take in troubled boys and make good men of them. They had a brother named George and George Hans had quite a turn on my Dads life, naming his second son, my brother, George after him. My Dad was a fine man and a good father. He wasn’t much of a hugger, except to Mom, but he did everything in his power to create and maintain a family. He went to war for us, well before our time and he held those things within him. If he ever had PTSD he never let it show, just as most of his generation never did. Imagine being kicked out of your home right after your Mom dies of cancer and then being kicked around as a foster child for the next 7 or 8 years…going to war in a strange country under the direction of General Patton in South Africa and then coming home to have 7 children in 8 years and really sticking to what a father does. Supported his wife and children without fail. Finding the way to make enough “extra money” to help us do our extra curricular activities and help to make a marriage work for the remainder of his lifetime. Remember that he never had a family unit to learn from until he was about 15 years of age and went to war about two years later.

Happy Fathers Day in Heaven, Dad! You were spectacular!

My brothers, all, have been fantastic fathers and I am lucky in that two of my daughters have children by wonderful men and these two men will be remembered as their happiest moments and the strength of what a man brings into the equation.
Happy Fathers Day to Mike and Jesse!

I also get to enjoy being the father-figure to my two oldest grandsons. They have brought more Blessings into my life than a man deserves. I get Fathers Day gifts and cards from them every year even though I am the “Grampy”…which is what my first grandson was able to call me and it carried through.

I am so thankful that my children were able to teach me so very much and the Blessings they bestow made me a father. Each had their own way and each gave me a very different lesson. When and where I did well, I have to be thankful to God for showing me how. The guidance and love of the Holy Spirit surely had a hand in everything I did well. Where I tripped up and fell and didn’t do so well, God provided it in their hearts to forgive and to hold me close again and again.
Without my childrens Mom I would not have these wonderful kids and memories and I thank her for putting up with me,too.

Let us never forget the first Father and we need to try to be thankful for Him and pray to Him not just in the times we find ourselves stuck in the mud of life. It is very easy to pray in bad times, to ask for help from above when we have dug a hole too deep to be able to get out on our own but how many times have we been thankful for getting a job or being able to maintain a job? Even the education that brought us to that ability…it was all a gift from Him. Our ego tells us that we did the work and that we got the job and we maintained the job and we deserved the promotions and security. Once we are able to let go of ego, we learn more important lessons, lessons like being thankful and giving those same thanks to a Creator none like we will ever meet here, although we are guided in His presence from our very beginning.


In Jeremiah it is written: I knew you before I formed you in the womb.
Each child that graces the earth was first touched by God Himself…even those who were so sadly aborted and sent back to Heaven without a chance to do what they would have done here on earth.
In the Gospels Jesus teaches us how to pray:
Our Father, who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name.

I wish all fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers, all adoptive fathers and all who had the ability to transform a childs life in whatever way you have touched them and made them happier and better people to know their Blessings. We all can make a difference!

It only takes love and pure guidance from Heaven…with “those who have ears ought to hear” The Word of God.

God Bless you!

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

In reading of the prophets of the Old Testament we find that what the prophets have coursed through their words apply once to the land of Israel and Gods chosen but they echo still to this day like the spoken word in a deep cavern repeating and repeating for many ears to hear. We could shout with great vigor into a bottle or box and immediately cap it or close off its chamber but once we release that lid or chamber, the voice we had held captive is dead, it lasts no longer than when we had placed it.
The Word of God today is, in many places, doomed to such bottles and boxes. Do not leave your parish church as though you have closed up that very word to keep it but bring it as a sproutling in good soil and give it to those you pass, one by one, and plant it all about your yard, especially near where all those who pass may look upon its beauty and without one word spoken, this beauty will affect their brain with the glory of God Himself. They may not think of the seed or root, the soil or the watering, the time it took to sprout or to grow to the point of leaves and a full bloom. They may not know how it was required to be planted or fertilized, whether it had need for sun or shade but its beauty will remain implanted in their mind, filed from a sheer visual moment, and at some point in time that visual will be revisited and when it is it will bring the exact same devoted joy, even if only for a nanosecond in time.
This is how the Word has survived from the beginning, and in the beginning was God.

From the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, God plants a tender shoot He has torn from anothers crest, the shoot grows into a majestic cedar. It fascinated me that the word majestic was placed to describe this particular cedar. Then this:
“Birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it, every winged thing in the shade of its boughs”. Please insert the words human and soul for birds and winged thing, respectively. We are a world of “every kind” of human but we are one humanity. We need to stop the differentiation and understand that we are one. We truly have leaders and followers, rich and poor, owners and laborers but what we need keep in mind is what is read next in Ezekiel:
“And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom. As I, the LORD, have spoken, so will I do.”

This, in fact, was proven in the Gospel of Mark 11 in the chronicled story of the fig tree that was in leaf but had not yet produced its fruit. Jesus had cursed the tree and a day later as they were passing by…guess what…Mark 11:20,21:
“ In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

We don’t have the physical Son of God walking with us, although we do have Him in the Eucharist each Mass, we need to feel Him walking with us as exclaimed by Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians:
2 Cor 5:7
“for we walk by faith, not by sight”

Follow me now, please, into the Gospel of Mark 4:26-29:
Jesus said to the crowds,
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”

Jesus came to sow the seed of The Father. Jesus sent the Apostles out to sow. The Apostles sent their disciples out and it continues on to this day, the sowing of this seed, Gods Word. It is for you and for me to do now and by our sown seed will grow others to sow when we are gone from this earth. We know there are others sowing seed of weeds and heresy into the fields, as well. Today we have university professors (Not Prophets) sowing these weeds of contempt for the Lord and they root and they produce bad seed as well that will be carried by the wind and planted all around. Take an example of the dandelion…it is a weed to most and when the flower dies off it turns into the seed that is blown across the land and takes over another yard and another yard. Remember this,too…that same weed can be used for food, it is also used for bees to continue to live so I think in this…even when a professor is tilting the ear of a young person away from the Christ, he has to mention the name of the Christ in order to attempt to remove Him. In that these people in high and trusted places are still spreading the name and in that, still spreading the seed. It will be upon the student to feed on the salad or hate the weed…and in that I will finish by circling back to Pauls letter:
2 Cor 5:9,10
Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.

“Whether good or evil”.
Keep that in mind as we sow.

May you be and feel Blessed today!

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

Happy Birthday to my brother Kevin! Truly good seed, well planted!

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

This day we celebrate the Solemnity (a formal, dignified rite; a ceremony) of the Triune (Three in One) God. Through time we have been allowed witness to the three, each in His own time, but given to us for reasons in their own time. We believe God as The Father, the One who lead Moses to recover the Jewish people, Gods own chosen, from Egypt, out of slavery and eventually to their own land which was given to them “forever”…not just for a while…forever*!

Deuteronomy 4:40
that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may have long life on the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever”

God, The Father, made Himself known to Moses and the Prophets throughout time. In Christianity we celebrate Him each time we make the Sign of the Cross over our body in the first point, on the forehead and in baptism by calling Him out first. I enjoy thinking I am baptized each and every time I make the Sign of the Cross whether before Prayer or before a meal, stepping into my vehicle to drive or whenever I think of it.

We believe God as The Son, Jesus. He was often thought of as a Prophet by others, especially during His own time here on earth because the length and breadth of His wisdom was far beyond the teachers and Holy men and women of that time…even from the age of 12 when Mary found Him in the temple and so many were astounded at His wisdom. How many twelve year olds can this be said of?
Jesus lived His life in the land given by The Father, He healed from here, He preached from here, He was taken, beaten and crucified from here. He could still be thought of as a criminal except for the following act…He was raised from the dead here. Crucifixion was a mainstay at the time for criminals and they even had a place for this to take place; Golgotha, the place of the skull. Think of it as what we know “The Green Mile” to be.
We know Him to have been raised from the dead from within many book but I will note here:
 
The Book of Matthew 28:1-3,5-10,16-20:
“1 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning,* Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.

3 His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow.

5 Then the angel said to the women in reply, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.

6 He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ Behold, I have told you.”

8 Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce* this to his disciples.

9  And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.

10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

16 The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.

17 When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.

18 Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,

20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

We believe the third person of God to be The Holy Spirit. Spoken about by Jesus Himself (above, Matthew 28:19) and whom was given to the Disciples on Pentecost as Jesus breathed upon them and flame set upon each of their heads, allowing them the gifts and abilities needed to spread the Word of the Father and of Jesus. In “the gifts” they were able to speak to every nation in their own languages and in their “abilities” they had been given undeniable courage and fortitude to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” leading eleven of The Twelve and Paul to be martyred for Gods glory and here we are 2000 years after and still They reign in Heaven and on Earth (and below the earth).

Never forget those last words as they should be engraved into your mind, heart and soul:
“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Celebrate your faith in the Trinity. Pass The Word of God in any form you can as I try to do here and in my life, even through failure.

Godspeed! I wish you peace!

~b
Shine Today™

*forever was Israel gifted to the Jewish people as acclaimed in the
Book of Deuteronomy 4:1
” Now therefore, Israel, hear the statutes and ordinances I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your ancestors, is giving you”
Book of Deuteronomy 4:39,40
This is why you must now acknowledge, and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and that there is no other. And you must keep his statutes and commandments which I command you today, that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may have long life on the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever.
As a Christian we believe that Israel will forever be the home of the Jewish people by the command of God through Moses and we should forever keep this lamp lit. In these days we hear of people trying to take away this land and allow others to stomp on these rites and we, as Christians, should always stand loud and clear on the principles we know and trust from our Lord and God. Anything else is from satan.

**Photo credit Munir Alawi

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area.
He looked around at everything and, since it was already late,
went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry.
Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf,

he went over to see if he could find anything on it.
When he reached it he found nothing but leaves;
it was not the time for figs.
And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!”
And his disciples heard it.
Mark 11:11-14

When evening came, they went out of the city.
Early in the morning, as they were walking along,
they saw the fig tree withered to its roots.
Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look!
The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God.
Mark 11:19-22

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
John 15:16

Written by two separate Apostles, Mark and John, and, seemingly, have not much to do with each other in time or fashion…yet they have everything in common. Trust me. I know it’s quite a bit to read and to digest but would you mind reading it once again? I had missed something written that was very, very important to note but perhaps you did not miss it and it makes all the difference. If I shorten the story a bit and highlight some of it, it may read to you the same way it used to read to me. Let me know if this is how you read it, too.

Jesus and the Twelve entered Jerusalem and it was late so they went to where they would stay for the night. They got up the next day as they were leaving, Jesus was hungry…saw some fig trees…there wasn’t any fruit on the tree and He cursed it and they moved on. Later, Peter notices the tree that Jesus cursed was now dead…I am understanding “withered to its roots” as dead. That isn’t what I wanted you to notice but it the second most important part of this passage.
I am telling you I could read it and read it, again and again and I had never noticed (*or paid attention to) the seven very important words I need you to notice and (like me) not ever be able to pass by them again.
Here they are:
it was not the time for figs

Jesus cursed a fig tree for not having figs to eat and…again…it was not the time for figs! He cursed the tree that was out of season…doing its “normal” leafy season thing before the fruit comes…cursed it and it dies. Everyone knows how plants work, and trees, right? They leafy and then they flower and then they fruit from the flower. At this point we can pluck and eat. We can enjoy whether we are hungry or not.

What season are you in? I had been in a very long leafy season. No fruit. Twenty seven years of leafy season…longer if we count the time I was growing up and didn’t pay much attention to God, Mass and the Homilies of the Pastors. If you owned a fruit farm and your plants or trees had taken 27 years off (or longer), what would you have done? If this same fruit farm was how you made your living, how you fed your family, how you paid your mortgage, bought shoes for your kids, birthday parties…
I would bet you would not have bothered cursing them and would have uprooted and replaced them in a very short time.

Two things I need to note here:
One~ God doesn’t uproot us nor does He replace us because we have not been bearing fruit. He doesn’t need us for anything. God is already completely Divine and in that, needs nothing. There are not too few of us who have tried to barter with God…”If You_______, I will ______”. Ever wonder why He doesn’t hear you when you attempt to barter/promise? Me too. Even to save someones life that we love? He heard you. He heard me, too. His knowledge is unquestionable and surely mine is.

The second thing to note is from the third passage above:

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.

He was speaking to the Apostles but just as in everything He said to them, it was also meant for us. He chose me to type this out tonight and He chose you to read it and He has something more for you to do and, God willing, there is much more for me to do, as well.

Break out of that leafy season.

God Bless you and keep you.

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

Pentecost Sunday
On this day we celebrate (and I renew) the day of the Holy Spirit coming upon the Apostles, being sent directly from the Father to glorify the Father and the Son, and to guide us in our lives in the ways of the Christ so that we may, too, obtain Eternal life.

From John 15: 18-26

18“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.n19If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.o20Remember the word I spoke to you,* ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.p21And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,* because they do not know the one who sent me.q22If I had not come and spoken* to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin.r23Whoever hates me also hates my Father.s24If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father.t25But in order that the word written in their law* might be fulfilled, ‘They hated me without cause.’u

26“When the Advocate comes whom I will send* you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.

The “Advocate” is the Holy Spirit. He has been sent and is within us, those who have or will have accepted Him as truth will have denied the world and all of its drawstrings and drawstrings have one purpose…like a garbage bag…they tie us up. Remove such things and be renewed this day and evermore. We sin. It is engrained in us to be drawn to such things as physical pleasures whether they be food in gluttony or sexually and alcohol or drugs. We have these passions within us and we need to root out the ones that are not of the Spirit, The Advocate, and live a more pure existence.
Sin happens…but we also have recourse to these!

John 20:21-23

21* [Jesus] said to them again,l “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”22* And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,m “Receive the holy Spirit.23* n Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

“Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them”
“Whose sin you retain are retained”
Two very explosive (and quite often fighting words between Catholics and others) statements given us by Jesus Himself. This is why we believe in the acts of Confession, a Sacrament, placed upon us by the Son of God.
We don’t just all get a pass, folks!!
The waters of Baptism are wonderful, also a Sacrament, but we need to be cleansed before we can be with those who care the most for our souls, God the Father, His most Holy Son, Jesus, and the Advocate, the Holy Spirit…and our families and friends.

Do you remember Saul? He chased down and enslaved the early Christians and had them terribly murdered by stoning and such. Well, Saul was converted by Jesus Himself and was then Paul, and Paul had a most difficult message for all of us, too!

Pauls letter to the Galatians 5:16-25 tells us all exactly what we need and don’t need:

Gal 5:16-25

Brothers and sisters, live by the Spirit
and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
these are opposed to each other,
so that you may not do what you want.
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry,
sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,
outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,
dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,
drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh
with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

I wish you peace!

God Bless you this day and evermore!
~b
Shine Today™

“All who were destined for eternal life came to believe”
Acts 13:48
(b)

The Book of Acts of the Apostles describes their journeys and calls to all points, including those of Saul(Semitic) and after his conversion becoming known as Paul(Greco-Roman), to proclaim the name of Jesus throughout not only Judea but the world. I found this particular sentence to be so truthful in this life, and not only in my sixty years but throughout all of humanity, before me and, unfortunately, to the end of humanity. What I found in that short ten words were curbs much like those that keep a vehicle from coursing on to a sidewalk from the road and before a storefront to keep a vehicle from smashing into the building.
Do you find this same thing?

“All who were destined…”
no doubt an exception to some but as a choice made by themselves just as we can choose grilled cheese or not, but far greater. I do not imply grilled cheese to be equal to eternal life but the choice has been given us in its greatest simplicity.
1) Here are the Books gathered which recite the history of honoring God from the earliest of times.
2) Would you care to read and learn from them?
3) Do you choose to believe? Incredibly, from the beginning of time, this was your destiny…and, yes, either way in belief or unbelief.

“All who were destined for eternal life came to believe”

This made me back up a bit to Acts 13:46-47

46Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.*47 For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.

This footnote is attached to the reading  (Provided by the USCCB):
* [13:46] The refusal to believe frustrates God’s plan for his chosen people; however, no adverse judgment is made here concerning their ultimate destiny. Again, Luke, in the words of Paul, speaks of the priority of Israel in the plan for salvation.

Paul, then, speaks in the Synagogue, conveying the history of the Chosen from their beginning, through the time of Moses and David and on through the trial, death and resurrection of Jesus and he states:

 Acts 13:41
“‘Look on, you scoffers, be amazed and disappear. For I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will never believe, even if someone tells you.”

In this I can relate quite quickly to those who have attempted to remove my belief with their disbelief. Those whom will never believe or, at least, will not believe for a time. They argue and become hostile to the Word of God, even when we peaceably provide it, the discussion turns heated and at this point in time, we need walk away. We may not be the one to provide this light but we have tried, just as Paul had. They may be provided the insight needed by another or they could again become insult ridden and never accept the light of the truth of Jesus. We should never be tempted with argument for the sake of The Word. It will bring nothing to the table of the hungry and it provides its own inimitable and everlasting truth. That person so aggravated by our transmission of The Word may just become the next Paul in our time. God willing.
What keeps things flowing for me is that twelve men, then Paul making thirteen, took the word of God, spreading it as far as they could. All but one, John, was martyred in some fashion during their teachings. All faced great adversity, shook off the dust from their sandals and moved on while others were imprisoned, even on multiple occasions. These twelve that were murdered for what they believed in never once turned their back on the Truth.
Can you imagine anything in your life that you would keep until death…and it would be an easy out to just tell them what you had said was false and that you would never speak of it again?
The Twelve knew they would die.
The Twelve knew the truth.
The Twelve took death as an honor, knowing they would once again be in the company of God directly after their death.
The truth of the Thirteen is still the truth this day, near two thousand years later.
Imagine saying something so valid that it lasts two thousand years…and forever, really.
God Bless you.


I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

Shine Today™
04.12.2021

I knew the Lord more fully when I knew nothing.

As a child in fear of the darkness I was told the light would come again and it did. I didn’t understand how it occurred, or why, but I did not trust the light as I trusted the darkness to bathe me once again. In learning through the maturity of nurturing evil, I knew more of darkness than of light and I beckoned night more fully to cover myself in its own comforts. But the nights comforts are few and stolen quickly. The cloak of night may well hide what is achieved in darkness but all that is taken by us can also be taken through this same cloak. It is then that I would wish for light to be able to guard by burying any riches obtained and to what use are riches obtained in darkness that cannot be shown in the light. For all we do in darkness must remain in its post, enjoyed only by one if wanted to be kept. If not wanted to be kept then why was it taken? Do we endear those who have amassed fortunes because of those same fortunes? Have those who have amassed such fortunes done so in vanity and in ego thought themselves wise and fulfilled against any harshness of life? Would it be more proper to keep one hundred barns of wheat only because it can be done and in a years time use only one barns holdings while the ninety-nine rotted without use, or to give away that ninety-nine without compensation and know the bellies of children had been filled each day of that same year?

 When I no longer sought the comfort of night I knew not how to call the light to myself. In the light of day we can still submerge our self in darkness whether with a cloak or steps to a cellar, yet within a cloak or cellar, there will always be cracks of light breakthrough of which we cannot hide and in those same streams of light we feel warmth and if the light was not welcoming enough, the gift of this warmth draws us to open the cloak, to unpaint a window and to remove the plank completely so we may be bathed more fully in this warmth calling to us loudly as the Sirens of Homers Odyssey yet without the turmoil and death when we listen to the calls of prisons of temptation, desire and risk.
A migraine headache makes us close our eyes and wrap ourselves in darkness as to avoid further discomfort. Evil does the same. A migraine will pass on its own in its time. Evil must be torn from the root, leaving no trace but in conscience and that can be forgiven, but that is a more laborious task than most would care to undertake and the humility involved may just kill the body…but will validate and feed the soul with the riches we acquire in the freedom of cleanliness, much like the pod we jump into to free ourselves from the deep heat of a summer day, except this freedom, this cleanliness and quench of heat is everlasting, past bodily death, as the spirit never dies.

I had read once that darkness and evil do not truly exist. It was explained that darkness can overcome nothing where light exists and that evil and good would have the same inclinations. I believe that darkness and evil do exist but can only exist of themselves and what a lonely and insignificant existence they are. We were not created for either loneliness or insignificance and we were truly created.

May you know you are Blessed with every breath taken without thought, with every sight which brings awe and with every heart beat skipped with love.

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

I love this particular passage from Psalms. The first time I had seen it in print was on a wall in a local Asian Food Buffet. I know I had heard it before but, at that time, was not sure from where. Now whenever I go there, I know where it came from, originally, and it makes me smile that anyone who reads it, is reading the words of King David from The Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.

It also makes me want to be that “He”.

I can say I was well planted. My parents were sure of that. We lived in a great community and were ushered to church every Sunday and Holy Day of obligation. I became an Altar boy at a young age and hung in there till I was nearly 18 years old. We lived in a big house with a front porch big enough for our friends to hang out. We were taught how to cook and clean, we had dinners at the huge dining room table where we were taught nobody eats until Mom sat down and we said Grace. My Grampa lived with us, extending the family tree, also a lesson in love and respecting our elders.

Here’s the thing, though…that tree so well planted did not understand the workings and need of being a good Christian. I dropped out of Mass and religion entirely for near 27 years. I found cigarettes, alcohol and other worse items. I destroyed a marriage with the end results of destroying a perfectly good family. I hurt a lot of people, most important of them all was my children and my wife. Two of my kids spent very little, if any, time with me. They felt that I left them and I knew how badly I had hurt them but I didn’t have a clue how to fix it or how to even apply a band-aid. My parents asked me to not come by any longer after my divorce which leads to further aggravation and loneliness and this leads to consorting with anyone who will keep company with you. The phrase “misery loves company” became a phrase for a reason…because it’s true. When your life becomes only about you, which mine had, then you feel the “you alone circle” which restricts every good feeling from being able to get near you or to touch you.
 I joined a motorcycle club and was working my way up the chain of command. I worked an average of 104 hours each week. Yes…I know that sounds un-doable, but it was…doable…until I destroyed my back and could no longer “do” anything I knew how to do to afford to eat, live, have a home, etc. We would sit at the clubhouse and there was always a story of another divorce and it was never really our fault and none of us could believe that someone like us, “great catches”, could be sitting around a bar with nothing better to do but complain and keep doing what undid our lives.
I left that motorcycle club and was lead to a preacher shortly thereafter who found a way to console me and about 70 others, through the words of the Bible. Every Wednesday night and Sunday morning this young man of about 30 years old would fire up his sermon, literally removing clothing that was too restrictive for him to continue…suitcoat first, then the tie, then the upper buttons near his neck. It was much like binge watching NetFlix where you didn’t want any of it to come to an end. I actually felt drained but empowered at the same time. Every time the service was over I could not believe that three hours had passed when it felt like 20 minutes.
I was living with my eldest brother and then a friend for over 3 years because I could not afford to have a place of my own. My financial situation bloomed a bit and I was able to move into a double with my closest cousin. All new furniture and appliances but that was not the best part. I was able to have a stable home for my children once again. My two younger kids would be there every other weekend and some days during the week. We painted their rooms walls with murals and they were permanently theirs. It housed a huge kitchen where we could make dinners, preparing them together and an actual sit in dining room where we would eat together. Anyone with children will know this feeling of joy and of accomplishment.
My eldest daughter graduated high school and went off to college and it was during this time that I felt healing happening, finally, in my life. We visited. We laughed. I watched her bloom into this intelligent, thoughtful and loving person who, gracefully, allowed me back into her life.
I heard footsteps coming up the stairs to my flat and went to the top as I wasn’t expecting anyone at that time. I hadn’t seen my folks in nearly 8 years. My Ma was crying before she got to me and my Dad was following her, making sure she didn’t fall back down the stairs. It chokes me up just thinking about it. Ma apologized for being gone so long but I knew it wasn’t her doing and she need never apologize for doing what was right. You don’t get in a car with someone who you know is driving into a brick wall, repeatedly.
From that day on they would come by for coffee and tea sometimes three days a week. If you’ve ever been separated from a loved one and then are gifted their return then you know how great a treasure this was. Shortly after we started talking again I had a two week stay in a hospital. The first 7 days or so I don’t even remember. I was in the CCU and then the ICU and then in a regular room for the remainder. Each time I woke up, there they were…sitting, watching me and Mom praying the ever present Rosary. My Ma would start crying and come to hug me, making it all better with her tears. My Dad looked tired but he wasn’t anywhere she was not. That kind of loyalty and love…that is a tree whose leaves do not whither. My kids and my best friend were there so much, too, that it told me, in their presence, I am Blessed. My friend Marky was there so much that my Mom thought he was my nurse. That is a true friend. I was able to go home on July 4th that year. Ma wanted me to come live with them for a while but I really wanted to be home, so they would visit every day for the next month.
My Dad passed away a few years later and I know how Blessed I was to have that contact with him. My Mom needed someone now, to stay with her. We didn’t know she had dementia until Dad passed away and it brought a steep drop in her abilities. They had been going to church every single day. My brothers and I figured we had best keep her on what we knew about their daily schedule so as not to further her decline. Get up, go to Mass, mall walk, breakfast. The going to Mass part was a hurdle for me. I had moved on from the preacher as I was watching far too many people “speaking in tongues”. I’m not saying they weren’t. It just made me feel cheap in being there and I wasn’t into believing in that kind of thing. Well, I was going to take Ma to Mass and then I would drink coffee and smoke cigarettes in the parking lot and wait for her to come back out. I’ve mentioned this before so bear with me if you’ve seen it. As I pulled up to the church, I could count too many exits and I could not see all of them from any one point in the parking lot. This meant two things: I wasn’t going to get my morning smoke and I was going to have to step back into a church. You really do wonder if you’ll be hit by lightning, by the way. Talk about tension!! I was also still grieving the loss of my Dad, had a few insolvent feelings within the family and was tired. I had a lot of pain going on in my mind to say the least. We walked into the church and Ma lead me to the pew that they apparently had owned for their duration of time coming to Mass at that church. Now if you know anyone that goes to church you will also know that they try to sit in the exact same pew every Mass…and if someone has taken this for granted and sits in “their” pew…and that said person has dementia and wants “her” pew…
Well I would not want to be the person that got shot with that 84 year old womans glare!
So that very first Mass, that first coming into the house of God in 27 years, I hear a reading from the Gospel that healed my heart. How does a near two thousand year old book have a reading scheduled on the very day I reluctantly end up in a pew? I have a very slim belief in coincidence. I don’t have a whole lot of anything called luck. I did learn that day that I had a whole lot of stored up stuff that did not matter any longer…and a whole lot more of something I had just tapped in to:

Blessings.

I can’t count them all. Neither could you or even Einstein. There are no charts or narrative that can ever explain them. No college degree, not even at the Theology Doctoral level.
After a few weeks I was introduced, suddenly, to the woman that runs the Religious education for the parish. I was introduced to her by another friend who helped my sons business grow…and I had no idea she was a church going woman until that Mass where she was also attending. She walked us over to the school and said,”Hi Marie. This is Bill and we heard you were looking for another after school teacher for the 9th grade kids. He would love to.” I had no idea how to teach children about God and I had no idea how I was going to do any of this. I heard the readings for 17+ years but I didn’t think they ever, truly set in. I found out that what little I knew would grow exponentially because I had a foundation that those children built on that for me. The year 2020 would have been my 14th year teaching students from the 7th, 8th and/or 9th grades. I was also Blessed with meeting other teachers, Pastors, Priests, Deacons,  parents and more.

I was able to care for my Ma for several years and after I was no longer able to, another Blessing, my brother and his family were able to and they took on the task until her death. She passed away on my 50th birthday. Now follow me here, it was not a bad thing…we now share the same exact birthday. Mine to the earth and her to Heaven. That is a Blessing! Something that nothing can ever take away from. No wind, rain, erosion, hurt feelings and nothing that I could ever do can change that beautiful fact. Another sign from God had to happen, though. She had not opened her eyes for about a week and was unresponsive even when we pulled an eyelid open to see her, or to show her we were there. The doctors had said she would be gone in a matter of days…three weeks earlier. The doctor came in this morning and said she would probably last a few more days. My brother and I had been there for about 3 straight days by then. We decided to take shifts so we could go home and shower, one staying while the other left. I stayed the first shift. When I went back to her room after walking my brother out, there was a Hospice Chaplain named Dottie sitting there, holding her hand. She was a Chaplain of the Christian faith. We talked for a bit and I told stories of my Moms antics and what it was like growing up with 6 siblings. She then asked me if we could pray together before she had to leave. I surely accepted quickly. We held hands and each had one of Moms hands as we started, “Our Father who art in Heaven” and Mom opened her eyes and looked directly into mine. She squeezed my hand during the prayer and as we finished the Lords prayer, she closed her eyes and passed. A prayer probably learned in her earliest childhood…woke her up for me to see her eyes, to know she knew me once again before she went to Jesus. If you know anyone who has dementia then you know how perfect that moment was for me. She knew me once again.

Since that time, I have been able to afford a self-sustaining house with my brother and sister in laws help. A house where I was able to live with my eldest daughter and her family, seeing my oldest granddaughter every day and my 2nd granddaughter being born while there. We lived together for several years until they could afford a house of their own. We continued whole-family dinners even after they moved up until the Covid-tide came to be. I am now expecting my 5th grandchild and my 3rd grandson by my youngest daughter. My eldest brother knows everything about house stuff and has also helped me immensely at the worst times…water heaters breaking, plumbing or electrical concerns, drywall, etc.

What I understand now is that this tree, planted near streams of water, has not pulled his roots from that fertile ground. The sunshine that warms my boughs, the water that feeds my roots and brings all the nutrients up to the farthest branch and leaf is God given.
Prosperity has nothing to do with money or buildings or anything bought and owned.
Prosperity is my children and grandchildren, parents and siblings, those friends that never are too far away.


I wish you peace…and right-willed, God gifted prosperity.
~b
Shine Today™

William J Corbett

Rembrandt-the-three-crosses

 

So many things are associated with right and left now and we rarely see anything defined as “center” or anyone as a “centrist”. It seems very hard to hold value without being ascribed as positive or detriment to one side or the other. It also seems that what we have been born as now holds us captive and we will be judged no matter the content of our character. Even our religious beliefs have been brought in to question on whether we are a good or bad person.
Can anything of one side hold, or not hold, value that can be discerned as positive also on the other? Even people with a common providence have trouble (from their inception) to placing peaceful adherence to their commonalities.

Christians are no longer a community beyond the word alone and are, to too great an extent, intolerant of other denominations (and non-denominated) yet all raise Jesus as their center, their Divine. The Christian Liturgy is taken mostly from the New Testament yet differing Christians use different Bibles some with a lesser number of books or chapters.

Muslim faiths have the same extraordinary split within Shia and Sunni and these are 1,400-year-old forms of identity.  Both follow the Qur’an but we have been witness to thousands of years of wars to prove whom is the higher order. The largest split came immediately after the death of Mohammed. It seems he never selected a successor and had no male heir. One sect believed his successor should be a relative and the other placed his best friend as his heir apparent to lead their faith. 

Those of the Jewish faith are also split  Reform, Orthodox and Conservative. The Orthodox are known to hold fast to the original worship and traditions and the others seem to follow more to cultural seams, yet they also all believe in the Torah. Christianity also believes in the truths of the Torah yet it is called “The Old Testament”. This split came with Jesus, the Christ, a Jew who Christians believe came from the Words of the Torah as the Savior. The One who would come and seamlessly fulfilled all of the words of the Prophets, including His death.

Was Jesus the last centrist?

It seems He never held back any of His healing from anyone. He healed any who would come to Him and even to those whom touched His cloak, never holding back His ability to heal from non-Jews known, better as Gentiles. He fed thousands, not once being sure to remove any one person because of how they were previously associated. He did choose a certain twelve to teach as His Disciples and then to be His Apostolic ministers, and He taught them all, including the one He knew would bring His death. Would we not remove someone from our community or close circle who would want to have us killed? In the writings of our Bible Jesus did not exclude Judas even from His second most Holy hour, better known as The Last Supper. Judas was there and Jesus asked of him only this, “Go now and do this quickly”. Judas did his deed and brought the soldiers to arrest Jesus. One arresting officer was faced down by the Disciple Peter wherein Peter drew his sword and cut off his ear. Jesus told Peter to step away, basically, and even put the ear back on the soldier, healing him. He held no quarrel with the Jewish authorities and continued His quest without giving trouble to Pontius Pilate. 

The final divide came within the crucifixion. Jesus was placed on a cross between two criminals. Both had been arrested and sentenced to death for their misdeeds. Jesus was placed there for disrupting the continence of the Jewish faith of the time. As He hung on the cross He had one to His left and one to His right and even in this time, a time where we would surely be thinking of our life and how this death was going to suck rocks, there was division…and not from those who wanted Him dead but from the two He was stationed between.
Gestas, to His left, criticizes Jesus and asks to be freed from this situation, critical of Jesus power to do so.
To His right hung Dismas. Dismas critical of the way the other thief reprimanded Jesus, rebuked Gestas, telling him that they were the only ones deserving of this penalty box and  never asked to be taken from the situation of which they (two) more rightly deserved but he asked of Jesus one thing…to be forgiven. Jesus, well on His way to succumbing to His crucifixion finds it in His glory to forgive and to testify that the forgiven Dismas will, indeed, see and accompany Jesus to Heaven on that day.
Within the Books of Matthew 5, of Mark 4 and of Luke 11, they bring Jesus words of what we do (or should do) when we light a candle or torch. No one lights a candle and puts it under a bushel to hide it but we put it up to light our path, to have less chance of tripping in the darkness is how I feel it…just in the same way we place lighthouses for ships at sea. They light an area of trouble for the ships so they can avoid certain peril.
In Jesus final act in His humanity, He was placed high above the crowds, in a place of peril named Gethsemane ( place of the skull). He withstood the cruelty of the beatings and lashings, the weight of carrying His cross to the appointed place, the spitting and the slurs that were cast at Him, the driving of spikes through His hands and feet to hold Him tacked to the cross, and in His final breath,” Father, forgive them”. 

Everything, every movement, every culture, every affiliation is placed to the right or to the left. Do we not see the peril of this, yet?

stepping stones

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

 

roads

 

Idol time…surely not misspelled, although it does bring us to the thought, or question, of what do we do in our idle time? Also, what do we make of our idle time? All time is used for something constructive, including our times of rest and relaxation.
I go through a serious transition each year. It lasts approximately three months and it has these times of highs and lows and intricate (and far less) times of trial. It originally started with me going off of any social media from the last day of school (for my grandsons) and I would stay away until the first day of school the following year. I did so because I knew the time I would spend on social media would not benefit the time I could be spending with them. I did not have the ability to just keep it in the background. I’m sure that most people can relate to this: “I’ll just look quickly”. A ten minute perusal always, for me, turned into an hours length or longer…most often longer. Now I am retired so my days have wide open spots where I could be doing laundry or clearing space in the garage, washing the dishes or measuring the windows I want replaced…but, if I open up and see something I’d like to address, positive or not, and in these times “not” is an easy find, still, taking no account of the time, I address the post and I wait to see another response.
Do you do this as well? People that don’t know me well often think I’ve been placed in FaceBook “jail” or, in these times, I could be sick and in hospital. Actually I never feel better than when I am unrestricted in my time and social media…is…a…restriction! We have the icons on the home computer, the work computer, our cell phones, kindles and any type of tablet we own. They have made it ever easier to tune in which, as it seems, allows us to also tune out. We live in times of serious change, and these changes can happen hour by hour if not even minute by minute.
I had oft marveled about how my children had been lucky enough to be born in a time of great technological advances (ie:computers,etc) as they got in on the ground floor of mass use of computers and software changes, even having classes on all of the fine tuning and they seemed to adapt so quickly to all of these changes. I remember fighting geometry and biology in high school and now those things have become fully discussed and taught at a much younger age. Now these school aged children (some) have tablets and laptops that are their sources of learning that go home and back to school. Teachers e-mail a subject and the assigned homework needed to be done…nope, not college and universities but high school and sometimes even lower grades. I am not sure when elementary school children will no longer need a back pack but a sleeve to carry everything they will need for the day, some form of computer.
So, I took a right turn there…
I really want to speak on what we do each and every day that makes us less likely to have a good idol. If social media is your crutch as it was (is) mine, then it is time to disconnect in some great fashion and find a more antiquated way of socializing. We are fed far too much to be able to digest what we are given and in an instant we are either praised or thought we have pledged our soul to “the other side”. Everyone likes praise. It is very easy to enjoy, although it can become embarrassing in public as there are not too many people (beyond politicians) that enjoy becoming a spectacle…think about how many times you have been asked not to have a birthday cake in a restaurant…or you have asked your family not to do such a thing…and that is a celebration worthy of public attention! You’re alive! Another year has passed and you are still here!

What gives you a feeling of accomplishment? When you think back on good times you’ve had, and that feeling wells up inside of you, how do you harness that and recreate it every day?
I do truly enjoy social media for being able to keep tabs on the health and well-being of my family and friends. I have been able to reconnect with my Marine Corps Brothers and Sisters and even attended my first high school reunion, the 40th, because of social media but, not one social media moment has brought me great joy. I can remember finding someone again or someone finding me and that was very nice but it lacks permanent happy feeling status. There are many things that will bring us permanent happy status ie: weddings, anniversaries, especially the high count anniversaries, the birth of children and grandchildren and those times when you laugh so hard that you remember it, beyond the fact that your sides and face hurt.


Myself, I find these joys in my family and friends, the times we spend together and the times that we miss one another. I also enjoy reading, much of which is on religion and the saints and writings of religious people. Venerable Fulton Sheen, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint John of the Cross and Mother Saint Teresa to name a few. We each have a viewpoint into the same ultimate idol in God. What I find in so many people now is the lack of faith in God and in what they replace Him with.
There are many allusions and delusions; porn, gambling, alcohol and drugs just to name a few. Each of these are readily available especially the ones we can access online with the stroke of a key or touch of an icon. The God that I worship and hold as my vice is so often attacked nowadays, as well. Yes, there are many, many Catholics and Christian denominations have become uncountable across the globe but being affiliated with any denomination comes under attack and we are each assigned a “go-to” word that makes us wretched. Because of my faith in Jesus I have been called a supremacist and the listing of my faith in social media circles has brought so many out of the shadows, not literally, and the attacks become more frequent. I think that the ability for so many to hide behind their own keyboard and screen, to remain nameless and faceless emboldens the attacks as they know they will not be able to have direct recourse for these attacks.
My faith is tested at times and I have my own set of weaknesses that I fight against, sometimes daily…but I have a strong enough faith in Jesus to know there is mercy and love, forgiveness and an ever-after life. When I feel I have wandered too far I think of the story of the Prodigal son and I know I will be welcomed immediately home. I also think of the times I wonder if He is real or imagined and I think of Mother Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Read the fascinating book titled “I loved Jesus in the Night”. It explains how someone of true faith and ultimate goodness, someone who put her life second to everyone she met and how she fought for equality but also for food and clothing and better conditions for the poorest of the poor. She watched and cried as children died from lack of medicine and food and clean water. She herself fought with the same darkness and questions we all, as Christians, face…”How could there ever be a God that allows these things to happen?”. It isn’t easily answered, if ever, to a degree where it will be accepted. This woman warrior was in the middle of the harshest reality that we could ever have to endure, yet she did endure. She had questioned whether there is a God, too. I am very sure in her visions of the world it could be very hard kept to ensure people there is a God, yet she, even with her own doubts, never stopped loving God, praying to God and working for God. This is the kind of faith I try to hold and my life has been amazing in its graces and love. This is where I find the ultimate idol for my idle time. What do you have for an idol? When you look upon just yesterday, what did you use most? What drew your attention? What time did you spend in worship? To most adolescents it is gaming and they won’t call it worship but I guarantee if the gaming system or phone or computer were to be closeted for even a day…they would know what they worship and so would you. Children learn what they live, just as I had learned throughout my childhood that Sunday meant God and as I grew older and understood less, everyday is God.
I try to remember every single day that we are only here on earth for a limited amount of time and then comes eternity. I want to spend eternity in a good place. It’s going to be a very long time. Choose God.

May the goodness of the Lord Bless you and protect you and may you find the very thing that will lead you to Him.

I wish you peace!

Shine Today™

~b

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