Friday, February 19, 2010

My Sacrifice, God, is a Broken Spirit... a Broken, Humbled Heart.



Here are Today's Readings. Please take time to read and pray with them so you can hear one of God's messages for you today.

The reading from Isaiah is particularly interesting and turns our concept of fasting on its head. It reminds us that fasting is not just about giving up but really about giving to others and God. This is the part that resonated with me the most.

"Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own."

What do I do on this list for others? Where do I see myself on this list?

I know for me I like to help in setting free the oppressed. I interpret that as helping people to face their sin or the block between them and God and letting them know it is okay to trust in God. I love helping people to grow in their relationship with God and helping them explore their issues. Being a sounding board for others so they can reflect on their lives is a great joy for me. It is my fasting with joy.

"Not turning your back on your own." I think of my family and how I expect them to be there for me but I am not there for them as much as I could be. I spend more time in my room and out of the house than with them. (Wow this such a great insight from God I literally just had while writing this! Thank you Lord!)

These lines jumped out at me today and reminded me of this soup kitchen I used to go to when I was an atheist. This is an excerpt from my Spiritual Autobiography that I am writing for the Jesuits about my time at the Catholic Worker (2001-Present):

I went to The Catholic Worker, a soup kitchen on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and served soup to the homeless, while I was still an atheist. The Catholic Worker was really the basis of my conversion, back to Catholicism, but when I first got there I had no idea that God was calling me back to Himself. Sadly to say I was spoiled by mother. So growing up I never cooked or even washed the dishes. Usually in Hispanic families the first born male is treated like a prince; at least this has been my experience. At the Catholic Worker I washed dishes, helped cook the soup, serve bread and soup to homeless people, swept the floor, mopped the floor, and my personal favorite was washing the big pot. I really enjoyed it.

I meet people who were funny, weird, from out of state, out of country, people from when they opened the Catholic Worker and, more importantly, people who knew Dorothy. I would hear stories about her. About her sincerity, gracefulness, her beauty, her quick and sharp tongue, and her devotion to people that she served. It was inspiring. I began to read her writings about finding Christ in the poor and taking care of the least of our brethren. Her thoughts on nonviolence and concern for the poor resonated with me on a deep level and I began think that I if was Catholic I would have to live like this. Since then the homeless have always been in my heart and serving them has been a significant meeting place for me and God. The image of Fritz Eichenberg’s, “Christ on the Breadlines” has been a constant reminder for me of finding God anywhere in anyone. I still go back when I can and an event like May Day is a great day to catch up with people; to be reminded of my roots.

"The Christ of the Breadlines"
By: Fritz Eichenberg 1952

This has always been one of my favorite pieces of art. It speaks so much to me about my life and how I serve Jesus. This picture and the reading from Isaiah remind me of Matthew 25:34-40:

Psalm 51 in the Responsorial Pslam is amazing! There is such a rich history there and it has been influential throughout Judaism and Christianity. Pope Benedict talks about, in his book The Spirit of the Liturgy,when the first Temple was destroyed Israel did not know what to do because they could not offer sacrifices for worship. Many of the prophets in the Old Testament talk about how God wants our hearts not burnt animals. So when Israel could not offer sacrifices the Psalms and praying "with a contrite heart" became the new sacrifice to God; Psalm 51 had a incredibly influential role in this change. When the Second Temple was built people returned to animal sacrifice and now combined it with prayers throughout the day. When Jesus became Incarnate and was Crucified, His sacrifice became the perfect sacrifice to God. So Fridays for Catholics should always remind us of the Crucifixion the same way Sunday reminds us of the Resurrection. We can see this when we pray the rosary and how on Friday we pray the Sorrowful Mysteries and Sunday the Glorious Mysteries, (The same reason that on Thursdays we pray the Luminous Mystery to remember the Last Supper, The Institution of the Eucharist).

Why do I mention this? The Church has given us the Liturgy of the Hours; which are prayers, Pslams and readings we say at different hours of the day to help us to sanctify our whole day. Here is an explanation from a great website dedicated to the Liturgy of the Hours.

The Liturgy of the Hours is the prayer of the whole People of God. In it, Christ himself “continues his priestly work through his Church.” His members participate according to their own place in the Church and the circumstances of their lives. The laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office either with the priests, among themselves, or individually.

This Psalm, when we meditate on it, will probably be a reflection of how we feel on any give day. It is a great Psalm to pray with and to imitate. I always wonder about what did Jesus think when he would sing these Pslams and pray them thanking Our Father for his lungs which help him to worship God everyday.

1 comment:

  1. These entries are smurfin' good! I just got caught up from 2/4/10. Good job dude, you're an inspiration. Now if only you could post them BEFORE I have Mass I could steal them for my homilies...
    Stay classy