Sunday, March 21, 2010

Searcher of Heart and Soul


So today I sent an email.

I know that doesn't sound like a big deal because of how many emails are sent a day but this one has a prayer attached to it.

The Psalms tells us that Our Lord searches our hearts and soul.

But why is my heart so hidden that is don't even know what it is hiding. I spend so much time wondering what is in my heart that it sadens me. It took the flipping of a coin to help me realize what is my desire.

"And Louis casted lots for his heart."

For my heart... How often do I do things for or even from my heart? I am not talking about just eating better but I am talking about what feeds my soul. I sometimes focus on my wounds so much I forget how well the other parts are doing. I believe I am so used to this pain that I don't even want to get better!

"When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be well?""
- John 5:6

When I heard this I remember thinking, "well duh! Who wouldn't want to be healed?" Well if that is the case then why don't I do things that help me be well.

So I try to heal myself. And try again. And again. And I get angry because I can't heal myself. And therein lies the problem. I cannot heal myself.

What a profound reality!

I need a healer! I always think I need God when I can't do something, but it is because of God that I can do anything. But healing is like growing, I can only contribute to an environment for those events to occur. And God does the growing. I need a Savior because I can't save myself.

Lord help me to accept you as my Savior because I cannot save myself at all! I am the one causing my problems as it is!

Pray well!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Still Playing Catch UP! Sorry!


I am playing catch up. I haven't been writing everyday and I apologize for that. I want to recommit to my Lenten Observance.

The other day in prayer I felt that the Lord invited me to go deeper.

It was a scary moment. I said OK Lord I trust you.

And it is still scary. I feel like I have been at similar points like this before in November and during other parts of my life. Before I have decided to runaway, other points I have tried to face it a little at a time. I am now trying to face it full on and asking God to give the courage to convert me to Him.

Yesterday was a difficult day because I had trouble getting out of the house. Scenes from November came back to me and I wasn't sure what to do. I kept telling myself that it wasn't happening. After about an hour of that I realized it was like November again.

The only way I can describe it is like when St. Ignatius had his conversion. Not so much the deep giving my life over part but the physical reality and events of the situation. When Ignatius was hit with a cannonball in leg during a battle he was taken to a doctor. They set his leg and bone in place and it wasn't set properly. He didn't like the way the bone was set because it made his leg look weird in boots so he asked the to reset it twice!

All this before anestesia!

My wounds are healing but something keeps going wrong and they have to opened again to heal properly. I know the Lord is healing me and I was hoping that it would be more like an instant heal. But Our Lord, The Great Physician, is more like a physical therapist. He heals my broken arm and teaches me how to use it again. The process maybe be painful but it is worth it. He heals my wounds caused by sins and the damage other people have done to my life and teaches me how to let go of my old ways so I may be human again. I know the Lord can heal me instantly and maybe that is for me and maybe it is not. All I do know is that this is where God and I are at. A healing process so I can route out any signs of sin and its effect. The Lord teaches me how to live my life by the way He lived His.

All of the readings this week reflected this. The God wants us to make a decision and not be on the spiritual fence. I think He wants us to be aware that we are making this decision every moment. It is not something that just occurs once and a while but that we prepare ourselves for the moments when we are needed to stand up for Him and others. He wants our hearts! He wants to let us know that everything will be great if we trust Him.

My prayer life has been interesting recently. Every time I talk to God about the challenging events going on in my life he says to me:

Yes but do you trust Me?

I am trying to Lord but I keep holding myself back. Help me to get rid of what is stopping me from knowing You.

Are you sure Louis?

Yes Lord.

OK. Let's go deeper...

The Lord is my Shepherd.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Story is NOT About us


Here are the readings for 3/6/10.

I always find it fascinating how self-centered I can be. I think that if most things are not directly about me then they are indirectly about me. I can be having a conversation with someone and only talk about myself and my experience. I always think about this when I read the parable of the Prodigal Son.

Rembrandt's The Return of The Prodigal Son,
I highly recommend the book:
The Return of The Prodigal Son by: Henri Nouwen.
It is excellent!

I was reading this and I took some notes on the Gospel and I would like to share them with you.

A reading from the Gospel according to St. Luke.

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,

(The Pharisees were very concerned with legalistic purity. They wanted the rules in Leviticus, which were meant for the Levites and priest, to be applied to everyone. They asserted their Jewish identity by want to separate completely from Gentiles. Tax collectors worked with and for those very same Gentiles; and the sinners were ritually impure people. They did not like Jesus for this at all!)

“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’

(At the time for a son to ask for his inheritance it meant that he didn't if his father lived or died. The younger son just wanted the money and if anything preferred the father to die already so he could get the money.)

So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.

(He acted on impulse and did not plan well at all. He wasted his money by misuse.)

When he had freely spent everything, (This was some SERIOUS partying!)
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.

(Since he is talking to Jews, we can pretty much be sure that this family was Jewish. For this younger son to hire himself out to local citizens, or Gentiles, to take care of the pigs, which were animals that were NOT kosher, and more than likely they would also make him work on the Sabbath. To the Pharisees. whom he was addressing, this is one of the worse things that could happen to a person; it would be better to be dead.)

Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’

(He wasn't actually sorry. He was going to tell his father what he thought his father wanted to hear. He was not sincere because he just wanted to get out of his situation and not necessarily make amends with his father. You can almost hear him practicing his speech over and over again as he walked home.)

So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.

(His father was waiting for him and RAN to his son. Instead of hating his son for wanting him dead, he RAN to his son, EMBRACED him and KISSED him. When was the last time when you ran, embraced, and kissed someone who hurt and wounded you in the worst way possible? I can tell you when was mine. NEVER. I can't even imagine loving like that. I know I am not near that but I would like to be at a point in my life.)

His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.

(His dad really didn't care what his son had to say. The son didn't have to say anything at all. The father was just happy to see him. How many times when someone hurts me do I expect this big apology and to see them truly sorry for what they did. Or least to have seen them suffer something for the wrong they did. In our own lives, "we say what goes around comes around." If the father were to say, "Since I am dead to you, you are dead to me." And everyone would have said that would have been perfectly fine and justifiable. But that is not what the father did.)

Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’

(Wow, how long was this older brother holding this in for? Another thing that was interesting is that HE became angry, HE refused to enter the house and the father had to beg HIM to come inside and celebrate.' Our own anger and the things we cannot let go of only prevent us from enjoying life. Sometimes we choose to try to hurt people by withdrawing our presence from them. I do not think if the father also gave him a fatted calf everything would be better. The older son says something interesting in that when he accuses his brother he says, "YOUR son," not "MY brother." He wants to disassociate himself from his family. Also he accuse his brother of wasting it on prostitutes, all we know in the parable is that he 'dissipated' it. He said this to hurt his whom he felt hurt him.)

He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’“

Wow this guys is 2 for 2! I think if this was me I would have done one of two things; either tell the older son, you are wrong and do what you'd like but I am celebrating his return, stay out here if you want. Or I would have said, you know you are right, what was I thinking, call your friends over and celebrate all your years of dedication to me and let's send your brother away. But the father does not do any of those and loves them both equally. What a tremendous heart!

This story reminds me of me being self-centered, simply because of the title of the story. We call it, "The Return of the Prodigal Sso," BUT THE STORY IS NOT ABOUT THE SON!!! It is about the Father and His Love. I think it should be called "The Parable of the Forgiving Father," or, "The Loving Father." But we think the story is about us. The story isn't called "The Indignant Son," who is also a main character in the story but we would rather see ourselves as the Son who returns.

I just thought these are some interesting reflections similar to how Henri Nouwen calls us to examine each character in the story and see which one are we in different times in our life.

PS. How does the story end? Does the older brother come to the party?

It does not say. Jesus is using a specific story telling device which allows the reader to enter the story and finish it for themselves. We hope we choose to enter the party but God still respect our freedom if we don't.)

Pray well!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Remember the Marvels the Lord has Done!


Look at the Marvels the Lord has done fo' us!

Today I was reading and praying on the readings and this line stood out.

Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

I am not sure why it is but, I know I don't have as much wonder as I should. I think I am so used to hearing things explained away that I forget that THE FACT that it exists, is amazing! The following pictures hopefully will help me explain this.

The Aura Borealis

Scientists tells us that this is just because of Nitrogen Ions regaining an electron and the photons released from that interact with the solar wins that are drawn to Earth because of it's magnetic field due to all the iron in the Earth.

Oh that's it? That not a big deal... Wait a second. Look at what is happening! All these little events and occurrences are happening that we had no idea of and cannot see, but my God, look at the effects! How can you not think that is beautiful! Because so many times if we can explain something then it loses its mystery and attraction. But its ironic that when we find a Mystery we cannot explain, we ignore it and chose not to believe it.

A Newborn Child

I think we sometimes forget, at least I do, that we came from one single cell. Let me say that again with some more emphasis:



Do you know how many cells are in the human body? Don't bother because NO ONE does!

There is no possible way to calculate it. Different Scientist estimate between ten trillion and one hundred trillion cells. Since I am a visual person I will write that out:

10,000,000,000,000 to 100,000,000,000,000

There are more cells ONE human body than scientists estimate are stars in the universe. Woah. AND THAT IS JUST IN ONE PERSON. Now imagine all the atom and sub atomic particles that make up every THING in the universe. Mind boggling... Think about that next time you look in the mirror or see a new born child.


We have a chance to connect with the Divine...

We can speak to Infinity and Eternity...

And by the way, not getting what you want is not a reason to think prayer isn't anything real. That is called selfishness. That is like saying my parents don't love me because they won't buy me a Life-Size Replica of Captain America's Shield; as if the food and support and LIFE they give me is not enough.

You love me don't you? You will buy it for me right?!?!?

We can speak to God and, if we know how to listen to Him, can hear Him speaking back. I am sometimes so blown away by the fact that we can speak to God I just stop thinking; I think that is what is known as awe.

There are things I have done to others that should have ended any possible friendship I could have had with this person and vice versa. But we move on. We grow from it and grow together because of it. We have the ability, which can sometimes seem VERY irrational, to continue loving a person no matter what. I think most people know of stories in their families and their friends where forgiveness should not have been an option but it was and that made all the difference.

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
- Robert Frost

What if this was about forgiveness in our life? Even in our own culture and life we say "Take the high road." Forgiveness is that high road.

Remember the marvels the Lord has done for us.

This is a command not a suggestion. It wasn't written as:

Hey it would be nice if you could remember the marvels the Lord has done for you, but if you don't, that is cool too...

What marvels has God done in my own life? It is probably as numerous as the number of cells in my body...

Remember the marvels the Lord has done for you!!!

Pray well!

Friday, March 5, 2010

You Gonna Eat That?


Here are the readings for 3/4/10.

I have been struggling with this reading for the last couple of days. I thought I had this great post all ready to type up. But then something happened...

My spiritual director.
(This is what he look like when I tell him I haven't been praying)

He said sometimes when he is praying with the readings, he has to be careful that he listens to what God has to say to him and not just what would be a good homily. He said that it is a problem that priest face because some of them give homilies everyday. And for myself I found that, at least, with today's reading I was doing that.

I had this great idea on how I would talk about the seriousness of following God because of the chasm between heaven and hell and ... Then I was like wait a minute! But what is God telling me.

So I took it right back to prayer and when I read it again this part stood out the most.

“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores
- Luke 16:19-21

And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
"Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon."

Then Jesus said to her in reply, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed from that hour.

Though this picture is a obviously a joke, I wonder if the person who drew this read this passage. I never expected a cartoon to help me understand the Gospel better except for this one.

Anime called Trigun. Gospel all over the place.

I like this reading because I think it goes so well with the last line in today's reading. After Lazarus and the rich man die, Lazarus goes to the bosom of Abraham and the rich man goes to hell. The rich man asks Abraham:

‘Then I beg you, father, send him[Lazarus]
to my father’s house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said,
‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.’

-Luke 16:27-31

God gave the Israelites the Torah and sent them His Only Son to bring them back to God. They are given Moses and the prophets that pointed to the very actions that Jesus is doing yet they chose not to believe. And ironically Abraham says that even if someone should rise from the dead they still wouldn't believe and that is exactly what happened.

At the Bible Study that I go to, I felt it was so perfect that I heard this reading because I am studying Moses and the prophets now. It has helped my faith incredibly. God has broken open the Scriptures to me and I feel like I am at a spiritual banquet. I know this sounds all 'religious' but there is no other way to explain it. God is just that good.

He reminds me how important studying his word is to get to know the Word. Sometimes Providence, which is God's plan for the universe, is just so incredible. Here is what I mean:

1) God inspired St. Luke to put this story in the Gospel. Out of all the stories he could have put. He put this one in his Gospel. Over 1900 years ago!

2) A Church council decided that this book was Divinely inspired and kept it as one of the Four Canonical Gospels. Over 1700 years ago.

3) From now until then certain events had to happen:

A Liturgical calendar was established and approved.

People prayed over what readings went with that day during that season in that year.

It was revised and agreed upon.

All this happened over the course of 1700 years.

Flash forward to the 1970's when my parents met, who met at a specific place and time.

I was born, mind you my mom first had a miscarriage so I would have been her second son.

I grew up in and out of the Church but stayed close.

I randomly went to a pizza and met people from Frassati who happen to have a Bible study on THURSDAYS, who just happen to be studying the Old Testament.

I have spent this Lent praying over the readings and trying to pay attention line by line.

And the day I go to the Bible Study, I just happen to hear the importance of listening to Moses and the Prophets because many will not chose salvation even if someone rises from the dead. By hearing this my faith deepens.


Mind you this is not including everyone else's lives who were all involved in all of this.

If any of these events were off at all this would not have happened. AND THESE ARE JUST THE SCRAPS FROM THE TABLE! But Jesus calls us to eat the food that was not only intended for Israel but for all people. He lifts us up to the altar to eat of His very Body and Blood, His very Life itself, that was broken because of us and for us.

yeah that is crazy...

Thank you Lord for ... well.. everything!

I think this songs sums it all up.

Pray well!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Life is in Your Hands


The Big Lebowski: They did not receive the money! Her life was in your hands!
Brandt: This is our concern, Dude

Here are today's reading:

So to be honest, I read the wrong readings for today lol.

I prayed over the readings for tomorrow. BUT when I looked over the readings for today, the Psalm struck me.

"But as for me, I trust in you, Lord,
I say: "You are my God.
My life is in your hands, deliver me,
from the hands of those who hate me.
Let your face shine on your servant.
Save me in your love."
- Psalm 31:15-17

What an amazing image! My LIFE is in YOUR hands. And here comes the question you knew I was going to ask: But do we really believe that?"

Do I really think that God cares for me that intimately?

I feel like this is such a difficult problem for me. How do I know that the invisible God loves me?

For me it comes down to the fact that He became incarnate. The Incarnation is such an amazing event in history.

There was an understanding in Greek Philosophy that was running rampant due logical study. If Eternity and Time are completely separate, then how can we communicate with the Divine at all? For many Greeks they started to abandon their religious ways and embraced philosophy. When the Roman Empire took over, they adopted many different aspects of the Greek's culture especially their pagan gods which the Romans just basically renamed. They renamed them after the planets in our solar system.

I am mentioning this because during Jesus' time they were under Roman rule. The Greek philosophical system had pretty much believed in a Watchmaker Creator. A god who created the world and does not play any part in it at all. And they would be right... unless God reveals himself to humanity.

Enter stage right: Judaism claiming to the Gentiles that Yaweh, the God of gods, who cares for them like a spouse, who looks after them like a parent, who protects them like a king and who guides them like a shepherd, choose them as His very own people; His firstborn to all the nations. Then comes Jesus, the awaited Messiah of the Jewish people, the Chosen one of the chosen People. He reveals God's Triune nature and that He is the Second person in the Trinity. He who became incarnate, and is named Jesus (Hebrew for 'God saves') , has shown the world that God really does care for us intimately. Because of Jesus entering into human existence, He gave the invisible God a face.

When we unite our prayers to His prayers and thanksgiving to Father, humanity finally had a way to speak and know God. His thanksgiving is His obedience and trust in God, which is seen through his Crucifixion and Resurrection, that shows us that God does not abandon us. We can know God only when we unite ourselves to Jesus. Through prayer and communion with Jesus we can know God personally; without Him it just a bunch of ideas of what God might be like. They might sound like nice ideas, like a generic Lover, but unless it is connected to a person who reveals themselves in human history it just stays a nice idea. Since Jesus Ascended into heaven, Time has now entered into Eternity and the Eucharist is Eternity present in Time. This uniting of heaven and earth is because of the union of Christ, the Bridegroom, to His bride, the Church.

"...And the two of them become one body."

The Church united mystically to Jesus exists in both Eternity and Time, the link between heaven and earth.

Christ and his Church thus together make up the "whole Christ" (Christus totus). The Church is one with Christ. The saints are acutely aware of this unity:

Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God's grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members; he and we together are the whole man. . . . The fullness of Christ then is the head and the members. But what does "head and members" mean? Christ and the Church. - St. Augustine

Our redeemer has shown himself to be one person with the holy Church whom he has taken to himself. - Pope Gregory the Great

Head and members form as it were one and the same mystical person. - St. Thomas Aquinas

A reply of St. Joan of Arc to her judges sums up the faith of the holy doctors and the good sense of the believer: "About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter." - St. Joan of Arc

So why do I mention this? Because I need to know that the Church is where its at!

Because Jesus became Incarnate, reveals to us that there is relationship in God, He allows us to share in His relationship with the Father and the Spirit.

I need to know, as Pope Benedict says that, "Christian Prayer is addressed to a God who hears and listens." - The Feast of Faith page 31

I need to know that my life IS in His hands and IF my life is NOT in His hands then there really is no point; and this is all a random waste of time.

Psalm 69:2-4

"Save me, God, for the waters have reached my neck.
I have sunk into the mire of the deep, where there is no foothold.
I have gone down to the watery depths;
the flood overwhelms me.
I am weary with crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes have failed,
looking for my God."

Is my life in Your hands Lord? Or will I drown?

"But as for me, I trust in you, Lord,
I say: "You are my God.
My life is in your hands, deliver me,
from the hands of those who hate me.
Let your face shine on your servant.
Save me in your love."
- Psalm 31:15-17

A modern version of this picture would look like this from this website:

Our life is in Your hands Lord, literally!

Pray well!