Snow, The Great Equalizer. January 21, 2015

I woke up this morning to a new coat of snow, transforming nature with its white blanket. The snow that clings to barren tree branches gives these their barrenness beauty and life. But this beauty is fleeting since the snow either falls away of melts.

We can’t hold on to beauty nor can we possess it…beauty is to be relished in the moment and then let go of. Life is forever moving forward and time reminds us that, while life is short , we are given moments of beauty to lift us into Hope. Even though we must not cling to the beauty, we keep it secure in memory. In remembering the beauty of the crisp, brilliantly white snow it is made present to us; beauty lives in the memory.

At the foundation of our faith…our religion….our Church…are the words, “Do this in memory of me.” In the Word and in the Eucharist, Christ comes alive in the memory and in the remembering. In remembering a scene of natural beauty that is so fleeting as melting snow, we are blanketed with the beauty of Grace.
And Christ is Present in the falling of the snow.
You gotta love winter …

Peace and Joy. Fr. Frank

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Encouraging Each Other. January 15, 2015

Discouragement is the great antithesis of HOPE, for when we become discouraged , Hope is deprived of its power to shape our decisions and attitudes. In the Letter to the Hebrews, found in the first reading of today’s Liturgy, the author says that we must “encourage each other daily while it is still today.” None of us wants to be the source of another’s discouragement, which drains the spirit of motivation.
As jesus frees the man of his leprosy, the man runs away in joy rooted in Hope. The healing filled him with “encouragement” to live life in a new way. The very word “encouragement” means to be filled with “courage,” a gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift of courage empowers us to face the many trials of life with resolve and hope.
As I sit praying, I can see the sky beginning to fill with light and color. God, the Artist , is at clearly at work painting the sky in shades of orange and red and pink. These streaks of color fill me with encouragement and hope. My task and yours: be a source of encouragement to those around us , bringing God’s color and beauty into their lives. Be a source of healing to one with “spiritual leprosy “and watch them dance away in joy.

Peace and Joy. Fr. Frank

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Epiphany. January 3, 2015

First post of the New Year. I wrote an entry on January 1st, but it got lost somewhere in cyber space. Epiphany celebrates a journey that leads to an experience which lifts us into a new awareness of ourselves and of life in general. We put on new spiritual glasses that allow us to see the bigger picture. People love to buy different glasses to change their outer “look,” and we now have two new eye glass stores on two short blocks on Armitage, on the street where I live. There’s a song in there somewhere…

It is much more interesting and freeing to put on a different pair of, not frames ,but lenses. Perhaps these new “spiritual lenses “need no frame or border whatsoever. Without the frame containing the lens, our ability to keep refining and enlarging our field of vision will be made easier. The Magi entered the stable and surrendered to discovering God in a baby. Their whole lives changed as they journeyed to find this new born King and the journey was just beginning when they found Christ. After all, they had to change course…routes…to bypass the malevolent forces of Herod.
The Magi had an experience of “epiphany,” that changed the way they saw everything. The star that guided them in the sky gave way to the inner “star” or Light that would guide them for the rest of their lives. But they were totally open to this epiphany. Think of all the opposition and questions that would hound them by friends and family back home. Changing religion and faith can be monumental and earth shattering. Epiphanies may be moments of enlightenment, but they frequently come with rejection and even loss. Let’s face it: if you have had a life changing experience that is not shared by your spouse or friends or co-workers, they can either react favorably, reflecting on the change , or they can turn away because they can’t engage in a new way of seeing life.

But to grow is to change, to be gently moved, in seeing the world with a broader vision. And once this journey has begun, there is no turning back, despite the cost. If God wants us to share in restoring the world around the gospel and the Beatitudes, He will “manifest” and make known to us how we are to concretely make this happen. God wants you to be a living, human “epiphany” in which others can enlarge their field of vision, seeing through new “lenses.” People can be changed and brought face to face with the God of love …..through you.
May the God of all Epiphanies bless you throughout 2015.

Peace and Joy. Fr. Frank

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