Sunday, October 31, 2021

Catholics and Halloween

  The Great Christian Feast-Halloween - by Michael Dubruiel




This is one of those thoughts that comes to you in a moment of clarity with such force that you wonder how it could be that everyone just doesn't see the truth of it.

Last night when I made one of my few trips to the door to hand out candy, it just hit me. There I was confronted with a skull painted white on the face of an African American, who was standing there holding open a bag, expecting something from me.

A home invasion? No.

Trick or Treat!

I gladly obliged his request with a handful of candy and he turned and went on his merry way to join the other hordes of beggars that flooded our streets.

I had just fulfilled the mandate of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I had just welcomed Him in the guise of the hungry, "When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat." Matthew 25!

"When did we see you Lord?"

"Whenever you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it to me."

Is there anytime left in our year when Americans are so blatantly Christian, welcoming the strangers that come to their door? Is there anytime that we reward those who on purpose try to repulse us by their costumes?

Yet the thought that it is better to give than receive dominates this day and truly the day fulfills its purpose of being the eve of All Saints Day! For if we are ever to join the saints we must learn to make everyday Halloween!

So that today when we meet those we might otherwise demonize, we give what we have freely as though we were meeting Christ Himself in the streets (and if we believe the Gospel message we are in fact meeting him)!

I used to joke that strangers could in fact be demons, (this was when the angel rage was in full swing and I use to make the point that yes a stranger might be an angel but who is to say if it is a good one or a bad one--sort of a twist of the Glenda the Good Witch's question to Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ, "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"), but I would ask you to reflect on Halloween a bit more with me.

If we give to the stranger, indeed we welcome them as Christ. But if we look at the stranger only as someone who has something to give and we judge them based on that we are apt to conclude that all strangers are demons!

For example if we start viewing every middle eastern looking Arab that we do not know personally as a terrorist we are forgoing an opportunity to see them as Christ (who happened to be of middle eastern descent). Abraham was visited by three strangers (one would presume of middle eastern descent) and he fed them--they turned out to be angels and they gave him a blessing! But let's suppose that we in fact do come across some terrorists in our daily activities. What if our interaction with them, seeing them as Christ and giving them whatever we have to give at that moment (even if it is only a smile of acceptance) led them to change their whole way of viewing Americans?

It is sad to think that a day that is the perfect example of what it means to be a Christian has been protested by so many Christians in this country. Do they read the Gospels?

No one is celebrating or worshipping demons on Halloween. The children who dress up in their costumes are playacting and giving the individual behind every door an opportunity to imitate Christ.

It is also sad that many miss the point in the other direction. They overdo it in the name of "everyone else is doing it" and light their houses up as though it is Christmas, rather than encountering the little masked Christs in the darkness the way it is intended to happen and does happen in daily lives. The vacuous nature of their souls demands making a show of their giving. Sadly they have already received their reward--the empty praise of their neighbors and friends.

There have been moves lately among some Catholics to have children dress up as saints-- this may be a fine thing to do on All Saints day but it totally misses the point of Halloween. We will never be saints, nor will we imitate them, until we open the door everyday and welcome the ghouls we encounter as though they are Christ.



Saturday, October 30, 2021

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God - 53c

   This is a continuation of the the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruielthe previous posts are available in the archives to the right. This is step 53 part 3




(53) Not to love much speaking.




Why? Too often when we speak much we say things that might better be left unsaid. If Benedict were writing today, he might also add not "to love too much blogging" which could easily be a modern equivalent to "too much speaking." Bloggers know that writing what you are thinking can come back to bite you sometimes.



God first, everything else second. We are to pray always, even before we speak. "God is this going to build the person up?" "Lord is this your will?" All should proceed what might flow too quickly from our lips and not be according to God's will for us.



The flip side of course is that someone who loves to talk will hardly make a good monk. Since monks thrive on silence (and we should nurture ourselves with this too), someone who loves to talk obviously would be miserable in such a setting.





But the counsel is beneficial to all of us. "Think before you speak," becomes "Pray before you speak."


Michael Dubruiel

Friday, October 29, 2021

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God - 53b

   This is a continuation of the the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruielthe previous posts are available in the archives to the right. This is step 53, part 2




(53) Not to love much speaking.





I was seated with a monk who I had meant several times before, Father Louis, in his late 70's he still leads a very busy life wearing a number of "hats" at the monastery not the least of which is to entertain guests. He told me that two of his heroes were fallen and that made him sad.



"Who were they?" I asked.



"President Clinton and Archbishop Weakland." He responded.



He went on to say that Clinton had been for the poor and for the life of me I can't remember what Weakland had done that enamored him to Father Louis, although Weakland was also a Benedictine monk so that probably had something to do with it.

We carried on a conversation about current projects that I was working on and Father Louis weekend parish work. It was an ironic visit, because we were both doing the very thing that Benedict counsels the monk not to do "to love much speaking."
Michael Dubruiel

Thursday, October 28, 2021

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God - 53a

   This is a continuation of the the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruielthe previous posts are available in the archives to the right. This is step 53, part 1.




(53) Not to love much speaking.



Recently while a guest at the monastic table of a monastery I was privileged to be there on a night when talking was allowed in celebration of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Normally meals are taken in silence at this monastery, while a monk reads from the Rule of St. Benedict, the martyrology and usually a book that would be of interest to the monks (this final selection could be a current bestseller).



So on this night, after the blessing was said and we were seated there was a few minutes of silence while the lector read from the Rule and the martyrology before the abbot rang a bell signaling that we could speak. The one line that was read from the Rule was "not to love much speaking."


Michael Dubruiel

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God - 52b

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael DubruielThe previous posts are in the archives to the right. This is step 52 part 2


Michael Dubruiel




(52) To guard one's tongue against bad and wicked speech.


....



"Again you have heard that it was said to the men of old, `You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.' But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply `Yes' or `No'; anything more than this comes from evil", (Matthew 5: 33-37).



It seems like this says pretty well what we are to avoid. Yet isn't it strange how this basic teaching of Jesus is ignored? How we still speak vows before God and man?



The teaching of Jesus is pretty clear that we are not God and we do not know what the future holds--God alone knows this. So any attempt on our part to declare that we will do something forever is actually rather unchristian--I know that this will be misunderstood so let me clarify. God is the source of our existence and our life. Every act that we do throughout the day should be dependent upon His Will for us. Anytime that our attitude is that we can do anything without his help we are as Jesus says doing something that "comes from evil."

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God - 52a

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael DubruielThe previous posts are in the archives to the right. This is step 52 part 1


Michael Dubruiel




(52) To guard one's tongue against bad and wicked speech.



This counsel will be followed by another which was read while I was recently a guest at the monastic table of the monks at Saint Meinrad Archabbey-namely "not to love much speaking," which solves much of the problems that we might encounter with this counsel. Guarding one's tongue, catching oneself before one speaks, is a valuable maxim especially if you are an extrovert who speaks whatever crosses your mind. The same might be said for introverts who are apt to do the same in writing (and in the days of blogs, instant messaging and email--the dangers are plenty!).



What is "bad" and "wicked" speech?



If we look to the Gospels for an answer we might be surprised at what Jesus identifies as such--vows:

Monday, October 25, 2021

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God - 51b

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel. The previous posts are in the archives to the right. This is step 51 part 2


Michael Dubruiel



(51) And to disclose them to our spiritual father.


.....



Then we should allow our spiritual father to point out to us that our trust is to be placed in God's power and not in our own ability to reform.



A trusting relationship with a spiritual father can greatly aid our spiritual growth, but we should never allow this "advice" to become anything more than that. Too often people have fallen greatly because they made their spiritual father into their "god" rather than as a means to grow closer to God.



Sinful thoughts can grow in the dark. By bringing them to the light to someone who is wise in the spiritual life we shed light on our darkness. This has the effect of causing the cockroaches to scurry back into their hiding places. Naming our demons makes exorcising them a possibility.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

St. Anthony Mary Claret October 24

 

by Michael Dubruiel
\

St. Anthony Mary Claret was the bishop of Santiago, Cuba which at one time included not only Cuba but all of Florida and Louisiana.


Prayer to St. Anthony Mary Claret:

St. Anthony Mary Claret, during your life on earth you often comforted the afflicted and showed such tender love and compassion for the sick and sinful. Intercede for me now that you rejoice in the reward of your virtues in heavenly glory. Look with pity on me (or on the person afflicted or whose conversion is desired)and grant my prayer, if such be the will of God. Make my troubles your own. Speak a word for me to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to obtain by her powerful intercession the grace I yearn for so ardently, and a blessing to strengthen me during life, assist me at the hour of death, and lead me to a happy eternity. Amen.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God - 51a

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel. The previous posts are in the archives to the right. This is step 51 part 1


Michael Dubruiel



(51) And to disclose them to our spiritual father.



Having a trusted person to share our spiritual journey with is a fundamental aspect of the spiritual life. Catholics do this when they celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance to a degree, but it is done more completely when one chooses a spiritual director to guide them along their path to Christ.



This is no easy task for either the one giving direction or the one receiving it. It requires trust and openness. Above all it requires being open to the action of the Holy Spirit. There is always the danger in this process for abuse and one should never allow their "director" to lead them away from Christ.



But what if we are scrupulous and not trusting in the mercy of Christ? Then we should allow our spiritual mentor to direct us to the Gospels to encounter the Christ who forgives seventy times seven.



But what if our problem is a sin that we commit over and over again?

Friday, October 22, 2021

October 22 - Pope John Paul II

  You can get John Paul II's Biblical Way of the Cross by Michael Dubruiel and Amy Welborn here.  


In 1991, Pope John Paul II introduced a new Bible-based interpretation of the Stations of the Cross. This devotional guide invites readers to prayerfully walk in solidarity with Jesus on his agonizing way of the cross—from his last torturous moments in the Garden of Gethsemane to his death and burial.

Now with full-color station images from previously unpublished paintings by Michael O'Brien, this booklet creates an ideal resource for individual or group devotional use, particularly during the Lenten season.

"michael Dubruiel"

Thursday, October 21, 2021

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God part 50

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spritual Communion with God by Michael DubruielThe previous posts are in the archives to the right. This is step 50:




(50) To dash at once against Christ the evil thoughts which rise in one's heart.



St. Benedict's counsel is wise. Our Lord gave his disciples "power" and that same "power" is available to us, we should avail ourselves tof this powert when we most need it. We need it most when evil thoughts are at their very infancy within our emotions, when they "rise in one's heart." At that moment we should run like a little toddler to Our Lord.



Being a disciple of Our Lord requires this child like faith. In fact the greatest evil thought that can arise in our hearts is to start thinking that we are finally "mature" enough in the spiritual life and don't need to do this. As Our Lord said when his disciples returned from a very successful missionary journey, "I saw Satan fall like lightning!" Pride over the gifts that we have been given can quickly cut us off from the source of our salvation.



So with child like faith we move through life ever vigilant over our thoughts, scrupulously turning to Our Lord at every moment where evil seems to lurk.



Benedict's image of 'dashing against" calls to mind a clutching disciple, grabbing hold of Our Lord's garment lest we fall. It is a good image because the desparation that it suggests is what we are faced with in our daily lives. As St. Paul said, "Examine yourselves, lest you fall."


Michael Dubruiel

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God 49b

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel The previous posts are in the archives to the right. This is step 49 part 2



Michael Dubruiel




(49) To hold as certain that God sees us everywhere.





This is the "type" of God who sees us no matter where we are, a loving God. One who is not up there waiting to strike us dead and send us to Hell, but one who is willing to come down and become a man and walk in our midst and to suffer and die when we reject Him--and then to come back again to offer us forgiveness. "His mercy endures forever."





Today, and everyday be mindful of the presence of God, always with you no matter if you believe or not. In the words of an old Latin saying, Vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit, "Bidden or not bidden God is present."

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

73 Steps to Deeper Spirituality by Michael Dubruiel - 48b

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel. The previous posts are in the archives to the right. This is step 48 part 2.




(48) To keep a constant watch over the actions of our life.



....




Unfortunately, for me it was a one time event. But I have noticed that the more I pray, the more vigilant I become. The more I notice others that cross my path. The less I travel through my day on automatic pilot.



Most of us might raise the excuse of there being too many distractions in life for us to be truly vigilant. But therein lies the distinction--distractions demand our attention. What we call distractions are things that we are ignoring that are clamoring for our attention. The vigilant persons pays attention to everything they are doing and thinking.



The image of a psychic who seems to see and hear voices that no one else hears seems an apt representation of the vigilant person. All of us carry with us intense memories of past experiences, these play a heavy role in the way we act toward others. The vigilant person will discern the "other" people in the room so to speak when they encounter their daily contacts.





Prayer and discernment are both necessary to be truly vigilant in our actions. We need to truly see what creates our reactions to people and events and bring them to God. To free ourselves from inordinate attachments. As the Book of Wisdom says to be vigilant will "free us from all care." No regrets, only gratitude.

Michael Dubruiel

Monday, October 18, 2021

Feast of St. Luke - October 18

 


From Luke, from The holy Bible, Revised Standard version:

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which
have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who
from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good
to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an
orderly account for you, most excellent The-oph'ilus, that you may know the
truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.

Luke 1:1-4


Michael Dubruiel 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

73 Steps to Deeper Spirituality by Michael Dubruiel - 48a

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel. The previous posts are in the archives to the right. This is step 48 part 1:




(48) To keep a constant watch over the actions of our life.



We read in the Book of Wisdom "To fix one's thought on her is perfect understanding, and he who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care", (Wisdom 6:15). Vigilance is a hallmark of monastic life, it is why silence has always been valued in that setting.



Vigilance requires attentiveness. Everyone has had the experience where they arrive home after driving the daily route only to discover that they remember nothing about the trip they have just made presumably awake. Much of life can become so routine that we are oblivious to those around us.



Monks have a practice of keeping "vigil." I once tried something similar when I attended school at a monastery. I decided that I would simply spend the night with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I took along a Bible, a rosary and sat in a small oratory. Just the Lord and me. The time passed rather quickly. There were no great revelations during that period of prayer, but what I did notice was that during the next few days everything seemed more intense. It was almost as though the world was suddenly in "high definition" vs. the black and white that it usually seems to be.


Michael Dubruiel

Saturday, October 16, 2021

73 Steps to Spritual Communion with God - 47a

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel. The previous posts are in the archives to the right. This is step 47:




(47) To keep death before one's eyes daily.



Momento Mori, "remember death" is an ancient spiritual maxim presented to us here by St. Benedict. Keeping one's end in mind helps us to focus on what really matters. Many self-motivators have picked up on this and while avoiding "death" have sought to get people to meditate on what is really important in life.



Of course what happens after death matters a great deal if we are to focus on death. If one believes that nothing happens after death that focusing on it could be a morose practice that would only depress the person. If on the other hand one believes in the after life and a judgment then every decision I make in the present is moving me along a road in one of two directions--either toward heaven or hell.



Many people believe in a after life for absolutely no good reason. Many of them do not believe in God, but reaping the harvest of Christendom continue to carry around with them a vague sense that death is not the end. But this belief does not come from science.

Others, nihilists, belief in nothing but the present but in a rather dark manner, since death is the end that the whole of life is rather meaningless and existence is a bore.

Michael Dubruiel

Friday, October 15, 2021

October 15 - Teresa of Avila

  From the Office of Readings:


All blessings come to us through our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding his life we find that he is the best example.

What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side? Unlike our friends in the world, he will never abandon us when we are troubled or distressed. Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him near. Let us consider the glorious Saint Paul: it seems that no other name fell from his lips than that of Jesus, because the name of Jesus was fixed and embedded in his heart.

Once I had come to understand this truth, I carefully considered the lives of some of the saints, the great contemplatives, and found that they took no other path: Francis, Anthony of Padua, Bernard, Catherine of Siena. A person must walk along this path in freedom, placing himself in God’s hands. If God should desire to raise us to the position of one who is an intimate and shares his secrets, we ought to accept this gladly.

Whenever we think of Christ we should recall the love that led him to bestow on us so many graces and favours, and also the great love God showed in giving us in Christ a pledge of his love; for love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love him. For if at some time the Lord should grant us the grace of impressing his love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall accomplish great things quickly and without effort.

-Michael Dubruiel 


Thursday, October 14, 2021

73 Steps to Spritual Communion with God - 46b

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel The previous posts are in the archives to the right. This is step 46: part 2:



(46) To desire eternal life with all spiritual longing.

.....


A spiritual longing is much more focused on God and less on self. St. Paul desired eternal life with this type of longing when he wished if for his fellow men to the point that he himself would forgo it, if it would save them. Spiritual longing is always sacrificial and somewhat paradoxical.


Our Lord said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Apart from me you can do nothing." There is great wisdom in meditating on these words in light of St. Benedict's maxim to "desire eternity with a spiritual longing." We long to cleave to Christ, to imitate Him and to be united with Him, so to live with Him for all eternity.


Michael Dubruiel

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God - 46a

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel The previous posts are in the archives to the right. This is step 46 part 1:




(46) To desire eternal life with all spiritual longing.




A spiritual longing is much more focused on God and less on self. St. Paul desired eternal life with this type of longing when he wished if for his fellow men to the point that he himself would forgo it, if it would save them. Spiritual longing is always sacrificial and somewhat paradoxical.



Our Lord said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Apart from me you can do nothing." There is great wisdom in meditating on these words in light of St. Benedict's maxim to "desire eternity with a spiritual longing." We long to cleave to Christ, to imitate Him and to be united with Him, so to live with Him for all eternity.


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

73 Steps to Closer Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel - 45c

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel. The previous posts are in the archives to the right. This is step 45:




(45) To be in dread of hell.





It is true that if you take your own notion of what Hell is like and then place God in the picture that it become Heaven. I can imagine being quite happy in Gehenna if I was there with Jesus watching people dump their garbage. In fact I can imagine enduring the worst that life can give and being okay with it if I had a strong sense that God wanted me there.





We should dread anything that will separate us from God's love and Hell is the final separation. Fostering this dread will increase our appreciation for the availability of God's love in the present moment. The final judgment has not happened for us yet, there is still time. Time to confess and let go of past sins. Time to reform our lives and live in the grace of God in the future. Time to dread the fires of Hell and to live for the glories of Heaven.


Monday, October 11, 2021

73 Steps to Closer Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel - 45 b

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spritual Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel. The previous posts are in the archives to the right. This is step 45:




(45) To be in dread of hell.





The point is that once you have some understanding of how horrible Hell would be for you that you should foster a "dread" of it. The only way we can end up in this eternal place of damnation is by rejecting the gift of salvation that comes to us from Jesus Christ. Accepting or rejecting that gift is a moment by moment yes or no, manifest by our actions.



Dread is a fairly good motivator. Most of us seldom do anything we dread. We keep putting it off. That is why so many people still mail in their tax statements on April 15th close to the stroke of midnight. To dread what is "really" evil is healthy. And what is really evil is "separation from God" which is the best definition of what Hell is.



Sunday, October 10, 2021

73 Steps to Closer Communion with God by Michael Dubruiel - 45a

  This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spritual Communion with God by Michael DubruielThe previous posts are in the archives to the right. This is step 45:




(45) To be in dread of hell.



I think it is helpful to personally design our own notion of Hell. Jesus used Gehenna to describe it to the people of His day. "Gehenna" was the local dump (landfills were a long way into the future) for the city of Jerusalem. So when Jesus described Hell to the people they would have thought of Gehenna where a smoldering fire burned incessantly consuming the refuse of the people of Jerusalem.



Designing your own notion of Hell merely insists of imagining what the would be the worst possible experience that could happen to you and magnifying that by eternity. For most of this would involve pain and suffering that would never cease, but for some it might be an embarrassing situation. Sadly for many it might be an actual moment in their life that they play over and over again in their minds.


Saturday, October 09, 2021

Prepare for the Catholic Mass

 From Michael Dubruiel




One of the features that I mention in How To Get The Most Out Of The Eucharist is something I call "P.R.A.Y.": What are some concrete steps we can take that will help us get the most from the Word of God? 
Here are a few that can easily be remembered by using the word P.R.A.Y. .

P ... Prepare by studying Scripture and coming to a better understanding of how Catholics approach and interpret the Word... The less familiar we are with the Word that we hear proclaimed at the Eucharist, the more likely we are to be distracted by what we hear rather than fed.

R ... Read the Mass readings beforehand... If we read beforehand we can better listen when the readings are being proclaimed, and it is more likely that we will truly hear what God wishes to say to us. 

A ... Attend to what is being read to us at the Eucharist. Listen in a way that acknowledges that God wishes to speak to you at this Mass... 

Y ... Yield to what God is asking of you and respond with a "yes." Every celebration of the Eucharist is a renewing of the covenant between God and us. God waits for our response. 

Here's an example of how to use it:


Thirty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Matthew 25:1-13
P. Prepare
Of Foolish Virgins and the Bridegroom
1. This parable of Jesus' is only found in Matthew's Gospel.
2. Most Kingdom parables have are concerned with the present, this one is concerned with the future. "The Kingdom of heaven will be like..."
3. The wedding practice mentioned in the parable was not the norm in Jesus' day. Bridesmaids did not wait for the groom, nor were latecomers rejected. We might infer from this that the Kingdom's way is not our way.
4. Although the virgins appear the same at the beginning, some our proven to be foolish at the appearance of the groom.They are wrong in thinking that the groom will come soon (obviously the groom is Jesus and the second coming is his appearance) but in fact the wise virgins do not expect a quick coming of the groom and are prepared with extra oil for their lamps.
5. The foolish virgins, i.e. followers of Christ think that accepting the invitation is enough but more is demanded.
6. What does the "reserve oil" represent:
Augustine thought it was love which is God's gift but our responsibility. Chrysostom took it to be almsgiving and our treatment of the needy (which will come up again in the same chapter of Matthew's Gospel).
7. In Matthew's Gospel being a disciple of Jesus is tough. How does this conflict with our view of what following Jesus means? Are we more like the foolish virgins who think our relationship with Jesus is enough?
8. Throughout Matthew's Gospel Jesus envisions there being two types of Christians within the Church: those who take seriously the constant repentance and those who do not.
9. The Father's interepreted the virgin's sleep as death which reminds me of a homily I once heard about the priest never seeing a U-Haul trailer attached to a hearse, but it turns out that in this parable we do take it with us and will what we take be enough?
10. In the parable the groom finally arives in the middle of the night (when it is darkest, in a culture that did not have electricity and having the "light" was an absolute necessity to venturing out).
11. At the moment of his coming the Church suddenly becomes very individualistic, as in other parables of Judgement--all now depends upon what we did, not our group. Here the Church is communal, we are to help one another but at the moment of Judgement it is all changed.
12. There comes a moment when it is too late to repent--the message of the parable is don't wait until it is too late, and be prepared, take stock of what you are doing with the relationship that you have with Christ. Is your lamp burning? Are you running on "Full"?
R. Read
Read Matthew 25:1-13 slowly. Several times if necessary. Then think about it. You might want to read it again before you go to Mass on Sunday.
A. Attend
Listen to all of the readings at Mass. How does the First Reading and Responsorial Psalm add to what the Gospel says? What speaks to you as you hear the Gospel proclaimed? What in the homily touches you or adds to what you were already thinking?
Y. Yield
How can you recommit your life to Jesus and be ready for his coming? What concrete steps can you take this week to be aglow with His love? Ask Jesus to fill you in the Eucharist.

Friday, October 08, 2021

St. Teresa of Avila Novena

  The St. Teresa of Avila novena continues.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, he told his Apostles to stay where they were and to "wait for the gift" that the Father had promised: the Holy Spirit.  The Apostles did as the Lord commanded them. "They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers" (Acts 1:14). Nine days passed; then, they received the gift of the Holy spirit, as had been promised. May we stay together with the church, awaiting in faith with Our Blessed Mother, as we trust entirely in God, who loves us more than we can ever know. 
"michael Dubruiel"

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Feast of the Holy Rosary - October 7

  October 7 is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary


Michael Dubruiel conceived and put together the small hardbound book, Praying the Rosary.  I wrote the introductory material. Click on the cover for more information.

"Michael Dubruiel"

Also, check out this post from 2003, in which Michael Dubruiel narrates the events of one of his "rosary walks."

At the end of the trail I emerge upon the road lined with trees that leads back to the convent. I notice the deer’s head staring at me from across the road, his ears flicking. I imagine the deer thinking that I’m following him. I walk closer to him and he doesn’t move this time. Perhaps they feed him too, I think. I am now only five feet from the deer and I talk to him. He only cocks his head this way and that but doesn’t flee until I turn to continue my journey. The fourth luminous mystery–the Transfiguration, an invitation to encounter Jesus in the Old Testament, I think,  meditating on the significance of Moses and Elijah the prophet.
The sun beats down mercilessly and the tar is soft under my feet. I look back and see the deer still peering at me,  watching to see if I really am going in a different direction. I am. My lunch time nears its end. The maintenance worker is mowing the grass. His plump body hangs over the sides of the seat of the mower and his beard covers his chest. As I make my way to the parking lot I notice his car’s license plate –  “Rode Kill” misspelled,  I imagine,  because someone must have already had “road kill” in this state of connoisseurs of varmint meat. On the side of his truck he has a bumper sticker, “I love animals…they taste real good.” The fifth sorrowful mystery–the Crucifixion. In the way a sinner is attracted to the cross of salvation, I reason, perhaps this man with his desires was attracted to the environmentalist sisters.
So be it! Amen.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Michael Dubruiel

  Jesus tells a story about two dead men: one affluent, the other a beggar. After living a life of luxury, the rich man finds himself suffering

in acute pain; he asks Abraham to send Lazarus (the poor
beggar) to get him a drink. Even in the afterlife, the rich man
thinks that Lazarus should be waiting on him!

Abraham points out the barrier that prevented Lazarus from
doing the rich man’s bidding in the afterlife. Of course, no such
barrier exists among the living. The justice of Lazarus’s reward in
the afterlife also points to the fact that it is no one’s lot to be a beggar
in this life; the surplus of some, as Pope John Paul II has often
preached, belongs to those in need. While he was alive, the rich
man had it within his means to relieve the suffering of Lazarus, but
he did nothing. In the mind of the rich man, Lazarus was exactly
what God wanted him to be—a beggar. In the next life, the tables
were turned: Lazarus was rewarded, and the rich man suffered.
It is a simple message, one that we have heard many times.
It also has a touch of irony: In the story, the rich man begs Abraham
to send Lazarus back from the dead to warn the rich man’s
brothers. Abraham predicts that they still wouldn’t believe.
Notice the reaction of the crowd when Jesus raises Lazarus from
the dead: “So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus also to
death, because on account of him many of the Jews were going
away and believing in Jesus,” (John 12:10–11).

Jesus sent his disciples out to heal, to liberate, and to invite
others into the kingdom of God. As a follower of Christ, what
am I doing for those Jesus sends to me?


"michael dubruiel"

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Michael Dubruiel

  

The Cross of Christ Unites. . . Those Divided by Sin 


For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. 1 PETER 2:21–24 

Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. LUKE 6:36

No doubt you have heard this verse before: “First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak.” These are the words of a German Lutheran pastor, Reverend Martin Niemoller.

 Initially a Nazi sympathizer, he was later declared an enemy of the party and imprisoned in several concentration camps. He only narrowly escaped with his life. In subsequent years he spoke frequently around the world, always ending his talks with a version of this verse.  The original version is the subject of some debate. Some argue that Niemoller spoke of “communists” rather than socialists; others contend that Niemoller said “Catholics.” It is likely that Pastor Niemoller changed it himself, to reflect the changing climate of the times, as the diversity of those who had been persecuted by the Nazis was gradually revealed to the world.

The cross of Christ set in motion a reversal of something that began in the Garden of Eden with the sin of our first parents. When God created Eve out of Adam, the man said, “ishnah”—another “me.” Then the two ate from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and they immediately noticed that they were naked. Their first impulse was to hide themselves behind fig leaves; the differences between them induced Adam and Eve to distance themselves from one another. Because of sin, this separation grew. As Genesis unfolds sin multiplies, until at the Tower of Babel God confuses the tongues of humans and the division of the people is complete. Complete, that is, until Christ.

Christ Reunites 


At the crucifixion, the people were unified in their will that Christ should die. The Romans, representing the civilized world of that time, put Jesus to death; the Chosen People, represented by their leaders, offered up the Son of God in sacrifice. But from the moment Jesus said to the disciple that he loved, “Behold your mother,” and to his Mother, “Behold your son,” the separation was over. The divisions that had existed since the time of Adam and Eve began to heal. The gospel of Christ was put in motion by the cross, under which every tribe and nation and people would one day be united. On the day of Pentecost, Babel was reversed. The people heard Peter preach, each in his own tongue. From that moment, the Church was sent throughout the whole world, to reconcile it all to Christ.

St. Paul spells out clearly this reconciliation that Christ has brought about when he says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek . . . there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). In Christ the sin of division between people comes to an end.


 Mercy to All


 Christians are to be forgiving and merciful; we are to live out the unity Christ died to restore. In the early church, outsiders marveled at the followers of Christ because of their love for one another. Sadly, the unity that was the hallmark of the early Church has been damaged, in some cases seemingly beyond repair. We who are called to be “merciful” stand idly by while our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world are offered up as scapegoats. We who are to share the Good News huddle among our own, contented to preach to the choir.

The problem is this: Jesus died for all, so that all might be saved. We who follow Our Lord must live to accomplish his will. As St. Peter points out, Jesus himself is our example. The treatment that Jesus received on the cross was worse than most of us can even imagine but his message of forgiveness did not change. When Jesus rose from the dead, he did not declare a holy war against those who had put him to death. Instead he proclaimed, “Peace,” and sent his followers to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel, teaching all to believe and trust in him.  Unfortunately, the Church has not always been a sign of the unity willed by Jesus. Those who placed their own authority over that of Christ have perpetuated the suffering of Christ through his body the Church. Jesus foresaw this, and warned his disciples as well (see Matthew 13:24–30).

Perfect unity won’t come until the final harvest, but the “wheat” of the Church needs to embody Jesus’ radical message of mercy.


Jesus, I Trust in You! 


The Divine Mercy is one of the most popular devotions to arise in the modern church. Based on the written testimony in the famous Diary of St. Faustina, a Polish nun who lived in the early part of the twentieth century, Jesus told Faustina that his mercy was not being preached enough. Jesus asked her to have an image painted, showing rays of red and white light emanating from his heart. Underneath this image are printed five words that reveal the way to avail oneself of that great mercy: “Jesus, I trust in you.” Significantly, St. Faustina’s visions occurred shortly before the horrific outrage of the Holocaust, not far from one of the worst concentration camps: Auschwitz. Even then, God was showing his children how to overcome the differences that original sin planted within us. Even then, Our Lord made it clear that the mercy of God is not something we hoard for ourselves, but something we need to extend to others. How many lives might have been saved the horrors of the camps if Jesus’ message of mercy had been heard sooner? Whom might we save today?


The Power of the Cross by Michael Dubruiel is a book well-suited to daily reading during Lent. The book is available here in pdf version. Daily excerpts will be reprinted in this space during Lent.


"michael Dubruiel"

Monday, October 04, 2021

St. Francis of Assisi - October 4

  


St. Francis of Assisi taught his followers to reverence Christ and
his cross wherever they might find themselves. The prayer attributed
to St. Francis that begins, “Lord, make me a channel of your
peace,” was in fact not composed by St. Francis; it was misapplied
to him in a prayer book. The true prayer of St. Francis was one
he taught his friars to pray whenever they would pass a Church
or the sign of the cross made by two branches in a tree. They were
to prostrate themselves toward the church or the cross and pray,
“We adore you Christ and we praise you present here and in all
the Churches throughout the world, because by your holy cross
you have redeemed the world.”
The cross reminds us of the true Christ, the one in the
Gospels who was constantly misjudged by the religious figures
of his day. If we are not careful, he will be misjudged by us as well.
We need to worship him alone.

From The Power of the Cross , by Michael Dubruiel available as a free download by clicking the cover below:





Sunday, October 03, 2021

October is Rosary Month

  Michael Dubruiel conceived and put together the small hardbound book, Praying the Rosary.  Click on the cover for more information.


"Michael Dubruiel"


The Gospels show that the gaze of Mary varied depending upon the circumstances of life. So it will be with us. Each time we pick up the holy beads to recite the Rosary, our gaze at the mystery of Christ will differ depending on where we find ourselves at that moment.

Thereafter Mary’s gaze, ever filled with adoration and wonder, would never leave him. At times it would be a questioning look, as in the episode of the finding in the Temple: “Son, why have you treated us so?” (Lk 2:48); it would always be a penetrating gaze, one capable of deeply understanding Jesus, even to the point of perceiving his hidden feelings and anticipating his decisions, as at Cana (cf. Jn 2:5). At other times it would be a look of sorrow, especially beneath the Cross, where her vision would still be that of mother giving birth, for Mary not only shared the passion and death of her Son, she also received the new son given to her in the beloved disciple (cf. Jn 19:26-27). On the morning of Easter hers would be a gaze radiant with the joy of the Resurrection, and finally, on the day of Pentecost, a gaze afire with the outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14) [Rosarium Virginis Mariae, no. 10].


As we pray the Rosary, then, we join with Mary in contemplating Christ. With her, we remember Christ, we proclaim Him, we learn from Him, and, most importantly, as we raise our voices in prayer and our hearts in contemplation of the holy mysteries, this “compendium of the Gospel” itself, we are conformed to Him.


Saturday, October 02, 2021

Feast of the Guardian Angels - October 2

 


Yours and mine...

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

That every individual soul has a guardian angel has never been defined by the Church, and is,
consequently, not an article of faith; but it
is the "mind of the Church", as St. Jerome expressed it:
"how great the dignity of the soul, since each one has
from his birth an angel
commissioned to guard it." (Comm. in Matt., xviii, lib. II).



Michael Dubruiel 

Friday, October 01, 2021

October 1- St. Therese

 



Therese imagined that in the spiritual life we are all like infants at the foot of the stairs being summoned by our Heavenly Father to climb the heights--which try as we might we cannot do. Finally the Heavenly Father will come down the stairs and pick us up and carry us up the stairs. Which of course is a beautiful child like summary of what the Trinity has done in the incarnation of Jesus.
Are you and I trying to climb the stairs? Is our Faith in Him? Abandon yourself to the God as a child abandons oneself to their parents.
St. Therese, pray for us!







Michael Dubruiel