17 April 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways in which You are actively working in our lives (whether we are aware of it or not.

Randy Hain on Acceptance of God's Will in Our Lives

"Not long ago a priest shared some guidance with my wife and me that has been the cause of a great deal of conversation and reflection in our home.  In response to learning that we pray every day about our oldest son’s future and that he be healed of his autism, he encouraged us to pray first for acceptance.

"Let me explain.

"He said there was nothing wrong with asking God to heal our son.  But, we first needed to ask for the ability to fully accept the beautiful gift of our child exactly as God created him. By asking for healing first, we were in essence asking God to improve on His creation without first understanding the lessons and blessings His gift has provided our family. We have always viewed our oldest son as a blessing and know we could not possibly love him more than we do now.  But, we may have mistaken love for acceptance as we continued to pray over the years for God to remake him into our vision of a well-formed and perfect child.  We have somewhat selfishly asked God to redo his handiwork when we should be accepting of God's plan for his life and trusting that the Father who loves us wants only what is best for him. 'If you follow the will of God, you know that in spite of all the terrible things that happen to you, you will never lose a final refuge. You know that the foundation of the world is love, so that even when no human being can or will help you, you may go on, trusting in the One that loves you' (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI)."

In a recent commentary, writer Randy Hain, Senior Editor for The Integrated Catholic Life, reflected on acceptance of God's will and its role in our lives.

To access her complete post, please visit:

Integrated Catholic Life: On Accepting God’s Will (9 APR 15)

Reflection Starter from Matthew

"One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God." - Matthew 4:4

16 April 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Yourself in the most Holy Eucharist.

Simsha Fisher on Reverence and Gratitude and the Eucharist

"There was a commotion in the communion line. I couldn't hear what the deacon was saying, but the woman who approached him was responding to him in a loud, conversational tone that rose above the reverent murmur in the church. 'What are you talking about?' she called out. 'Is this what you mean? This?'

"Horror: she was waving around a consecrated Host like it was a business card or a cookie. I started to put the baby down, preparing to rush over and tackle this woman before she did something unthinkable.

"Then I realized she was smiling, embarrassed. She gave the Host back to the deacon and said, just as loudly, 'I didn't know! Nobody told me!' And she walked away. As far as I can tell, she was just a newcomer who was at the church for social reasons, or out of curiosity. She had gotten in line because everyone else got in line, and she went up to get her cracker because everyone likes a freebie. Nobody told her that she shouldn't. God bless our deacon for realizing that something was amiss, and for protecting Our Lord.

"For the rest of Mass, I was shaken. Nothing bad had happened; no sacrilege, intentional or not, had occurred. What made me tremble was that phrase she kept repeating: Nobody told me! And I kept telling myself, 'So, what is your excuse?'"

In a recent commentary, writer Simcha Fisher reflected on the attitude of reverence and gratitude we (should) have when receiving our Lord in the Eucharist.

To access her complete reflection, please visit:

NC Register: Simcha Fisher Blog: Nobody told me! (31 MAR 15)

Reflection Starter from Thomas Merton

"By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet." - Thomas Merton

15 April 2015

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for little acts of kindness (often unnoticed and/or unacknowledged) that help encourage/lift up Your people as they face what is before them each day.

The Wisdom and Legacy of Ernie Banks

"His temperament included only two outlooks: sunny and sunnier."

Wow, what a way to be. What a way to live!

The subject was Ernie Banks, and the words were used by Barry Bearak, in his appreciation of Banks for The New York Times - sunny and sunnier. They describe perfectly the way we recall Banks, a baseball star with the Chicago Cubs, remembered as much for his sparkling personality as for his home runs. Banks died earlier this year at the age of 83, his years as a Cub the happiest of memories.

For most of his 19-year career the Cubs were a losing team, but you'd never know it from Banks' performance. He gave his all, day after day, and became known for his mantra: "Let's play two!" Darned if he didn't mean it, too.

Ernie Banks can give all of us a lesson in living. Raised in Dallas, he was one of 12 children whose father sometimes picked cotton for a living. The family was poor, but that mattered little to Banks. He took up baseball in high school, later starred with the Kansas City Monarchs of the old Negro leagues, and then joined the Cubs. That could have been another cause for concern; his arrival as the first black player with the Chicago team came a full six years after Jackie Robinson had broken baseball's color line. Banks didn't let it bother him. He was just happy to be playing ball, period.

Banks had a chance to show his mean streak, if he had such a thing, late in his career, when Leo Durocher ("Nice guys finish last") was the Cubs' manager. Durocher didn't think so much of his one-time star, his glory days long since past, and it got through to Banks. The man known as "Mr. Cub" simply passed right by a chance to zing Durocher, instead calling him the greatest manager of all time. Few agreed with that generous assessment, but few would criticize him for it either.

The numbers certainly speak for themselves. Banks popped 512 home runs, won the National League's Most Valuable Player Award for two consecutive years, and showed up perennially on the National League's All-Star team. But the numbers, compelling though they might be, tell only part of the story. In Bearak's words, Ernie Banks was "a walking billboard for baseball," and that comes closer to it.

Maybe Banks' lasting testimony will be his reaction to the role he played in the great civil rights years of the Sixties - which, in the eyes of his critics, was no role at all. He understood the criticism, but remained unapologetic. As he said at the time: "I care deeply about my people, but I'm not one to go about screaming over what I contribute. I'm not black or white. I'm just a human being trying to survive the only way I know how. I don't make enemies. If I'm not crazy about somebody, he'll never know it. I kill him with kindness."

Barry Bearak concluded his appreciation with these words: "And that's how he lived his life, a genuinely humane man who thought every day was beautiful. He tried to make people happy and wore his kindness like an amulet."

As I said before, what a way to be. What a way to live. And, come to think of it, what a way to be remembered.

 (This essay is this week's "Light One Candle" column, written by Jerry Costello, of The Christophers; it is one of a series of weekly columns that deal with a variety of topics and current events.)

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