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Friday, September 25, 2009

"Let prayer be our passion, let prayer be our practice"

Below is an exhortation given 150 years ago; it remains pertinent especially given today's political, social, and religious polarity in the US.

"Let us humble ourselves before the Lord, our God asking through Christ the forgiveness of our sins, beseeching the aid of the God of our forefathers in the defense of our homes and our liberties, thanking Him for His past blessings, and imploring their continuance upon our cause and our people.

Knowing that intercessory prayer is our mightiest weapon and the supreme call for all Christians today, I pleadingly urge our people everywhere to pray. Believing that prayer is the greatest contribution that our people can make to this critical hour, I humbly urge that we take time to pray - to really pray.

Let there be prayer at sunup, at noonday, at sundown, at midnight - all through the day. Let us pray for our children, our youth, our aged, our pastors, our homes. Let us pray for the churches.

Let us pray for ourselves, that we may not lose the word concern out of our Christian vocabulary. Let us pray for our nation. Let us pray for those who have never known Jesus Christ and His redeeming love, for moral forces everywhere, for our national leaders. Let prayer be our passion. Let prayer be our practice." General Robert E. Lee 1863

Christian concerns at this hour should include:

The concern that: we have lost the practice and the passion of prayer.
  • That we have lost respect and concern for all life - pre-born, pre-conceived, newborn, and the aging; futhermore that we have replaced the belief that life comes from God with rhetoric.

  • That while we once believed that all life comes from God, we now suffer from the notion that life is man-made and disposable if all is not "perfect". This fails to account for the soul - the essence of human life and certainly not man-made.

  • That we have divorced life from authentic love.

  • That we have given up on the right to life and replaced it with the notion of it's "time to die".

  • That we are giving up on the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by looking to a government rather than God to help us through difficulites.

  • That we have discarded Jesus' example of sacrifice for others and replaced it with entitlement, expectations for handouts and easy living.

  • That we value humans for what they have not who they are. For instance we value superior intellects, giftedness, rhetoric, human "wisdom", wealth, the ability to earn distinction, physical beauty. At the same time we fail to see these same virtues in those given less fortune, less ability, and less opportunity. We fail to see the whole person.

General Lee's exhortation is still timely; it is time to pray and time to live like we believe that God is God of all creation and we are merely His creatures.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Candidacy

Last week, Patrick (our 16 year old son) and I witnessed the "Candidacy" of 29 men at the St. Paul Seminary. This event is one of the pre-steps toward Priesthood; we were invited by Albert W. from Ghana. Albert is a wonderful young seminarian who we were privileged to meet through our parish. He just has several years left before final ordination. It was a very masculine event and one that we were blessed to have been at. Unfortunately, my husband missed it because he was sick with H1N1 - or at least it sounds more spectacular to surmise that's what he had!

If all these men continue with what seems to be their calling - we will have 29 more priests ordained in this archdiocese over the next several years. The numbers are astonishing! May God bless each of them! Please pray for this group as they study, discern, and decide. As the Bishop of Crookston said: "there are very few events in our lives in which we place our lives deliberately and solidly in the hands of God and tell God that we pledge to give Him our all. That night twenty nine men stood up, announced their presence in strong solemn tones, walked to the front of the Church and pledged to give God their all over the next several years! May He bless them abundantly.

Magnetism - God's natural law

This morning I awoke with an unusual thought that I wanted to share with you. Have you ever thought about using magnets to describe our faith life to your children? Magnets can describe this quite cleverly - let me try to explain it to you first and see what you think.

If you hold two magnets with like poles facing the other the result is that they repel each other very strongly. In other words two positive poles repel each other. Even very weak magnets exhibit this same phenomenon. It is part of the natural law; it is also very obvious to whomever is experimenting with the magnets. Imagine this is two people in life - at times we seem to naturally repel the other. It can also be imagines as sin in our lives repelling us away from God.

Now put the two magnets with the opposite poles together Now they attract each other very strongly. This should represent God and us. The closer we are to God - the Supreme Positive Pole - the stronger the attraction and the desire we have to cling to Him; however the further we pull our magnetic self away from God - the less of an attraction we have for things of His. Finally, we might even end up without any attraction at all. Sin and the corresponding lack of grace affects us like the two magnets that are pulled apart from their natural attractions - from their sphere of influence. As we become grace-filled we eagerly cling to things of God; as we orbit out of His pole - or sphere - due to sin, temptation, etc. we gradually feel less and less of an attraction to Him. As we leave His attraction, we are pulled further and further away from all that is good. Just like the little magnet finally leaves the sphere of influence of the big magnet as it is pulled away, we also leave God's grace as we are pulled away. I think this is why God made magnetism - don't you agree?
I hope you like this analogy - it was God's little message to me today.