Be ready to explain your hope.

So there’s a lull in a conversation with friends and some- one you know, but not all that well, asks you “Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?” Everything stops doesn’t it?

Catholics especially find it hard to answer this question. “I THINK I have,” might be our answer. Pressed further as to when you accepted Jesus someone might say “Well, I go to mass on Sunday”, “I don’t cheat anybody.” “I give to the United Way.” “Oh I don’t know!”

It’s not through any lack of faith that one is left in confusion. It’s just that most Catholics show our faith in a different way. Taking Holy Communion at mass is probably the premiere moment for Jesus and me in the week. Yes, THERE HE IS, my Lord and Savior! (Chances are, our inquiring friend would not understand this answer) . . . And just before that we turn to each other and say “The Peace of Christ be with you!” and we smile at each other and somehow we feel Jesus is with us.

That’s it. That’s Jesus and me. And is He my Lord and Savior? Of course He is!

However . . . that’s not enough. You see our inquiring friend is on to something very important. They take seriously Jesus’ instruction “to go out to all the world and tell the good news”, “go and make disciples . . . teach them everything I have commanded”, etc.

Faith is a gift that is meant to be shared. Christianity is not just about “Jesus and me”, it’s about Jesus, you and me, all of us together. (Why else would Jesus leave the 99 safe in the meadow to search out the lost sheep?)

So how do we uptight Catholics begin to share our faith? It starts with an attitude of AFFECTION. We have to like our neighbor, to genuinely care how they are, to be happy when they are happy and sad when they are sad. Not that everyone is our best friend, but everyone can count on us to be in their corner. We want goodness to find everyone.

Once we have our neighbor fixed in our hearts as “brother” or “sister” we can speak to them as to a friend — – because that’s what they are.

Next we need to check our memory bank for the times God has popped up in our life. These are moments of joy or sorrow, success or failure, where we cried out to God and He heard us, or a joy beyond all expectation filled our hearts. These are our life’s faith stories, our “God history.” These things I know, not because I read about them, but because they happened to me personally. These are the things that Christ asks me to share with my neighbor when the Holy Spirit moves.

So how do I find my “God history”? It really is up to each person to search and find. But here are a few classic moments that many people have found to contain “something from God”.

++ Strangely, God’s grace comes many times in moments of distress. “Powerlessness” is a particular favorite for God to work with. The times, with nowhere else to turn, we finally call out to God . . . “Help me.” And guess what? Something happens.

++ “Things that overwhelm” is another favorite tool God uses to open our eyes. Moments of great beauty in a thousand different places (the face of a child, a walk with a friend, something said in church, the memory of a loving person, sickness that brings a new vision of life, someone’s word to us that goes deep, etc.)

++ Where there is love there is God (1 Jn. 4:7). Any moment of love whether small or large is a golden thread that leads directly to the heart of God. God IS love. (A love beyond all measure. Think “giving” without counting the cost – – Christ on the cross). Have you witnessed this kind of love? Then God has come to you!

God will give you a time to share your confidence in His grace. Because you’ve experienced it.

Be kind this week.

Fr. Tim

Strength for Nervous Times

A good friend of mine told me a while back that he’s been dealing with an anxiety about life and the world. Not so much depression as just a general concern for himself, his wife, and his children living in a world where criminal violence and natural disaster are sometimes a weekly phenomenon.

Many of us, as we age, feel our nerves a bit more strained than when we were younger. A “little pill” to “take the edge off” is common for many.

I think much of the angst comes with the feeling that life is out of control. We feel overwhelmed with problems so much bigger than any one person can fix. What makes us nervous?

How about these?

  • Four hurricanes in six weeks (total destruction of Puerto Rico)
  • North Korea and “Rocket Man”
  • The Opioid crisis
  • Broken government in Washington
  • Two Americas: the Haves and the Have-Nots
  • Global warming (and the furor it brings in even discussing it)
  • Charlottesville, Las Vegas, Isis and about 10 other current messes.

These are the global tensions. Then there are our personal struggles with health, finance, relationships, raising children and grandchildren, our own aging, etc. Any one of these can strike at the heart of the peaceful lives we want to live.

So what do we do? How can we live peaceful, hope filled lives in the face of these overwhelming problems? Space is limited here so I’ll be brief.

Here’s what helps me. See what you think.

  • This is a fallen world. Bad things are going to happen. We are all afflicted with an impulse to selfishness and animosity. Spread this out amongst 5 billion people and there’s going to be trouble. (Mother Nature also seems to share mysteriously in our bondage to frustration. Read Romans 8:22).
  • Christ told us that while we live in this fallen world there will be a suffering for each of us. In fact we make up in ourselves “what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ”.

    “Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12.

    In other words, we’ve been told these things would happen – – let’s look now for what gives us hope in the midst of these trials.

  • This hope comes to us in the fact that Christ has been raised from the dead. As we share in his sufferings so shall we share in the joy of his Resurrection. “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have overcome the world.” Jn. 16:33
  • While we live here on earth our task is to witness with lives of faith in the love of God, the goodness of creation, the sanctity of human life, the worthiness of spending your life for others.
  • In the end . . . love wins. (That’s what Easter is all about).
  • This is good news. We share that with others and are ourselves renewed as we receive the Risen Christ in the Eucharist.

In the end what I find most helpful against times of panic or fear is to know that God’s providence has got it all in His loving hands. St. Paul knew this when he wrote, “If God is for us, who can be against us? . . . what will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or peril? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.” Romans 8:35-37

So give your anxiousness to God in prayer. He won’t take away the hard thing most likely but he will give you the grace to carry it and in the end, with Christ, we will conquer.

With love,
Fr. Tim

PS. Pope John XXIII would pray with this abandonment to God’s plan, with the whole church weighing on his shoulders he would pray, “Lord, it’s your church. I’m going to bed.”

Anointing Mass

Saturday, October, 14 at 10:30 am

One of the most debilitating things about sickness is not the pain, or the fatigue, or the fear (each of these are, of course, part of the cross sickness brings). No. One of the biggest sufferings is how illness separates us from those around us, our families, friends and community at large.

It may mean being confined to home or quarantined from those closest to us. It may mean being unable to participate in everyday activities that bring us together with others. Perhaps most upsetting is the feeling of being “set apart”, different from others. (The thought, “I’m sick.” Everybody else is “ok”.)

Holy Trinity Church has scheduled a Eucharistic Celebration with the Anointing of the Sick. This is the chance to bring some of your health concerns to the Lord in the context of mass and this faith community.

You are not alone! The Lord and Holy Trinity hold you dear to our hearts in prayer.

There will be special seating for those who wish to be anointed that morning. Likewise, transportation will be provided for those who contact the Parish Office beforehand.

WHO SHOULD BE ANOINTED? The guidelines for the sacrament say “any persistent and serious concern for one’s health …..”is reason for someone to request the anointing.” Health concerns such as depression, anxiety, addiction, spiritual doubt and chronic pain are all sufficient to receive the anointing. There will be no questions asked. Simply indicate your wish to be anointed.

Come by yourself or better . . . bring a friend. Experience the healing and comforting Hand of God working through the Sacrament of the Sick and the care of this parish.

God bless you.

Fr. Tim

Year of the Eucharist

You may or may not know that Bishop Matano has declared this to be the Year of the Eucharist. It began in June on the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi Sunday).

In his Pastoral Letter inaugurating this special year of prayer and study, the bishop hopes it will “be an occasion for a renewed love of Jesus present in the Blessed Sacra- ment, and that those not regularly participating in the Life of the Church will return home to the Father’s House.”

Here at Holy Trinity the Parish Council has begun a plan that will provide opportunities to deepen our knowledge and love for the Eucharist. Among these are: increased times for Eucharistic Adoration, a Winter Lecture Series on the Eucharist by three priest presenters, opportunities for parishioners to be witness to the power of Holy Communion in their lives, and occasional “teaching moments” within the Mass from Fr. Tim and Fr. John.

It is my hope that you hear God’s call to you in these activities to “come and see”. The Eucharist is the rock bed of our Catholic Faith and solid food for the sometimes rocky journey of life. So much of our knowledge of the Eucharist and Mass has come to us in grade school and Jr. High. Let’s let this Year of the Eucharist deepen our adult knowledge and inform our love of Christ really present in the Holy Eucharist.

Wanna be Happy? Serve Somebody.

I hope by now you know how happy Fr. John and I are being priests. I’ve told many young men that, were I given the opportunity to choose my life over again, I’d be a priest. I just like it. It fits me.

Perhaps the biggest reason it feels right is that I think God wanted me to be a priest. It was His idea first . . . and then ever respectful of my freedom, God found ways to get me thinking about this way of life. It makes me happy to think God has an opinion about what we should do with our lives.

He never forced me with fear or guilt. God used natural, human things to get my attention . . . comments of people who knew me well, watching some priests who I liked a lot (seeing their happiness and humor), feeling a desire to help people, the staggering beauty of the world, realizing that we’re only here in this world for a while . . . all contributed to a growing feeling that God was calling me to live my life as a priest.

It wasn’t easy to hear God’s voice calling. It requires listening in prayer, a careful examination of your heart and its feelings, and hardest of all was trying to find “my heart’s desire.” In the end it came down to the Lord asking, “Tim, who will you give it all to?” And the answer – – though it took a while – – was, “I want to give it all to you Jesus. I want to be so filled up with you that all I want is to “be yours”. (I’m guessing this is how brides feel on their wedding day.) “And then Jesus, I want to share you with people and do the things that will help people get to heaven.” For me that said “be a priest.”

That’s my story in three paragraphs! It certainly wasn’t my mother and father’s story. It’s probably not your story either. Most people don’t have that odd appeal toward a celibate life lived for the purpose of spreading Christ’s Kingdom. I mean really, let’s face it, it’s pretty different.

But . . . your story and my story have that most important aspect in common, “Who will you die for?” Or, to put it in a milder way, what is there in your life that you would be willing to sacrifice it all for? That’s God’s invitation to you. That’s your vocation.

For my father it was a beautiful woman named Rosemary. For mom it was her husband and her children. And they did. They laid it down, for each other and for us children.

And do you know who in the end we all lay it down for? Teacher, parent, spouse, priest, musician, poet, carpenter, farmer, soldier, cop, nurse, bus driver . . . we are all called to lay it down for Christ.

Yes that’s right. You have a vocation to give your life to Christ, to be at His service each day of your life. The only problem is we don’t see him. Know why we don’t see Him? Because He’s hiding!

He’s hiding in the face of your spouse, your students, customers, friends, enemies, your children, your parents, your neighbor, your check out person, and yes, even the guy who cut you off in traffic! Yes, all human kind is united to Christ in the moment of the Incarnation and now in the Resurrection.

You get it right? “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” Mk. 8:35 We are the only creature made by God that comes to understand their life by giving it away. That’s all of our vocations — to lay it down in love.

“Anyone who has given so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones . . . will not go without reward.” Mt 10:42

Happy autumn days!

Fr. Tim

Goodness in, Goodness out.

Certainly you’ve heard the adage “you are what you eat.” And our computer geeks are fond of saying “garbage in, garbage out.” The point being in both of these sayings . . something becomes the sum of what was put into it. Good health comes from a good diet. A dependable computer program requires good data input. (The bible was on to this when 3,000 years ago it said, “You reap what you sow.”)

It works like that with our spiritual life too. We are greatly shaped by what we think and hear, see and touch. What we allow to enter through our senses creates the raw data for the kind of person we become.

So for example:

  • Child psychologists tell us that hours spent watching violent images on television elevates the likeliness of children acting out violently.
  • Constant attention to a hand held computer game or Ipod inhibits a young person’s ability to interact with real people.
  • Non-stop images of negative, argumentative relation- ships create the impression that this is how people naturally interact. Yelling, whining, cursing, name calling becomes the norm. Talk Radio is full of this stuff.
  • Pretty much any television called “reality TV” has little grasp of what’s really real.
  • Yet love of music, theatre, intelligent discussion, Downton Abbey(!), great sport, creates an openness to a healthy psyche.

So why not put a stop to the “garbage in, garbage out” syndrome? Why not dedicate ourselves to “Goodness in, Goodness out”?

What does this mean? It means putting a guard over what we let our eyes see and ears hear. I’m being literal here. Change the channel or turn off the TV when it becomes crass or trashy. Walk away from conversations that are only meant to hurt others reputations. Put away the elec- tronic games or instruments when people are present to talk to.

Guarding what you let in through the senses creates an interior sense of order and goodness. St. Paul points to the governing of the senses by the Holy Spirit. It brings about the fruits of “Peace , Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Purity . . ..”

Compare that to how you feel after watching a fighting cage match on TV? Spending 4 hours on some Play Station war game? Going from one porn site to another on your computer? Reading what gossip is out there on the internet about your friends and enemies?

Let’s be honest here. There’s a dark pleasure in these things (why else would millions of people go there?). But deep down we know this is not who we are. We’re all junked up. It feels dark and smarmy.

There’s a simple remedy. Go somewhere else. Some place that puts good stuff in. You decide. Good music. Entertainment. Books. Fishing! Friends. Travel. Nature. Wine making. Conversation. Prayer. Look around. God made a whole bunch of stuff to capture our interest.

Are there any dark places that feed your senses in a way that hurts your soul? I bet you’ve tried to avoid them but fallen back. Try again. Keep trying. Ask God to help you find another way. God will answer that prayer.

Fr. Tim


Well that was some picnic last week! And some Rum- mage Sale for Hope House!! My sincerest thanks to the hundreds of volunteers that made last week at Holy Trinity a great place of fellowship and helping others.

A Grumpy God.

I think much of the modern problem about the belief in God comes from the image of God they reject. God as they see it is some grumpy old guy who never had a fun day in his life and now wants everybody to obey his every command and bow down to worship “that guy behind the curtain”.

What follows is a rant this old God might have about this world.

God Speaks:
“Oh I’m so worried about my children who don’t know me. I mean look at all I’ve done for them. I made them in my own image. I gave them an immortal soul created just so they can live in me eternally. When they wandered to every corner of the world (which I also made just for them) they forgot that I even existed.”

“Not only all that, but they’ve taken to hating one another for the dumbest reasons – – the different color of skin that I gave to each of them, the different religions that separate the human race, and now the huge gulf between the “haves” and “have nots”.”

“So never one to give up on what I’ve started . . . I myself entered the world. That’s right, I was born a human being some 2,000 years ago. My mother Mary gave me the name Jeshua (Jesus) and I tried like hell to show every- body that I was a God who could be loved and trusted. I even went so far as to let myself be falsely accused of blasphemy (Get that, Me, God, blaspheming myself!) and then crucified . . . dead at 33 human years.”

“But no, I’m still not done with my rebellious children . . . my immortal nature will not die. I Resurrect my Jesus back to Eternal Life and I begged any who would listen to follow me in that new direction of life.”

“So what do I get in return for all this goodness? “Maybe there’s a God. Maybe not. Who knows?” “God doesn’t seem to fix hurricanes so what kind of Supreme Being is that?”

“I trust things I can see and measure, how can I believe in something for which there is no proof?” (Get that!? I, who made the laws of physics and chemistry and gave people eyes to see my Milky Way . . . I, may or may not exist!!? Well La-Di-Da.)”

Aren’t we fortunate God is not like this? Like some grumpy uncle at a family reunion. Rather, how patient he is.

He’s waited billions of years to bring creation to this point. Life came forth from the watery slime; lungs and arms and legs evolved for life to walk the earth; a creature with the largest proportional brain of all living beings be- gins to stand erect on two legs and gaze at the stars from the safety of his cave.
And then . . . “in the fullness of time” . . . Christ.

So my point? Our children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors who don’t seem to know or care whether God exists (or has anything meaningful to do with them) . . . this doesn’t worry God one bit.

Wanna know why? Because he has a plan to get us. Somewhere in our life there will be time when all defenses are dropped, all excuses ring hollow, all false idols are seen as empty. It may be only at the time of our death that we realize these things. And what then is left . . . . . “you God?”

Hopefully it won’t take that long. There will be moments of love and kindness that touch their lives and lead them to the source of this goodness – – – Christ Jesus, “through whom all things were made.”

Certainly we parents have our part to play. We must bring our faith to our everyday lived lives. People need to see a kindness and confidence in life that can only come from the One who gave us life and loves us beyond our wildest imaginings.

Fr. Tim

PS. A friend told me to smile more. I’m working on it.

Teaching Your Faith to Children

My dad was a big fan of positive thinking. Having a positive attitude was the necessary element to getting things done. Negative thinking people, so he held, were afraid to commit themselves to trying for something better.

Dad would look forward to his company’s “Sales Conventions” held at the home office. There would be a motivational speaker there telling everyone “success begins in your attitude”. (Former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz is a current motivational speaker).

It’s taken me awhile but I’ve finally come to agree with this positivity message. I’ve seen over the years that starting with “It’s no use.” “That’ll never work.” “That’s impossible.” “No one will ever get it.” “I’m no good at this.” Leads nowhere. Negativity is contagious but so too is being positive.

So parents, let me be your motivational speaker. The topic? Teaching Your Children Our Catholic Faith. What can I say that will move you to be more engaged in sharing your Faith with your child?

  • Your children love you. What you say to them is their truth, their world. Doesn’t it touch you how innocently they entrust themselves to you and what you say? God wants you to feel this because, early on, you speak for God.
  • The message of Faith is just what your child is looking for. Children hate chaos. It’s a parents responsibility to keep them from falling into a world where nothing rules, where everyone goes their own way.

    What does our faith say? God is Love. Love created the world. People wouldn’t let God rule. So God became one of us to show us what His Love truly is – – Jesus Christ. And oh yes . . . there’s going to be a test – Did You Love?

  • You’ll be amazed how God works through your conversations with your children to TEACH YOU! There will be moments when “suddenly you see!” what God has been all along in your life.
  • Sharing your Faith with the children will give you the chance to open areas of feeling or thought your child has been having “about life”. These moments will let you encourage, praise, support, and sometimes correct your child’s thinking.
  • It’s fun!! It can be time to play. Take one of the parables for children’s bedtime reading. Remember the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11)?

    Read it with your child. Ask them how the young man must have felt – being away from home, how it felt when his dad put his cloak over his shoulders and had a party for him. Let the children fill this in in their own wonderful way. There’s a ton of stories just waiting to be told.

    Add your own words to the bible stories. Things like “Wow!” or God said, “Don’t worry, I’ll catch you!'” Be free. You’re God’s Ambassador.

  • Your own life will grow in purpose. You’ll discover the holy vocation you’ve been given in your marriage and your parenting. To quote the Blues Brothers, “You are on a mission from God!!”

Mary Haas and the religious ed. teachers are committed to helping you become expert teachers in the faith in your home. Watch closely your email box and the materials your child brings home from Holy Trinity for the both of you to work on. They will give you fun and creative ideas to help you share your faith with your child.

Be positive. You can do it. You were handpicked for this job! God didn’t say, “Gee, look at all the darkness.” He said, “Let there be light!”

Spread your light.

Fr. Tim

Hope you’re coming to the picnic.

Joy . . . More Than Happy.

Webster defines joy as “a very glad feeling.” Theologians, as usual, complicate things by splitting joy in two: sensible joy and intellectual (spiritual) joy. Here’s what they say.

Sensible joy is easy to describe. Think of finishing your favorite meal done just the way you like it. Or hearing your favorite song by the original band; the smell of lilac on a sunny spring day. Joy may be either the action itself (the tasting, seeing, feeling) or the pleasant state that fol- lows having experienced this good thing (. . . how’s that for over analyzing?!)

Spiritual joy is different. It may have similar feelings attached to it (gladness, cheeriness) but it goes deeper than something pleasing to the senses. It has its origin in an awareness of a “Good” that has been obtained through virtuous action.

For example, swimmers exert themselves for months to train for the big meet. They experience joy when they see their efforts have paid off with their best time ever. The joy is in the awareness . . . “do you see what you have done? Your hard work has really paid off. Let’s celebrate!!”

OR Your love for someone is sorely tested yet you remain true through thick and thin. You never wavered in your loyalty. Suddenly you both realize that this is what friend- ship really means. This is a joy!

Spiritual joy can come with some effort of the will, some “doing the right thing”. There can be a bit of suffering for the sake of someone. Sometimes joy comes with the grace “to see” a profound good or beauty.

So your moments of joy? Of laugh out loud happiness? A sense of wonder at this world’s beauty so strong it makes you choke up? Here’s a few of mine. What are yours?

Moments of Joy:

  • Many memories of friends and their great kindnesses.
  • High School Senior year. Beating previously undefeated Gilmore Academy in triple overtime. I didn’t play one second of the game, but the joy it brought on the bus ride home showed me God is real and present.
  • 21 yrs. old. Standing on the 17th tee at Durand Eastman, suddenly knowing that Rochester is where I wanted to live my life.
  • Handel’s Messiah. Pure joy. Also Samuel Barber’s “Adagio”. I can die in peace.
  • A dream I had about God a long time ago. I can still feel what it was like.
  • The change of seasons brings joy (and a sweet sadness sometimes which is a weird kind of joy too).
  • The times of uncontrollable, fall on the ground, close to tears, laughter.
  • Being a priest and seeing God touch people’s lives.
  • Watching children be children.
  • Knowing (because Christ said so) that it’s all going to turn out right. Love wins. Somehow it’s all worth it. If we let it, God will, in His own way and time, set this world right. So we can spend this life doing the things He asks of us. This purpose in life brings joy.

“So you also are in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you . . . your joy will be complete.” Jn. 16:22, 24

These moments are simply a foretaste of the joy the Lord created us to experience . . . our participation by adoption in the very life of God.

“Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered the mind what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Cor. 2:9

Are you coming to the picnic? Bless you.

Fr. Tim

God . . . No God. Important Consequences.

(Give this to a 20/30 Something)

Just west of Des Moines, Iowa, Interstate 80 hits a fork in the road. If you’re going to San Francisco, you keep on I-80 heading west. If you want to go to Houston, you bear south on I-35. Two roads heading to two different places. Where do you want to go?

It’s like life. Where you want to go determines which road you take. Most times our choices are “day to day” and have to do with groceries or family gatherings or what’s on TV. Seldom do we think of the Big Picture (Where AM I going with my life?).

Two roads lie ahead of us. One directs our lives to God. Do you want to meet Him in heaven? The other road is in search of some happiness here on earth before the lights get turned off.

The God Factor is critical in how you experience life. Things go off in two very different directions depending on what you believe about God and whether this God has a purpose for your life. See what you think. . . . .

Here’s what happens if there is no God (or if there’s no way of knowing anything about him anyway).

1. Nothing means anything. “Good” or “bad” is merely your opinion. What you think is “your truth”. What I think is “my truth”. In fact there is no ultimate truth.

2. Since there is no ultimate goodness to guide our actions, then “lesser gods” will serve. Money, possessions, leisure and pleasure are what life is about.

3. Might makes right. My wanting more makes me a potential threat to what you have. (Why can’t I take what you have? You say, “that’s not right!” I say, “Says who?!”)

4. Sickness, poverty, or tragic happenings can only be seen as absurd or real bad luck. Flee these things. Pity those who encounter them. They are the “unlucky ones”.

5. Any moment of beauty or longing that our lives have ultimate meaning is an illusion and should be tolerated like Santa Claus with our children. (Let this God myth continue as long as it keeps people happy).

6. An “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is the best way of dealing with human conflict. But who has the authority to declare something as righteous or criminal?

7. Our best hopes for our children would be that they were skillful hunters in getting what they want in a world that doesn’t care.

8. About the best thing we can wish anybody is “Good Luck”.

Pretty grim wouldn’t you say? Yet that is the way of the human heart without God. You see we humans were MADE FOR God. Made to enter into relationship with Him and without Him . . . . we lose our purpose for existing. We become, as the great theologian Romano Guardini put it, “clever animals”.

The revealed God of Christianity changes everything.

Here’s what happens when you let God into your life. (These contrast with 1-8 above)

1. Everything means something. The fact that something “is” gives it purpose in the plan of God. All that exists shares to some degree in the truth of its maker.

2. The “lesser goods” become what they were intended to be—joys in life that point to a loving God who wishes our happiness. They are not an end in themselves.

3. By God’s love (revealed in Christ), we become brothers and sisters to each other, NOT “threats” or rivals.

4. The hard things in life (sickness etc.) have been redeemed. They too now serve God’s purpose. They reveal true love. (We only know this by Jesus Christ who took suffering and death to himself to reveal what God’s love is like.) “Love bears all things.” 1 Cor. 13.

5. Longing for peace or purpose in life is a grace put there by God to remind us of our true home. “Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee Oh Lord.” St Augustine

6. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator . . .”

7. Our best hope for our children is that they would grow to be good and kind and happy in “doing what is right and just”. And that they too would come to know the presence of God in their life.

8. Our best wish for someone? “Go with God”. Go with God.

Fr. Tim

Out of Alignment.

Pictures, as the saying goes, are worth a thousand words. Whether it’s about “a feeling” or “an idea” or “something we believe in”, it helps to get a picture in our mind that captures the essence of what we’re thinking about.

So, I was thinking the other day of what the faith teaches about “the effects of Original Sin”. You re- member Original Sin, right? In the mythic story, Ad- am and Eve disobeyed God’s command to refrain from eating the fruit of that tree. It’s the God inspired picture of an event no one was there to record. It is a great mystery.

The catechism tells us that one of the effects of Original Sin has been the wounding of our human nature. That means the creature, man, made in God’s image, has forfeited his original holiness and justice and “is wounded in the natural powers proper to it.” (reason and will) (Catholic Catechesis #405). In short, we suffer ignorance about who we are, and in this ignorance we are inclined to sin. This leaning toward sin is called “concupiscence”.

So, here’s MY picture. See if this makes any sense. . . . I had an old VW “bug” way back in college. Great little vehicle – started up every time. One problem, it was out of alignment. Driving down the road, if you let go of the wheel, before long it would pull left and take you into the oncoming lane. It wouldn’t happen all at once, but you could feel a leaning. Like the car had a mind of its own, it pulled you into the other lane. To counteract this you had to drive with the wheel pegged to the right. This would keep the car in the proper lane heading straight.

It is the same with us humans. If we let go of the wheel, if we don’t take control over the direction of our lives, we eventually “pull into the wrong lane”.

Each of us experience this pull in our own way. (The classic “pulls” are called the Capital Sins – pride, envy, anger, gluttony, lust, jealousy and sloth). What’s yours?!!

The church’s teaching about the effects of Original Sin makes great sense. It’s a pull, an inclination. Going our own way, without God’s will to guide us, sooner or later we fall. Everyone sins.

Don’t be shocked that you have this tendency to sin – – – everybody has it (except Jesus and Mary – but that’s another story!) We’re in a battle. Be ready to fight. Some battles we win; some we lose. But, we don’t give up the fight.

The good news is that we’ve got the power to overcome this misalignment. Be aware of the pull “and keep our hands on the wheel”!!

Pray and recognize your tendency, and ask God to help correct your alignment. Ask for the strength and avoid the places and things that approach you with the familiar enticements that sin brings with it.

Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to keep in the proper lane. A priest might be able to help you here. Certainly the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation (Confession) is a great source of strength and realignment.

Lastly, do really fun things. The devil hates it when people can laugh at themselves and share friendship with others who are keeping their hands on the wheel.

Please enjoy this summer. God will be pleased if we celebrate this wonderful gift.

Fr. Tim