Pray the week: Holy Spirit, pour out Your gifts upon us to do Your work in the world.
Archive for May, 2012
The Father, the Son, and Who?
I really dislike fill-in-the-blanks…
“Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.”
In preparing the bulletin this week I came across a picture. The image of God the Father and of Jesus. The third frame showed and empty picture frame. Above it says Father, Son, and Who? Our automatic reaction is to fill in the blank. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The empty picture frame is filled up with the picture of a dove or a flame, like the tongues of flame that came to rest on those in the upper room. The picture complete, we feel a sense of completeness. But are we done?
Truly, the Holy Spirit filled those in the upper room. They burst out onto the balcony above the street, and Peter gave the very first homily. The Apostles were filled, and so we think the blank is filled. The Spirit is in the picture frame; the bishops are there to lead our faith journey. Aren’t we set? They were committed, committed to the mission that Jesus passed onto them. Committed to filling in the blank. Isn’t that enough?
We often think that God will take care of everything. Certainly He will. He fills the blanks in our lives. But God also needs us to fill in the blank space. Jesus needed the Apostles to step up, to follow the instructions He gave them, to go out into the world and preach the Word, to baptize, to proclaim salvation through the forgiveness of sins.
Jesus calls us to the same mission. He needs us to do exactly those things. To do what the Holy Spirit prompts us to do. To fill in the blanks.
God Has taken care of the courage, energy, and determination we need. As He empowered the Apostles through the gift of the Holy Spirit. He empowers us through our baptism and confirmation. The Holy Spirit is more than an empty frame. The blank is filled in by those called to do God’s work in the world.
Consider those picture frames. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Then fill in the last picture frame with a picture of you. Don’t just put a dove in the frame and walk away satisfied. Put a picture of yourself in there because every Christian must fill in the blank. The Holy Spirit fills us. The dove won’t do God’s work or carry our Jesus’ instructions. We have been filled with the Holy Spirit for a reason. He gives us all we need to do His work.
- 5/20 – Matthew 16:24-26 – Lord Jesus, grant that as we compete on the playing field we keep our true goal before us, knowing that nothing is more valuable than who we are before Your eyes.
- 5/21 – Exodus 4:2-4 – Lord God, You have placed skills and abilities in our hands. Grant that we may use them in service to You; declaring and displaying the significance of Who Your are.
- 5/22 – Matthew 25:14-30 – Lord, we are Your athletes. Everything we have, every talent and ability, comes from and belongs to You. Grant that we may use them to advance Your kingdom and bring You glory.
- 5/23 – Romans 12:1 – Lord Jesus, grant all be offered in a spirit of worship toward You. May our life be a spiritual act of worship, set apart and pleasing to You as we offer You all we are — our bodies, our minds, our hopes, our dreams — as a living sacrifice.
- 5/24 – Mark 4:1-20 – Lord Jesus, we continually see examples of athletes who connect, who score, who hit the home run, who strive for victory. Grant that we may take up your Word and strive on to victory. Keep us strong in faith so that we may not drop the ball or quit.
- 5/25 – 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 – Lord Jesus, You have drawn us together in one team. We need each other to succeed. Draw us together in Your Holy Church so that in our given positions we may declare and display the significance of Your one team.
- 5/26 – Philippians 3:13-14 – Lord Jesus, we fall into error. Grant that we may seek forgiveness for our errors so that we may effectively move forward with the things You have prepared for us. Grant too that we may forgive generously so that we may retake the playing field better prepared for victory.
Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant that we may compete, play, and live in Your joy.
“The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve” — Matthew 4:10
The Central Diocese of the PNCC Acolyte Retreat will be held from Tuesday, June 26th (noon) to Friday June 29th (noon) at the Bishop Hodur Retreat and Recreation Center, Spójnia Farm, in Waymart, Pennsylvania. The participants will have a great opportunity to pray together in order to know better our Lord Jesus Christ and to spend a wonderful time with “old” and “new” friends. The deadline for registration is June 10, 2012. Cost of retreat is $90 for members of the church and $200 for non-members. Please download our registration form, healthcare form, schedule, and rules.
Financial support for attendance will be available. You may contact Deacon Jim with any questions. You may also contact the retreat directors Fr. Joseph R. Cyman, Fr. Gregory Mludzik, or Fr. Mariusz Zochowski.
I know it hurts
But, be joyful and celebrate; it’s for your own good…
“I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely.”
The game is over. You’re sore.
Today’s Gospel reminds us that we are to be joyful. How do we combine a spirit of joyfulness and our temporary pain? Is there anything in sports that might help us be Jesus’ joy to the world?
One athlete who, in light of eternity, always thought her God-given abilities in sport were “kind of a dumb gift”. For years she wished she had been given a gift to play an instrument or to be good at public speaking so that she could easily reach out to others with God’s love. Then one day she discovered a ministry that uses sports to share the love and life of Jesus with people around the world. It seemed like a perfect fit. In her heart, she felt like God was telling her, “Look, here is what I’ve been wanting you to do with the gift I have given you!” All of a sudden, what once seemed like a “dumb gift” now seemed like an incredible gift that God had purposed all along. It was a gift that gave her joy and brought Him glory.
For her, and for us, the sports field is a sacred place where we experience life with God; life within our faith community. In play we shine brightly for Him.
God desires that we live joyful lives and that we bring His joy into all we do. We can and must celebrate God, our salvation, and have great joy at the same time.
As Christians we do all as a means to declare and display the significance of Who He is – even in our temporary aches and pains.
As we live our daily lives, playing sports, exercising, working, teaching, being family, neighbors, and friends, let us consider what it means to worship God through all those avenues. Let us consider how in doing all this we, like that one athlete, bring God’s joy to the world.
In the film Chariots of Fire, athlete Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian says, “I believe God made me for a purpose: China. But he also made me fast! And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” These words reflect his attitude, which revealed a holy competitiveness. He felt at joyful and at peace using his God-given ability to run fast in worship of God.
Don’t let worship be just about singing, music, or sitting in church. Let worship be the joy filled way we approach all we do, and how we show God’s joy in all we do.
- 5/13 – Psalm 139:13 – Lord Jesus, grant that we may be thankful for Your gift of life and the sacrifice of our mother’s who have carried us with love.
- 5/14 – Genesis 4:1 – Father, thank you for the gift of marital love. Grant that those whose lives are founded upon mutual love and respect may choose to share those gifts by bearing and raising children.
- 5/15 – Luke 1:41 – Lord Jesus, our children are formed with the potential for loving You. Grant that parents may bring their children before You, teaching and raising them within Your Holy Church.
- 5/16 – John 16:21 – Lord, grant that all men and women may see the gift of children as a joy and blessing. Grant that we may diligently support and defend life at every stage.
- 5/17 – Psalm 131:2 – Lord Jesus, we find comfort in our mother’s arms. Grant that we may see, through her love, the love You have for us.
- 5/18 – Exodus 20:12 – Lord God, grant that we may honor our parents. May we always be found to have respect and love for them doing all in our ability to care for them.
- 5/19 – Proverbs 6:20 – Father, You have blessed us by giving our mothers the graces to love, care for, and teach us. May we be found attentive to their instruction so that we may receive the blessings that flow from that instruction.
Pray the week: Lord Jesus, bless my mother with Your graces and gifts. Lead her to eternal life with You.
I can’t give you all the answers.
Some things you have to figure out for yourself.
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
We have all likely had that experience with our mom. We have a question, or need an answer, and suddenly we are confronted with her challenge – that we figure it out for ourselves. That’s one attribute of a mother’s love. After spending years nurturing us, helping us, she recognizes that moment when we must attempt to fly on our own.
If our moms didn’t live by Jesus’ instruction on sacrificial love, they would hold on to us, think only of their needs, hobble us and keep us dependent. But here we are, strong, faith filled, independent adults who are strong enough to discern answers, to figure things out.
Of course mom stands by in the background, for if we were to reach out in genuine need, perhaps for a kind, reassuring, and loving word, she would be ready to generously offer what we need.
As we face our tomorrows, even those dark and difficult tomorrows after we loose our moms to eternal life, we face them prepared because of her love.
We know mom has done her utmost, not to simply make us independent, strong, and faith filled but to give us the one gift that make our lives perfect.
In their love for us, our moms gave us the gift of eternal life in the joy of heaven. They did this by baptism, their prayer on our behalf, the instruction we need to know and love Jesus, and the way they modeled and encouraged life within His Holy Church. We saw her pray and worship, finding the calm and reassurance that she needed. She heard Jesus speaking directly to her – “No one has greater love than this…” This is the commitment she lived.
Now it is time for us to step up, to figure this one out for ourselves. This is what my mom means to me. This is what she did to make my life so very special.
We love you mom!!!
- 5/6 – John 15:1-4 – Lord Jesus, thank You for the grace and inspiration that has brought me into Your Holy Church and grafted me onto the vine. Grant that Your word may continue to strengthen me and prune me for Your work.
- 5/7 – Psalm 80:7-8,14-17 – Heavenly Father, David foresaw the path Your Son Jesus would follow. You in turn raised Him on high for He followed Your will. Watch over Your vine as we face all that challenges us in seeking to follow Your will.
- 5/8 – Isaiah 5:1-7 – Father, when You come to seek the fruit of Your vineyard grant that we be found abundant and productive.
- 5/9 – Jeremiah 2:21 – Father, forgive us when we fall into sin and error. Grant us the grace to return to You in sincere contrition and through Your grace imparted in penance.
- 5/10 – Hosea 10:1-2 – Father, save us from false pride and haughtiness. Prune us again and again so that we may be strengthened to produce good fruit abundantly.
- 5/11 – Revelation 2:1-7 – Lord Jesus, grant us the grace and resolve to return to the innocence of faith and love; that which we had when we were grafted onto your vine.
- 5/12 – Hebrews 12:5-13 – Abba, Father, as you prune us grant that we may keep our eyes fixed on the reward that awaits Your fruitful and productive servants. Grant that we not despair when tested, but rather that we be strengthened.
Pray the week: Lord Jesus, help us to grown and flourish as members of the vine.
We commemorate Bishop Joseph Padewski, who served our Holy Polish National Catholic Church in the United States, including locally in Albany, and in Poland this Thursday, May 10th. On September 1, 1939 Nazi Germany invaded Poland from the west and the Soviet Union invaded from the east. The losses to Poland and to the Church in Poland during the Nazi German and Soviet occupation were devastating. Over 6 million Poles died including 3 million Polish citizens of the Jewish faith. Many priests were sent to concentration camps. In all, 28% of PNCC priests were killed.
The Nazis arrested Bishop Padewski, who shepherded the PNCC in Poland, in 1942. Many of the priests and leaders of our Church already imprisoned or sent to concentration camps. After 18 months, through the intervention of the Red Cross, he was freed and returned to the United States. After the war he returned to Poland resuming his duties as Bishop of the Polish branch of the PNCC. Shortly after his return, the Soviet Union completed its takeover of Poland and asserted Communist control. In this atmosphere of Stalinist terror, Bishop Padewski was arrested by the Communist Secret Police (UB) in Warsaw and was held at their prison on Rakowieckiej Street. Bishop Padewski died on May 10, 1951 as a result of Secret Police questioning and maltreatment.
Bishop Joseph, pastor and shepherd of our Holy Church, and martyr for the faith, pray for us.