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Saturday, October 1, 2016

"...God never ceases to draw man to Himself."

In 1957, Mother (Saint) Teresa wrote “I am told God lives in me, and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul”. This woman, though small in stature, loomed larger than life to most, and throughout much of her public ministry - replete with amazing deeds of genuine charity, she struggled through a blackness that many consider incomprehensible, at least in their contemplation of who they think this saintly person was.

In truth, all human beings experience a “darkness and coldness and emptiness…so great that nothing touches [our] souls”, but in all too many instances we are simply not aware enough of the real presence of God in our lives to recognize that blackness. Not unlike the man who steps out of his storm cellar after a tornado has leveled everything around him and declares, “there’s nothing wrong here”, so too most of us see ourselves as “nothing wrong here” because we are simply unable to see who we truly are. It’s not that we don’t want to see ourselves, but rather that we are too immersed in the distractions of the world to be able to do so. Without God’s graces and our complete trust in Him, we are simply unable to truly witness to who we really are. Saint Teresa’s gift from God was that she was able to truly see, experience, and live the emptiness inside her – despite a universe of distractions, while continuing to serve our Lord in every person she encountered. She trusted in God unceasingly and because of that trust, though she was unable to see the Christ within herself, she was able always to see Him in the struggling, suffering, hopelessness she witnessed in so many that stood before her.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Joseph's Closet

Over the last five months, we have had the opportunity - through the graces and blessings of the Holy Spirit - to have visited over 2,400 homes in our community. During this time, we have been witness to a significant level of suffering, sometimes physically, most often financially, emotionally and spiritually. When possible we have provided assistance and support by way of empathetic and merciful dialog, prayer (both on-site and via our prayer ministry), and economic assistance.

The economic assistance has consisted of gift cards, (12 to date), clothing and basic furnishings necessary to daily living, and in three instances, short-term accommodations for homeless individuals while we worked to relocate them to more stable living conditions, simultaneously working to connect them with social service agencies. Most recently we supported efforts for a young single mother-to-be by helping to coordinate and provide some needed items for this individual and her child.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

"awesome-sauce"

Approaching a woman early today as she was playing with 4 young children in her driveway, we introduced ourselves, the purpose of our visit and commented about the beauty of seeing her in the yard with these four joy-filled children, all strutting around merrily on their tricycles. She smiled warmly, thanked us and then asked, “why do they make you do this”? Not quite fully understanding the nature of her question I asked her to explain to which she said, “why does the church make you do this, go door-to-door?”. We explained that we choose to do what we are doing because we believe in prayer and that regardless of whether people are believers in God or otherwise, the vast majority of them always welcome prayer on their behalf. We continued by saying that Christ calls us to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), and that this journey has been extremely rewarding. She then offered some information about herself and her family and asked if we would pray for them, as she extended her hand and thank us for what we are doing. As we started to depart, one of the children, a girl perhaps no older than 4, called us to us and said, “be careful on the road so you don’t get hit”; we smiled, thanked her and promised we would stay close to the side of the road, which met her absolute approval.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

"...nobody goes door-to-door anymore."

As I approached a home yesterday, while other Team members engaged residents on the opposite side of the street, I was met with a look of shock, followed by a burst of nervous laughter after introducing myself and stating the purpose of my visit. Asking what I had missed, I was informed that the two women – a mother and a daughter, were just discussing their faith journey (both are members of the Charlton Baptist Church) and how sad it was that “nobody goes door-to-door anymore”. It was within moments of that discussion that I entered their driveway after rounding a thicket of bushes extending out onto the street blocking any view they would have had of our presence in the neighborhood.  Immediately, one of the remarked about “God always giving us what we need, when we need it”, as the three of us entered into a beautiful discussion of faith, Jesus Christ and His message of love.

Monday, August 29, 2016

“Jesus, I trust in You” …well…sort of.

Christianity at its core, is based upon trust, trust in Jesus Christ, in His love for us, in His promise of salvation, in His forgiveness, in His “unfathomable Divine Mercy”, and in the knowledge that He is with us “always, until the end of the age”. (Matthew 28:20). So vital is this principle that the Psalmist implores us in Psalm 37:3,5 to “Trust in the LORD and do good…Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will act”.

But how many of us truly “trust in the Lord”? How many of us despite our regular attendance at Mass, reading of Scripture, participation in Eucharistic Adoration, and daily devotions such as the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, or any number of Litanies are really nothing more than shallow water swimmers whose “trust in the Lord” is really confined to the four walls of the Church, or the four walls of our family and friends, the four walls of our prayer group or the four walls of our comfort zone?