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Archive for December, 2010

Sacred Tears

I heard this quote tonight on Criminal Minds:

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love”  – Washington Irving

I love that.  It makes me think of a Psalm passage:

Psalm 56:8
8You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle
Are they not in Your book?

I have read about “the gift of tears.”  I still am learning. But I can’t guess how many times I’ve been kneeling in prayer, or kneeling at mass, and have been moved to tears by the holiness and beauty that washes over me.

I like this little blurb I found online:

The tears shed by those who have received the gift of tears are not shed in desperation or turmoil but rather in peace, thanksgiving and rejoicing, in offering the eternal eucharist of the heart where unceasingly we watch and pray. For many in our modem world the gift of tears is unknown. Fragmentation, loneliness, isolation dominate our lives and we know not our own hearts or the hearts of others. We become strangers to each other and to ourselves and to God. He is at the door awaiting an opportunity to enter. Created in God’s image, however, men and women are icons of the holy one, illuminated by His Grace, animated by the Holy Spirit. We have only to practice metanoia, the turning away from all that is not of God towards God. Then the divine warmth melts all those places within that we’ve been protecting, boarded up over time, numb, inaccessible, cast down in shame.

Our Lord cries to us in the depths of our hearts, “Awake 0 sleeper, rise up from among the dead, and Christ will illumine you”. “And you shall be as I fashioned you, a child of light capable of great compassion and love. And then I will awaken within you my Holy Spirit. You will know the profound love without limits I have for you. And your flow of tears will witness to the melting of frozen places within you. The softening of your tear stained face will be an invitation for me to take up my abode in your heart. I will remove from you all harsh judgement” He says: “Look to my mother, the Theotokos to see her tears as she stood by my cross remembering the words of the holy prophet and righteous elder, Simeon, ‘A sword shall pierce your heart’. Notice how she understands this offering of myself in love for the salvation of the world. See how she treasures all these things in her heart and how her heart becomes a place of offering of herself in prayer, a place of strong silence emanating from and participating in the salvation of the world”.

Slowly we come to understand the true gift of tears as God’s invitation to join in the work of redemption. This gift is given by God’s grace. It visits us gently in the still of the dark night when quietly we are inspired to hold God’s people before Him in prayer. It shakes us abruptly into prayer consciousness in the face of the tempter, potential dangers so that here too, we can be alert and wrap His precious children in the garment of protective prayer. St Silouan, holy monk of Mt Athos, prayed these words: “Merciful Lord, I pray for all the people of the world that they might know Thee by Thy Holy Spirit”. In his struggle with despair, St Silouan was one of us. In his offering of himself to God, he shows us the spiritual path, validating divine adoption, the becoming children of God, each one a child of the fight.

May God deliver us from any hardness of heart, foster within us true humility and love.

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Today’s reading will be my prayer for the day – I love this!

Proverbs 30:7-9

7  “Two things I ask of you, LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
8  Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

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Storms

Jonah 1

11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”

12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”

13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the LORD, “Please, LORD, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, LORD, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.

The LORD was coming after Jonah, and the men tried to stand in the way.

How often do we do that, believing we are helping someone in their storms and trials?

How often, instead of helping someone, are we standing in the way of the LORD?

Wow …

I love it how, once again, God got the attention of not only Jonah, but of the men around him too: “they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.”

Go, God!

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Lighting Candles

I’ve always loved the candles that are burning in Catholic churches. I love to light them for other people when I am remembering them in prayer.

I found this blurb today about the tradition and thought I’d share it:


One of the hallmarks of the Catholic faith is the use of sacramentals and pious devotions. One such devotion that comes from the early Church is the lighting of candles in prayer.

The word candle comes from the Latin word candere, to burn, and the meaning behind the light, wax and smoke of the candle can be found in the traditions of the early Christian faith. The light that the candle brings to our prayer signifies the presence of Christ (John 8:12). The human nature of Christ is symbolized by the wax used in the candle which expends itself during burning just as Christ expended Himself on the cross in His love for mankind. The smoke from the burning of the candle represents our prayer ascending to heaven by the hands of our angels (Rev. 8:4). In this way the candle is symbolic of sacrifice; that of Christ, and our own offering to GOD.

“The light of the candle signifies our prayer offered in faith coming into the light of GOD. With the light of faith, we petition our Lord in prayer, or petition the saint[s] to pray with us and for us to the Lord. The light also shows a special reverence and our desire to remain present to the Lord in prayer even though we may depart and go about our daily business.”

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Mysteries

One of today’s readings was Psalm 131:

1 My heart is not proud, LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.

I hadn’t really noticed this Psalm before, and I really loved reading it today.  Earlier this month, in this post, I wrote about how God had brought me to a passage in Sirach, Chapter 3.  I see an echo of one from another:

20 What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not.
21 What is committed to you, attend to; for what is hidden is not your concern.
22 With what is too much for you meddle not, when shown things beyond human understanding.
23 Their own opinion has misled many, and false reasoning unbalanced their judgment.

I love that. I have been guilty of being obsessive about knowing Truth about various topics – searching and studying.

But sometimes, as in these passages, God lets me know it’s ok for some things to remain a mystery. He quiets my spirit, and redirects me to attend to the works He has entrusted to me.

I think it’s good to simply appreciate the mysteries. There is a peace in simply trusting God.

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I have known my friend a long time, and long before he admitted to struggling with bisexual longings, I knew it.

Now he has admitted it – to himself, and to people around him. He’s looking for unconditional love; he’s hoping nobody rejects him because of it; he doesn’t want to be judged or treated like a freak. He wants to be accepted.

As he’s become more open about it, and has explored deeper, he’s made some comments that concern me:

The words that are translated as homosexuals in many Bibles are too ambiguous to allow me to conclude that they are blanket prohibitions against same-sex love.

I have strong doubts (which are my own opinion) about whether the Bible is really properly translated in the few verses that are often cited to supposedly prove that God forbids all forms of homosexuality.

i am just so confused WHY God would condemn all forms of homosexuality. I am confused why Jesus is silent in the Gospels on the subject of homosexuality. I am going to have to see what the early Church Fathers had to say on the subject, and see if I can compare that to the social context.

He also has said, “”I am in a monogamous heterosexual relationship, and have no plans to break the vows I made to my wonderful. wife”

He is married, and has children. And what concerns me isn’t who he is … it’s where he’s headed. He’s already gone beyond accepting the struggle placed in his life.  He’s completely bypassed the idea that this struggle is for him to overcome – to surrender himself and his hopes and dreams and desires utterly to God and follow where He leads.

He is starting to look for a way to rationalize, to be told “it’s ok – it’s the way you were made; go with it.”

Why are some people created with homosexual feelings if it’s wrong?  I don’t know … why are some people created with addictive personalities to alcohol … drugs … porn … gambling … food? Why are some people created with a lust for children, or animals? Why are some people created broken … blind … lame … sick?

Isn’t every person given trails – aren’t these trials our opportunities to overcome our own sin nature and to be made holy by God?

But instead we try to find ways to stay where we are; to avoid transformation; we say we want to be made holy, but we try to do it our way.  We try to rationalize, to explain, to convince ourselves we are ok as we are; “Jesus loves me just as I am.”

That is true – “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

But I don’t believe He wants us to remain unchanged. I believe He wants to transform us – He wants us to surrender all that we are to Him and to become Holy.

That’s the point … that’s our struggle.  It’s yours, it’s mine, it’s my friend’s.

Isn’t that kind of the point of Job? Satan told God Job was righteous because he was so protected and blessed; he claimed that removing those blessings would cause Job to curse God.

After losing all of his property, his children, and his health … who would have blamed him if out of frustration he had been angry and blamed God? Wouldn’t we all have understood his feelings and anger and frustration?

But he didn’t; he did not sin and curse God.

We ALL are given trials and “reasons” we could use to turn away from God.  And those very same reasons, are the reasons we should turn TO God.  It’s out of our hands, it is not our “fault,” we are broken and depraved and wicked people who need our Saviour.

Some of this I have said to my friend; some of it I have not. I don’t know if I will. I know he needs friendship and acceptance first, and I trust the Holy Spirit.  I pray for my friend’s protection from being deceived; for his guidance and that he follows.

This world and this life is tough … we all need great love to navigate it.  and Love Himself will help each of us when we ask.

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Obituary

I found LucasTheAngel’s obit online today. I’ve been fasting for him and for Penny, knowing how awfully alone she must feel. My heart sure goes out to her. 😦

Dale R. Coenen

December 7, 2010

Dale R. Coenen, 36, of Mosinee, formerly of Rudolph, died Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010, at Wausau Aspirus Hospital.

Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Philips Catholic Church in Rudolph. The Rev. Tim Welles will officiate. Burial will be in All Souls Cemetery, Rudolph.

There will be visitation from 9 a.m. until the time of services Thursday at the church.

Dale was born Oct. 20, 1974, in Wisconsin Rapids to Roger and Delores (Blackburn) Coenen. He married Penny Workman Aug. 21, 2010, in Wausau.

He was a graduate of Lincoln High School and University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Dale was employed by Carab Printing Inc. of Green Bay.

He enjoyed car restoration, including a ’69 Charger “General Lee,” and computer animation and videography.

Dale is survived by his wife, Penny; parents, Roger and Delores Coenen of Rudolph; brother, James (Joanne) Coenen of Rudolph, and their children, Allison, Joseph and Jacob; sister, Jill (Timothy) Schimke of Stewartville, Minn., and their children, Lily, Benjamin and Daniel; brother, Michael (Jennifer) Coenen of Rochester, Minn., and their children, Kelly, Karen and Katherine; brother-in-law, Dennis (Angela) of Middleville, Mich., and their daughter, Shawna; and father- and mother-in-law, Gaylord and Linda Workman of Cadillac, Mich.

Higgins Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

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