Archive for July, 2013

I have always felt like a bit of a freak whenever I hear a news story about someone brutally abusing others. Whether it is a murderer who tortured victims or a dictator who murders his own people, like others around me I am horrified by how evil man can be and I am heartbroken for the suffering the victims endured.

But as soon as the discussion turns toward the person who committed the evil and I hear comments like, “he deserves to fry!” or “get rid of this waste of human life!” my heart also aches for that person.

I don’t have a romantic idea that the person isn’t “that bad” or that he didn’t truly, deliberately choose evil.  I don’t “like” the person or imagine that he will ever change his ways; I don’t want him free to go on harming others. I want him put away.

But I don’t wish evil back on him; I don’t wish him to suffer or to have his life taken. And I don’t rejoice with his death, even the assassination of someone like Osama Bin Laden. I feel great sadness over such events.

I have been pondering the life of St. Therese of Lisieux. She was led to pray for those who chose evil and were unrepentant, feeling compassion for their lost souls. I am fascinated by this, and wonder if this may be the type of prayer ministry the LORD has in mind for me.

I believe every person on this earth was meant for God; He didn’t create any to be lost though we are free to reject Him. Maybe that is why God made me to be a freak – to feel compassion for those who chose evil – so someone (me?) will pray for them, that they may repent and experience God’s mercy.

Even as I was pondering all of this, I read a passage in 1 Samuel 30:21-25 that made me laugh out loud. How perfectly it fits these thoughts this morning! Coincidence? I think not!

“When David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him, whom he had left behind at the Wadi Besor, they came out to meet David and the men with him. As David approached, he greeted them. But all the greedy and worthless among those who had accompanied David said, “Since they did not accompany us, we will not give them anything from the plunder, except for each man’s wife and children.” But David said: “You must not do this, my brothers, after what the LORD has given us. The LORD has protected us and delivered into our hands the raiders that came against us. Who could agree with this proposal of yours? Rather, the share of the one who goes down to battle shall be the same as that of the one who remains with the baggage—they share alike.” And from that day forward he made this a law and a custom in Israel, as it still is today.”

Dear God, help me to remember those who were too exhausted to follow you. Even though they turned away, chose evil, rejected you … still, you created them in Your image and You “will everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4)  Show me “the little way” of St. Therese; continue to teach me how to pray even for the most lost souls; please fill my heart with compassion for the most difficult to love and use me as a vessel of Your mercy. In the name of Jesus with the Holy Spirit, I pray!





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Recently I was re-reading Judges 19, found here.

One of the things that came to mind was that it is such a classic “if only / what if” story.

We all do that, especially when a tragedy strikes – “If only he hadn’t … what if they had done something else instead?”

In this story, what if she hadn’t been unfaithful and run to her father’s house? What if her father hadn’t pressed them to stay longer, delaying them several days? Or what if the Levite had agreed to stay that one extra night? If only they had chosen the other town to spend the night …

Hindsight is 20/20, but in the end an innocent woman was dead.

I was reminded of this when the verdict came in on the Zimmerman/Martin trial.

You can’t help but think of all of the “if only / what if” scenarios in that case. I have a certain level of sympathy for both men that caused them to choose the actions they did. But if either had made a different choice, he would have completely changed the outcome of what became a real tragedy.

I do think the correct verdict was made. I don’t believe either man was completely innocent … and I also don’t believe either did anything to “deserve” the tragedy that has befallen them or their families.

But in the end, a terrible tragedy occurred, a young man is dead, and a lot of peoples’ lives are forever changed.

And in a way, it feels as if within our own nation we are waging wars against one another, just as Israel went to war against the tribe of Benjamin, one of its own.

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11 years ago today my dad was born into eternal life.

Today my brother-in-law’s dad is in hospice. He has been suffering for four years as his mind and his health have declined. He is ready to go … the family is ready to release him and yet it is still so painful.

I know a gentleman who is 80 years old now. His father was a hard man and never kind to him. When the father was near death, his son asked, “Did you ever love me?” “No.” was the curt reply.

I can’t even imagine that.

As I reflected I had to wonder … is it harder to lose someone who has loved you so well in this life, or is it harder to lose someone whose love you tried to earn but never really fully experienced? I’m sure there’s no real answer to that.

Today I pray for my 80-year-old friend who never experienced his father’s love.

Today I pray for my brother-in-law’s family as they walk these last miles with their father.

Today I pray for my family, so blessed by our father who was exceedingly kind and gentle and missing him terribly.

11 years ago today my dad was born into eternal life.

Happy birthday, dad.

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A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about how our prayers for others can make a huge difference on their behalf … even bringing forgiveness of sin!

Today while reading 1 Samuel I found another passage that brought a little more clarity. Eli and his sons were priests in Israel and Eli learned that his sons were stealing sacrifices from the people that were meant for God.

Eli pleaded with his sons:

“If someone sins against another, anyone can intercede for the sinner with the LORD; but if anyone sins against the LORD, who can intercede for the sinner?” (1 Sam 2:25)

“Anyone” can intercede for the sinner with the LORD.  I am anyone! I greatly desire to intercede for my loved ones, especially those who have wandered away from their faith.

Ronald Rolheiser has a section about this topic in his book, The Holy Longing. He writes that as the body of Christ on this earth, our love and forgiveness of others is the “binding” and “loosing” described in the new testament: “whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Rolheiser writes that as long as we hold others in love and forgiveness, they are forgiven even though they may have wandered far away:

“If a child or a brother or a sister or a loved one of yours strays from the church in terms of faith practice and morality, as long as you continue to love that person, and hold him or her in union and forgiveness, he or she is touching the hem of the garment, is held to the Body of Christ, and is forgiven by God …  “

I wept with joy as I read that, and I am anxious to learn more. Does it sound too good to be true? If I had just read it out of the blue, I would be skeptical. But it fits perfectly into what the LORD has been teaching me and showing me about prayer – it puts into words and makes sense out of passages that I have been pondering for a very long time, including this passage from James 5:15:

“and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.”

Speak, LORD – your servant is listening! Search me, show me if I am deceived or if I am in error. I seek Truth, I seek You, and I stand with open hands and open arms to receive what You will give, to release to you what you would wipe away. In Jesus’ name I pray.

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I read this blog several days ago and it really struck a chord with me. Here is an excerpt:

On April 26, President Obama, the first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood, not only thanked that organization which aborts around 300,000 children a year, but added, “God bless you.” Evil, be thou my good.

 On June 13, Nancy Pelosi said that the abortion issue is “sacred ground.” Evil, be thou my good.

 On June 20, a New York Times Op-Ed contributor described the aborting of her 23-week-old son, who had a heart defect: “I felt my son’s budding life end as a doctor inserted a needle through my belly into his tiny heart. As horrible as that moment was — it will live with me forever — I am grateful. We made sure our son was not born only to suffer. He died in a warm and loving place, inside me.” Evil, be thou my good.

It brings to mind this passage from Isaiah 5:20: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

This week came news of a battle in Texas as lawmakers attempt to pass laws restricting late-term abortion. As pro-lifers sang “How Great Thou Art,” opponents were chanting, “Hail satan!”

Evil, be thou my good.

It wrenches my heart for anyone who would say such a thing. They might think they are being clever, but “make no mistake: God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7)

Father forgive them … they know not what they do.




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Yesterday’s reading at mass was Matthew 8:23-27:

“As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?”

It tickled me when Father Jim said, “As I reflected on this passage this morning, I saw something new that I had never noticed before …”

I love it when that happens to me! No matter how many times I’ve heard or read a passage, something new can still pop out as “new to me.” And how cool is it that the same thing happens no matter what our age or vocation in life?

Father went on to focus on the very first sentence … Jesus got into the boat.

God is not a distant God, watching us from afar as we are tossed about by the violent storms of life. He doesn’t simply provide a guidebook to follow, nor only send help through others.

He gets into the boat with us.

How awesome is our God!



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