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Idaho Catholic Podcast

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Why Pray?

LESSON: Prayer - The Secret to Living Lent

The natural seasons of the year give a rhythm to life. Each season provides nature with something it needs to keep growing.
The same thing happens in the Church, with liturgical seasons. In each liturgical season God sends us graces we need in order to keep growing in wisdom, holiness, and happiness.
But these graces don't benefit our souls automatically, the way sunlight benefits plants. Rather, we have to take them in on purpose.
But how? How can we bathe in the supernatural sunlight that will make us grow, make us better, make us change, during this liturgical season?
Today the Church reminds us of the most effective method we have for drinking in all the graces God wants to give us during this Lent: prayer.
  • Today's  First Reading tells us that "The Lord God took Abram outside..." and had a conversation with him. That's prayer.
  • The Psalm gives us an example of King David's prayer in the face of danger, "Your presence, O Lord, I seek. Hide not your face from me..."
  • St Paul, in the Second Reading, reminds the Christians in Philippi that while most people occupy their minds "with earthy things... Our citizenship is in heaven." Our attention is on God - that's prayer.
  • Finally, in the Gospel, Jesus leads his three closest disciples away from the hustle and bustle of life, up to the top of a high mountain, where he can be alone with them, and give them a lesson in prayer.
We have to ask ourselves: is our prayer life in good shape? Has it improved in the last year, the last ten years? If it's out of shape, we won't be able to drink in the graces God wants to give us this Lent, the ones we really need.

ILLUSTRATION: Even Christ Needed to Pray

We often overlook one of the most remarkable pieces of evidence that shows how important prayer really is: Jesus prayed.
  • Last week we saw him go off into the desert to pray.
  • In today's Gospel passage, we see him go up the mountain to pray.
  • In dozens of other Gospel passages we see the same thing.
Let's think about what that implies.
  • Jesus Christ was God become man.
  • His human nature was infused with the power of his divine person.
  • He was perfect, sinless, without any tendencies to selfishness, laziness, or pride.
  • His character was flawless, firm as the mountains and gentle as a mother's caress.
  • His mind was beyond brilliant, filled with the radiance of divine light and understanding.
  • He had no emotional scars from a difficult family upbringing (Mary was without sin too, and Joseph was a saint), no personality disorders, no lacks, no wounds, no imperfections at all.
And yet, over and over again in the Gospels, we see him go off to be alone in prayer: "Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray."
  • Sometimes we even read about how he had to get up early to make time for prayer.
  • Other times he had to stay up late to make time for it, but he always did it.
  • Jesus needed to pray.
If he, who was perfect in every way, needed prayer in order to fulfill his life's mission, what does that imply for us, who are so imperfect, so weak, so vulnerable to every sort of temptation and wounded by every kind of sin?
Christ was a man of prayer, and, as he himself put it, "no disciple is greater than his master" (John 15:20). If he needed to pray; so do we.

APPLICATION: Daily Quiet Time

All of us have to ask ourselves about our prayer lives. We need to be honest. If our prayer life hasn't grown in the last year, we need to do something about it.
God still has so much he wants to do in our lives. Improving our prayer life will give him room to work.
One way to do that is by instituting a daily quiet time.
  • We never let a day go by without taking a shower, because we know our bodies need that cleansing.
  • We never let a day go by without eating, because we know our bodies need that nourishment.
  • Many people almost never let a day go by without exercising, because they know their bodies need that stimulation.
Why not do the same thing for our souls? That's what a daily quiet time is for. It's a one-on-one appointment with the Lord, which gives him room to refresh, nourish, and exercise our soul.
It's very simple to do.
Choose a time and place in which you won't be interrupted. Then do three things:
  • First, Remember. Remind yourself that Christ is with you and wants to be with you. Think of all the blessings he has given you.
  • Second, Read. Take out a spiritual book, a Bible, or your favorite prayer book and read a paragraph or two, slowly. No rush. [Here you can recommend your favorites and have copies available, e.g. St Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life, or Fr Thomas Williams' Spiritual Progress].
  • Third, Reflect. Think about what you read. Listen to what God wants to say to you through it. Apply it to your life.
Remember, Read, Reflect.
Before you know it the fifteen minutes will be up, and you will have received a word of encouragement from God to help you live the life he wants you to.
Prayer is the secret to drinking in all the graces God has in store for us. Today, he is hoping we'll decide to become better pray-ers. Let's not disappoint him.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Forgotten & Lost - Coming Easter 2019

My newest adventure novel will shake your world.... See how Jonas changed hundreds of lives as a humble homeless man... I bet as you get to know him he will change what you think about the world and who you are as a person too. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The widows and selflessness, giving, and trust (Veteran's Day)

Homily 32nd Sunday Ordinary Time – Year B (Deacon Pat Kearns) 

I believe there is a significant message in Today’s Readings and Gospel for many of us. It has to do with: • What and how we give • Our trust in God • Identifying “The Will of God,” and • Knowing how God blesses those who give from the heart. 

Today’s readings allow us to become more deeply aware that God is the helper of the poor when they turn to Him in faith and trust. In the readings, we encounter two widows who give generously out of their poverty. Both have a great trust in God and in turn, He cares for them. Specifically, we find in the first reading from the book of Kings, the widow initially hesitates when asked to give, but when reassured by the prophet Elijah, does comply, and places her complete trust and hope in God. She did what Elijah requested by using the last of her food to feed him while not knowing how she and her son would survive. • How many of us have such faith? • How many of us are so generous? • How many of us truly believe that God will give us all that we need in life? The reading ends with God multiplying the flour and oil just as the prophet had foretold, and the widow and her son ate for a whole year. 

Each week we come to Mass and listen to the scriptures, to the prophets, and we hear how God so loves us, that he wants us to follow him, to trust Him, and that he will not abandon us. • Yet, do we trust him? • Do we have such faith? In today’s Gospel we meet another widow at the temple and see such a contrast in how and what she gives, and in that of the Pharisees. The rich give from their surplus, while the poor widow offers everything she possesses, “Her whole livelihood, and her whole life.” She is not only completely honest with God, but she also deeply trusts in God’s providence. Isn’t that what God wants of us also? To be willing to give all and expect that God will provide. Many of us think about money when we hear these scriptures, but this concept of giving has much deeper roots. It actually begins in the heart. Many of us are much more selfish with our Time, our Attention, and the Sharing of Ourselves, than we are with our money. I do believe that Jesus is also pointing out that the value of what we offer is not necessarily judged by its quantity, but in its sincerity and completeness. Jesus is challenging us to recognize that our most beautiful and complete gifts come from the poverty of our hearts in union with a deep love and trust in God. So what is it that we find ourselves giving to others? • Do we give our kindness? • Our compassion? • Our forgiveness? • Do we give our patience? • Our Trust? • Our Time? • Our Efforts? Do we have faith that as long as we do the “Will of God” he will take care of us? And what exactly is “This Will of God?” Could it be that God almost daily places situations, events, and encounters in our lives, and then sits back and waits to see how we will respond? Do we use Christian values, the scriptures, and the teachings of our Church to not only identify these opportunities, but to direct our personal response? Can we see God’s hand in these events? Or are we so wrapped up in our own lives that we are oblivious of others? 

Today’s readings really have to do with the virtues of faith, service, and charity of the heart, And there is no better day than today, Veterans’ Day, to see how so many have lived those virtues. As a US Navy and Marine Corp Veteran myself, as well as three of my brothers, and my son who currently serves as a medic in the Air Force, this day has a special meaning to us that maybe is not completely understood in the same way for those who did not, or could not, serve. I can remember being in boot camp many years ago and realizing that I had turned over my entire being to this cause of service. I had no rights, at least that was what I was told, “They owned me!” For the next few years I did what I was told, and trusted that my service was being given for the greater good, and that by putting my personal wants and desires aside, I would become a part of something much greater than I was, specifically, part of a force that ensured liberty and freedom. We must never forget just how many veterans there are who had faith in God and Country, gave of themselves unselfishly, and trusted that they would be able to do the will of God in their service. And those veterans who served unselfishly, many of you right here, willing gave a part of themselves in their service that they will never get back. Yet if asked, many of them would say that through their time in service they have been blessed by God in many different ways and would not change a thing. This sacrifice that they gave and endured was for you, for me, and especially for God. 

We are all called to serve and give of our entire being; it is in this complete surrendering that God’s grace can fill us with such riches. Yet it calls for our Trust, Faith, and Understanding, like that seen in the Widows of today’s readings, and in those Veterans, to understand that through such self-less charity, we are in fact, purged of our self-centeredness, and united to that specific love... that very special and complete love… that only comes... from God.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018