Fatherly Advice

Fatherly Advice

Bar 4:5-12, 27-29 On Eagles’ Wings

Saturday of the Twenty Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
“Fear not, my children; call out to God! He who brought this upon you will remember you. As your hearts have been disposed to stray from God, turn now ten times the more to seek him; For he who has brought disaster upon you  will, in saving you, bring you back enduring joy.”
 Today’s first reading from the Book of Baruch reminds me of the hymn “On Eagles Wings”:
And he will raise you up on eagles’ wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of his hand.
What comfort to know that Our Lord is present, guiding and molding us.  He holds us in the palm in his hand as he shelters us from harm.  Do not worry about falling down; the Lord lifts up.  Do not fret about being alone; the Lord is a loyal companion.  Do not worry about death; the Lord grants eternal life to all who believe and follow His Will.
Back in junior high school,  our principal asked students to submit ideas for a new school motto.  The winner of the contest received a movie theater gift card and recognition during morning announcements….
My mom and I spent a weekend brainstorming ideas.   We wanted to use the school mascot, an eagle, in the motto. I remember we stopped by a local Shell gas station to fill up my mom’s old ’85 Ford Thunderbird.  Noticing the word “excellence” on the gas station sign, I turned to my mom saying: “Oh, what about using the words Eagle excellence!?”  She thought it was an “excellent” idea.  By the time we filled up the gasoline tank, the new motto was created:  Experience the Eagle Excellence.   It sounded pretty darn good.  Yet, I convinced myself another student would come up with a better motto.  No way within an eagle’s eye would I win the contest!
A few weeks later, I sat in 2nd period when the school motto contest winner was announced:  “And our new school motto is Experience the Eagle Excellence by Jennifer Burgin!”  My first reaction involved the instinctive cringe after hearing my last name mispronounced! However,  I quickly recovered feeling excitement as well as surprise.  Who knew my motto was a winner? I remember how proud my mom was after I told her the news.  She bragged to all of her coworkers and friends for weeks afterwards. 
I often wonder if that school motto is still in use so many years later…
We can allow fear to take over our lives, keeping us away from the Church and the Sacraments.  The eagle is one of the largest birds in the world.  We may think we can never reach its beauty, magnificence, and stature.  We may assume that our littleness is a sign of worthlessness.  Howeverthis is so far from the truth.  Through our smallness we see a need for God.  We may even crave an intimate connection with the Lord, not fully understanding how such a bond can give us interior peace and joy!
Imagine flying on an eagle’s wings seeing the vastness of the earth in all of its richness and beauty.  Let go of the anxiety and worry.  Snuggle up against the immense wings knowing that everything will be okay.  Nothing bad lasts forever when we have Christ and Our Blessed Mother close to the heart.
“I look upon myself as a weak little bird, with only a light down as covering.  I am not an eagle, but I have only an eagle’s EYES AND HEART.  In spite of my extreme littleness I still dare to gaze upon the divine Sun, the Sun of Love, and my heart feels within it all the aspirations of an eagle.”
Saint Therese of Lisieux (Feast Day October 1st)
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin.  Please visit her blog:  Jennifer’s Spectrum of Spirituality
Fatherly Advice

Luke 10:1-2 Find a Partner

Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
“I love my faith.”

I saw that on the Facebook page and started smiling so much I thought my face would hurt. I couldn’t believe it—I had a Catholic friend! A Catholic friend!!!

There’s something so awesome about being able to talk about Catholic moral issues with someone who understands.  There’s something so amazing about sitting over tea with someone, talking about her excitement about seeing the pope in Philadelphia. It’s so nice to finally have someone who gets it.


On Wednesdays, I can go to Confession and tell everything I’ve thought about the entire week to the priest. He’s my partner in advancing and developing my faith.

The upperclassmen of University Catholic have so much to tell me about Catholicism and helping me grow in my faith. They’re my partners. They give books to me and hug me and make me feel like I’m part of one big Catholic family.

We’re all part of the Body of Christ. We’re his hands and his feet. And we have to have partners to make it when so many people haven’t heard about Christ and his amazing works. We can find these partners in the Catholic centers of universities, in the pro-life groups in high schools, and in the million and one groups in so many Catholic churches. So make an effort. Find your partner and start evangelizin’! Because “the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few…”, and we have so much work to do.
Fatherly Advice

Hg 1: 3-8 Eat and Be Satisfied

Thursday if the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)


Now thus says the LORD of hosts:
Consider your ways!
You have sown much, but have brought in little;
you have eaten, but have not been satisfied;
You have drunk, but have not been exhilarated;
have clothed yourselves, but not been warmed;
And whoever earned wages
earned them for a bag with holes in it.

Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Consider your ways!
Go up into the hill country;
bring timber, and build the house
That I may take pleasure in it
and receive my glory, says the LORD.
We stood in the kitchen of Frassati house at 1:30 AM. “Hail Mary, full of grace…” It had been over a month since college started, and I still could not believe the amazing nature of the people around me. Two other girls and four guys in love with their faith stood, heads bowed, around the kitchen island. It was 1:30 AM in the morning, and we prayed.

Sometimes I’m worried that college isn’t going so well. After I received a 53 on my math test, this thought was confirmed. What was I doing wrong? I had spent hours on math. I had prayed to St. Augustine to help me on the math proofs. I had read the notes twenty times. And then, suddenly, my face smiled and almost not even realizing it, I said “Sophie! Your life is awesome.”
I shocked myself.
But my life really is awesome. I’m eighteen years old, I have a plan for world domination of University Catholic, and I’m learning so much in my math class and biology seminar. My math professor is willing to help me reach a B in his class. The group of University Catholic freshmen is growing. I’m still in touch with most of the friends I made at orientation, and I’ve even started tutoring and teaching violin lessons! And suddenly I thought of how much I was neglecting to count my blessings.

In the reading, Jesus says that we have “eaten, but not been satisfied.” This has happened to me so many times. When I began my freshman year of high school, I thought “Four more years til I’m out of this place! Let’s go!” And suddenly it was three more years, then two, then a year and a half, and finally, days, and I sat in my kitchen and cried because I didn’t want to leave home. The tile floor was cold and my mum was only half-sympathetic until she turned as cold as the floor and told me, “Sophers, be an adult. You’re going away to college. You’re going to be fine.” Talk about tough love.

But I have to remember all my blessings, and I have so many. There’s my lovely floormate who invited me to breakfast with her family when I grew so homesick that I hugged someone else’s sisters. There’s the slow mornings when I can play music and get dressed and I’m not rushed for the 8:10 AM. There’s the beautiful walk to campus—so many trees!—and the huge smile the upperclassmen in UCat always give me. I’ve waited four years to swing dance on top of a parking garage, play Murder in the Dark at 1:00 AM, and run across a lawn with the sprinklers on. I’ve waited four years to learn about Godel’s IncompletemessTheorem: there’s no limit to the human mind! I’ve waited so long and now’s my chance to eat and be satisfied.

So dear reader, eat and be satisfied.. Think about what you have right now, and if that’s hard, just start thinking about a delicious meal that you can make right now without having to go to a campus store. Start thinking, start counting, and then say a prayer to eat, and be satisfied.
Fatherly Advice

Mk 9:38-48 Cut it Out!

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time(Click here for readings)By FR ALFONSE NAZZAROIf your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.  It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. …

Fatherly Advice

Ps 137: 1-2,3,4-5,6 History Happened

Wednesday of the Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
By Benedict Augustine
By the streams of Babylon
we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.”
The people of Israel were a defeated people, living in exile. They lost their homes, their pride, and (almosttheir God. They lived at the mercy of their conqueror, making their lives in the strange land of Babylon. Even though their tradition boasted of a great religion, one that was actually true and made sense compared to everything around them, and of great leaders like David and son Solomon, and great miracles like the crossing of the Red Sea, the reality around them continually reminded them that none of this existed anymore.
No one cared about the Israelites and their great history or their great destiny. At most, it could serve as a nice bit of entertainment for complacent pagan aristocrats. After hearing so many stories about divine bulls and promiscuous epic heroes, they wanted something new. Culturally speaking, the novelty of Jewish religion probably represented the only thing worthwhile to a people that surpassed them in everything else.
In the face of this oppression, the Israelites could do nothing more than remember. They desperately needed to remember, or else they would lose themselves. Many of them did indeed lose themselves. It was hard not to join the winners of that time, especially when their society promised so much pleasure for so little in return.
Then history happened. As Jesus warned St. Peter, “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword” (Mt 25:52). Babylon fell to the Persians. The Persians fell to the Greek/Macedonians. The Greeks split into the three Hellenistic kingdoms, which lasted until the Romans conquered them. When Rome finally became Christian, the region then fell under dominion of the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Rome), and then fell to the Arabs soon after the rise of Islam. After passing through various dynasties (theUmmayad, the Abbasids, the Turks), it eventually became the place of the Ottoman Empire. After WWI, France and England took possession of the area before relinquishing it to the nations that exist there today. Even today, those nations are now falling under the onslaught of the Islamic State and Iran’s proxies.
The few Christians and Jews who remain in the area know this violent cycle all too well, and yet they continue to remember. Even as their churches burn, their people suffer crucifixions and torture, and their brethren abroad continue to shrug and panic about the rush of refugees and migrants—it didn’t occur to anyone that they might not want to die or become rape victims or slaves by staying—they refuse to leave their home and sing a different song.
Although one cannot predict the future of Christians in these war-torn, Islamist-ridden areas, one thing is certain: God’s justice will prevail. The savage brutality endured by these few martyrs who dare not “sing the song of the Lord in a foreign land,” will certainly earn them a place in Heaven. The calm passiveness of those who watch them die without doing anything, or turn away in revulsion, will certainly warrant some time in purgatory, if not hell.
This thought alone, the thought of God’s judgment, galvanized action of a whole host of men in the Crusades, who gave up everything to save their fellow Christians. They did not have drone planes, precision bombs, or satellite surveillance; they had ricketyships run by greedy Italians, uncomfortable chainmail and heavy lances, and unreliable maps sketched from the details of legends and hearsay. Most of them went to their deaths, and the few who returned often came back maimed, diseased, or both.
History will continue to happen, and as such, it will not vindicate these victims of the past. The Ancient Jews in Babylonian exile, the Crusaders of the Middle Ages, or the Christians living in the Middle East right now will never be remembered as anything but helpless props of an inferior culture—that is, if anyone cares to think of them at all. Those in comfort may think of them when they are bored and need something to prod them into caring about life again.
In the end, however, these people are the wise ones. They chose to remember the two most important things, God Almighty and their neighbor in need. In turn, God will remember them, as will the people who will know them in Paradise. They weep in misery and suffer ignominy now, but they will laugh with joy and experience eternal goodness later.
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