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September 2011

Feast of St. Jerome

Jerome had a violent temper and was very strong-willed. He made a lot of enemies because of his temperament. To overcome these faults, he prayed and did penance. His canonization shows us that canonized saints aren't perfect, but have faults just like us. They just worked on them and cooperated with grace more fully to overcome them. What faults do we have that we need to work more diligently on overcoming?

Feast of St. Jerome

A Great Insight

I came across the following that has meaning for me. Enjoy.

Far too often we Christians have ended up trying to make ourselves good--and then running away when we realize what a hopeless task that is!

Instead, the good news is that Jesus constantly tells us about the Father's love for us, the Father's forgiveness of our sins and the invitation of the Father for us to share His life.

In our Christian Scriptures, it is clear that those who really accepted Jesus as their Lord were the people who had no hope in their lives. With some exceptions, it was not the wealthy or the powerful who became fervent followers of Jesus, but those who had nothing to recommend them to others.

Abbot Philip
Monastery of Christ in the Desert
New Mexico

A Great Insight

The First Sunday of Fall 2011

At last the desert weather seems to be cooling down here in the desert.

As soon as the West wind kicks in from the coast, the weather here begins to cool.



 All in all, things are going well with me.  I hope the same is true with you.

Feel free to visit my website every now and then.  I have been publishing my remarks on the Sunday readings there.

Click here to visit my website

Keep me in your thoughts and prayers and know that you are in mine.



26th Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle A

Click here to look at the reading for this Sunday


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The readings of this Sunday are a call for me to remember what my baptism is all about. And again to reflect  and see what God is asking of me so I can find life, spiritual life, eternal life.  


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St. Paul in his letter to the Community is Philipi (which he writes while in prison and waitng for possible death), gives some ideas what it mean to be Christian, to be the presence of Christ in the world.  

A calling that we all received in baptism.  

After listening to this reading I certainly can say that I fall short. I know that I can at times lack compassion and mercy, especially with the person I find difficult.  Paul goes on to say,


"Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.  


In other words, do I put others first, before my wants?  My answer is no, and I am not pleased to have to admit that.  But if I look deep within myself, it is the truth.

  Ez 18
 Ezekiel in this Sunday's reading gives me courage.  

He encourges me to see my wrongs and pray to turn from them.  And the amazing thing is that God will never refuse to take me back.  Amazing.


 In a sense it is never too late.

 But in order to receive His mery, His forgiveness, His compassion, I have to look deep within.  It is such a temptation to escape and compare myself to others.  After all, I am pretty good most of the time.  This is the trap that causes me not to look deep at myself.  Why am I afraid?  Do I really think God will condemn me?  

The truth is that I condemn myself when I refuse to look at myself and escape with excuses and comparisons.



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In the reading of the gospel of Matthew that we hear today, Jesus is trying to help the Scribes and Pharisees see that they are two faced.  They act great as religious leaders but that greatness is not  a reality if they would only look deep within themselves.  Of course, they will not.  


And Jesus tells them, because they won't look truthfully at themselves and see their sins, the big sinners are getting into heaven before them.  What a shock.  

Why is that?  Well, my experience is that big sinners know their sins clearly and are just waiting to hear of a God who is full of mercy and forgiveness.  They know themselves very well.

The scribes and pharisees see themselves as holy when compared to others and that is their downfall.  


They won't look deep within. They have to put on a good face for all to see.

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Jesus tells them a story which He hopes will open their harden hearts.  That story is  for me too, especially at the times I want to blame my faults, my failures, my sins, on someone else.  

The devil made me do it, etc.  

I am only human.  

Everyone would do the same thing if they were in my situation, etc.


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Perhaps in the week ahead when we come upon a difficult person or situation we will take a look at which of the sons we are.  


Saying one thing and doing another.  If we discover that is the truth at times for ourselves, then pray for conversion to fulfill the call of Baptism and put others before self; to put the other first.  


That seems to be so against what society shows us.  

"Take care of number uno first."


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 I am sure that this week God will ask us to work in his field everyday; to make Christ present for others;  to put others before self.


Which son will you discover yourself to  be?


Keep in mind the words in the first reading from Ezekiel

But if he turns from the wickedness he has committed,

he does what is right and just,
he shall preserve his life;

Something worth reflecting on

St. Paul's letter to the Philippians 1:20-27

The fear of death is the mother of materialism and worldliness. For Paul, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If you substitute any other word for "Christ" in the first phrase and say, "For me to live is _____ (wealth, pleasure, popularity, power), then you must change the second phrase to: "To die is loss."

Something worth reflecting on