Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sunday Gospel Reflection, October 11, 2015: That we might gain wisdom of heart...

   Is your way of life conducive to relationship with God?   

 The man who kneels before Jesus in Mark's Gospel doesn't seem to be sure.  He has observed all the commandments Jesus puts before him from his youth, but when Jesus challenges him to sell what he has and give to the poor, the man goes away sad, downcast, not sure he can meet the challenge Jesus has placed before him.  Although the man believes there is something he can do to effect salvation, to earn eternal life, in actuality the man has to allow salvation to be effected in him, opening himself to God, to the love of God, by dealing with his personal obstacles and barriers.  It is that love that will bring all good things, and difficulties, too -- but for God, all things are possible.  It is an open heart, first and foremost, that helps us to live a life conducive to relationship with God.

 The Book of Wisdom offers additional advice on the path we should be trying to follow toward right relationship with God.  I prayed, and prudence was given me:  prayer is our first access to God; it is the path to prudence, which helps us to discern, to make sound choices.  For nothing is as precious as the gift of wisdom, but here again, wisdom is an ongoing choice, not a static state of being.  Give us wisdom of heart, the psalmist prays in Psalm 90, a quality that will engender kindness, joy, and gladness.  It is again a request for the ability to discern, to see as God sees, to choose as God would have us choose.  Would that we could see God as clearly as God sees us:  No creature is concealed from him, the Letter to the Hebrews states, and God's Word can penetrate our soul and spirit, our heart and thoughts, our very joints and marrow. 

 What do we see, what can we discern, when we examine our life in depth, as God is able to do?  And how much is God a part of that life?  We are challenged to live a life conducive to relationship, with God and with other.  Do the choices we make support that path?

This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.
Image source:  Wordle

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Everything is a caress of God (Pope Francis)

  Our insistence that each human being is an image of God should not make us overlook the fact that each creature has its own purpose.  None is superfluous.  The entire material universe speaks of God's love, his boundless affection for us.  Soil, water, mountains:  everything is, as it were, a caress of God (84).

  The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely.  Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person's face.  The ideal is not only to pass from the exterior to the interior to discover the action of God in the soul, but also to discover God in all things.  Saint Bonaventure teaches us that contemplation deepens the more we feel the working of God's grace within our hearts, and the better we learn to encounter God in creatures outside ourselves (223).

(To download Pope Francis' Laudato Si, click here.)

Quotation source:  Laudato Si

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Seamless Garment of God's Creation (Bartholomew I of Constantinople)

  Christians are called to accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbors on a global scale.  It is our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God's creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet.  

--Patriarch Bartholomew I of Contantinople, 
quoted in Pope Francis' Laudato Si, paragraph 9.
(From his original text: 
"Global Responsibility and Ecological Sustainability," June 2012.)

To download the full text of Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato Si, click here.

Image source (1):  Creation Tapestry, Girona Cathedral, Spain
Image source (2):  Michael Delman, Night Sky over Mount Tamalpais
For Delman's full one-minute video, click here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

What a Wonderful World (Sir David Attenborough)

   It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest.  It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.  

--British naturalist Sir David Attenborough  

To sample the beauty of Sir Attenborough's film work 
with his own reading of What a Wonderful World
click on the video below: 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Blessing of the Animals today at Our Lady of Mount Carmel!


   Today's the day!  Take a little time out during half time during the 49ers game and bring your pet to Our Lady of Mount Carmel to be blessed on this very special day, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and ecology!

    Our Lady of Mount Carmel's annual Blessing of the Animals will take place today, Sunday, October 4, 2015 at 4:00pm in the church parking lot.  Many Catholic churches around the world traditionally celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi with an invitation for their local community members to bring their pets for a communal blessing.  Fr. Pat, our pastor, notes that, “Francis saw God’s hand in every aspect of Creation.  In blessing our pets – those creatures of Divine Ingenuity – we give thanks for the blessings they are in our lives.”  St. Francis is said to have preached to and blessed attentive birds, tamed a wolf, and freed animals from traps.  In this event, we celebrate the many ways in which God’s care reaches beyond the human to encompass all of Creation.

   One parish friend remarked that, for animal lovers, “this blessing is a sight to see.” In addition to dogs and cats, past attendees have included fish, birds, guinea pigs, lizards and turtles; in the case of animals unable to travel or socialize, owners have brought pictures to share.

   Please note that you do not have to have a pet to attend.  All dogs must be on a leash; we recommend crating cats.

   Praised be you, my Lord, with all your Creatures.  –        St. Francis of Assisi