Pastor’s Keyboard

January 19, 2020 – Quote to Contemplate

For this weeks keyboard I wanted to share with you this quote from The Ways of Mental Prayer.

 

If you would suffer with patience the adversities and miseries of this life, be a man of prayer. If you would obtain courage and strength to conquer the temptations of the enemy, be a man of prayer. If you would mortify your own will with all its inclinations and appetites, be a man of prayer. If you would know the wiles of Satan and unmask his deceits, be a man of prayer. If you would live in joy and walk pleasantly in the ways of penance, be a man of prayer. If you would banish from your soul the troublesome flies of vain thoughts and cares, be a man of prayer. If you would nourish your soul with the very sap of devotion, and keep it always full of good thoughts and good desires, be a man of prayer. If you would strengthen and keep up your courage in the ways of God, be a man of prayer. In fine, if you would uproot all vices from your soul and plant all virtues in their place, be a man of prayer. It is in prayer that we receive the unction and grace of the Holy Ghost, who teaches all things.”

— St. Bonaventure, p. 25-26

 

Your brother and father in Christ,

Fr Scott

January 12, 2020 – Pastor’s Keyboard

This week is the Feast if the Baptism of the Lord. One of my favorite Sacraments to celebrate as a priest is Baptism. The sad thing is that for me and many priests this is becoming a much rarer event then it was in past generations. Many of you no doubt know relatives and friends who have had children but not brought them to be baptized or the priest has actually refused Baptism. Why? Because so many people today don’t know or understand Original Sin and its consequences, nor the real danger of hell that exist for us all. There is a saying that, “if you don’t know the bad news you won’t care about the good news”.  I believe that is true today.

Why would a priest ever refuse Baptism to a child? The church actually requires that for a priest to Baptize a minor their parent or guardian must make a commitment to raise them up in the faith. Otherwise, they will have made a commitment for the child that the child cannot live out due to ignorance. This then lies with the parents/guardian and the godparents. Yet sadly today many make the commitment and attend the class and then don’t strive to live it out. Hence most of the children I have Baptized I don’t see them again either till First Confession and Communion time or not at all.

This is of course a great tragedy for the child and for their family and for us all. What can we do to change it? On a wide scale not much. But on the local level we can do much. We can do as some already have in our parish. They drive and pick up their grandchild/God child/niece or nephew/friend’s child/neighbor’s child and make the commitment to bringing them to religious education and to Mass every Sunday they can. It’s not easy but it could save a soul and a family. How do I know? I was that child once whose parents Baptized him and then didn’t bring him to church. Without my grandmothers stepping up and out to bring me, I might not be a practicing Christian today and perhaps you would not have a priest to offer you the Sacraments. Their sacrifice has become a blessing for me and for you. May you now do the same.

 

Your brother and father in Christ,

Fr Scott

January 5, 2020 – Pastor’s Keyboard

Pastor’s Keyboard:

This is the last year of your life!  Or at least it may be.  If you knew this was your last year of life, how would you live it?  Would you plan to pray more?  Would you be more giving to charity? Would you spend more time with your family and less watching tv or internet? Would you finish some of your projects? Would you drop other projects?  Would you take more time to appreciate the beauty of Nature?

How would you live this life differently then you did in 2019?  Would you read more scripture? Pick up a new hobby? Visit with old friends?  For most of us this year will not be our last, but for some of us it will be.  For most of us, we are going to be given another whole year to prepare ourselves and our families for our final judgement. Whenever someone tells me they are going to make a major change in their lives I always ask them to list the steps that will lead them toward that change and that can help them to persevere.  If they can do that, they will have a fighting chance of seeing it through. If not they will most likely start out well and end quickly.

My prayer for you and for me is that we take these first few days of 2020 and really plan out the steps to live this year well, not just for a better 2020, 2021 and so on.  But most of all that we might be well prepared to head home to the Fathers house, having loved each year as our best year to know, love, and serve the Lord.  So how would you live this year differently if it were your last year of life?

Your a brother and father in Christ,

Fr Scott

December 8, 2019 – Pastor’s Keyboard

Pastor’s Keyboard: I’m Back!  I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last Pastor’s Keyboard. My secretaries have tried to get me to write them before the deadline and I’m always meaning to get them in but then something unexpected happens. I’m much like my dad; I like a schedule that is filled and orderly. I like it when I have a little time between meetings, and I like it when people arrive right on time (not too early or too late).  Inevitably, a call comes in unexpectedly or unforeseen person shows up at the door needing help, or one person comes late and my entire schedule is thrown off.

Usually this makes me very upset, the emotions grow strong and I want to throw myself a pity party.  But reading the writings of the Saints reminds me that this is actually meant to be received as a Great Blessing! Why? How?  Because God often allows or even wills it to be so, then we must trust Him and not our plans. It stretches us in the virtues of patience, charity, and trust. If we allow it too, if we turn to the Lord in that very moment and not to the Panic Button (a button I’ve too often turned too).

How can we do this? My grandmother used to use scripture verses (her tried and true answer to every one of life’s unexpected difficulties). The Saints often had a particular phrase like “Jesus I trust in you, help my lack of trust” or “Jesus help me to desire Your will, to know Your will, and to do Your will.” Often if I have to drive somewhere unexpectedly, I’ll turn on Christian music (it can help tame the wild beast). These are all methods to helps us center less on the unexpected circumstances that are driving us crazy, and more on the God of the circumstances who is directed it all and wishing to lead us through it with more faith and trust in Him. Some of the saints called this life – our spiritual gym. By means of the unexpected, God teaches us to come to Him, to trust in Him, and to follow Him where we would not choose to go on our own. This advent season as your shopping, decorating, cooking, partying, and all the while praying, sacrificing, and fasting at times may you stay centered on Jesus who is Emmanuel (God with Us). For the more you and I stay centered in Him instead of our circumstances, we will remain peaceful, cheerful, and charitable in all the situations God brings to us or allows to change our plans. Blessed Advent!!!

 

Your brother and father in Christ,

Fr Scott

December 1, 2019 – Pastor’s Keyboard

Pastor’s Keyboard: Here are prayers that we have been asked to pray as a church family especially on December 6th.

Your Father and Brother in Christ,

Fr. Scott

 

Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

 

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Thy altar. We are Thine, and Thine we wish to be; but, to be more surely united with Thee, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Thy Most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known Thee; many too, despising Thy precepts, have rejected Thee. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Thy Sacred Heart.

Be Thou King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken Thee, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned Thee; grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

Be Thou King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof; call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.

Be Thou King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism; refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Thine eyes of mercy toward the children of that race, once Thy chosen people: of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.

Grant, O Lord, to Thy Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and Honor forever. Amen.

 

Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

 

O sweet Jesus, whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before Thy altar eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries, to which Thy loving Heart is everywhere subject.

Mindful alas! that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask Thy pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation not only for our own personal offenses, but also for the sins of those, who, straying far from the path of salvation, refuse in their obstinate infidelity to follow Thee, their Shepherd and Leader, or, renouncing the vows of their baptism, have cast off the sweet yoke of Thy Law.

We are now resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against Thee; we are determined to make amends for the manifold offenses against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behavior, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent, for the frequent violations of Sundays and holidays, and the shocking blasphemies uttered against Thee and Thy Saints.

We wish also to make amends for the insults to which Thy Vicar on earth and Thy priests are subjected, for the profanation, by conscious neglect or terrible acts of sacrilege, of the very Sacrament of Thy Divine Love; and lastly for the public crimes of nations who resist the rights and teaching authority of the Church which Thou hast founded.

Would, O divine Jesus, we were able to wash away such abominations with our blood. We now offer, in reparation for these violations of Thy divine honor, the satisfaction Thou didst once make to Thy eternal Father on the cross and which Thou dost continue to renews daily on our altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of Thy Virgin Mother and all the Saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make recompense, as far as we can with the help of Thy grace, for all neglect of Thy great love and for the sins we and others have committed in the past. Henceforth we will live a life of unwavering faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the gospel and especially that of charity. We promise to the best of our power to prevent other from offending Thee and to bring as many as possible to follow Thee.

O loving Jesus, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our model in reparation, deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and the allegiance we owe to Thee, so that we may one day come to that happy home, where Thou with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.

November 24, 2019 – Pastor’s Keyboard

Pastor’s Keyboard: I received this testimony in my email and thought I would share this with you.   Your Father and Brother in Christ, Fr. Scott

Unconditional Yes

     Yes…this is the only word my wife has been able to utter in prayer over the past few weeks while we have attended to our chronically ill child. Dominic’s baseline has degraded to the point that he was not tolerating food and his stomach, large intestines and colon are scarcely working. Chasity shared what her prayer life has been like with me today as we talked about the day’s events. Dominic underwent yet another surgery to try and relieve some of his suffering and increase function in a body that has been scourged with the marks of disfunction since birth.

Yes…what a beautiful prayer from a mother whose heart is wounded and tired. It immediately reminded me of Our Blessed Mother’s Fiat in which she said Yes to God’s call for her to intimately participate in His rescue mission. “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your Word” (Luke 1:38).

God gives us all a mission to carry on His rescue plan and he is looking for us to be participants if we should only say…Yes. The plan necessarily will look differently then what we have mapped out in our minds. It is filled with mystery and unknowns.  It is likely that we won’t feel like saying yes or think that it is possible for us to endure what he is asking of us and it will necessarily cost us, but our “yes” also comes with an assurance from God.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,

and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you

and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart;

and you will find rest for yourselves” (Mat 11:28-30)

Think of the questions and concerns that must have poured over Our Blessed Mother after she responded to God’s call, but she exemplifies a life of yes to God even when the cost was her own son. The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God is our exemplar in times of distress and weariness because she shows us to rely on Him through a simple yet profound response…Yes.

“Upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,

and with his stripes we are healed” (Isa 53:5)

 

 

read other posts about Dominic at – https://intentionalencounter.us12.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e5a9a2bb49c6f8829b43e14e4&id=31ef8372e6&e=3d9ab83d1e

November 3, 2019 – Pastor’s Keyboard

Pastor’s Keyboard: I recently received this from a directee who returned from a retreat and felt all of you could benefit from it.

Your father and brother in Christ, Fr. Scott

You will see it!

           As my retreat drew to a close, I found myself sitting at the window looking at the trees with all their vibrant colors and looking up at the mountainside watching the water running swiftly down the hill and joining with the brook below which was moving much faster than when we first arrived because of the storm that had passed through during the night.

The Lord used this moment to speak to me ever so gently. He said, “You see how much swifter and abundant the water flows in the valley during the storm. So does the movement of my Holy Spirit when life’s storms pass your way! In those dark valleys, my grace increases during those times even though you may not see it.

But if you are quiet –

You can hear it!

And if you wait for the morning light –

You will see it!

 

October 27, 2019 – Pastor’s Keyboard

Recently, Bill Merritt (a St. Peter Claver parishioner) came to me to tell me that he was having some health issues and would need surgery.  He said the recovery would be long and involve a lot of pain. I immediately knew that the hardest part for Bill was not going to be the pain that he was experiencing prior to the surgery or the pain that would come after.  It was going to be his inability to do all the many good works he was accustomed to doing for so many in our county and parish.

Years ago, Bill came to me after the death of his Godmother, Miss Ida, and said he felt called to take over her very active ministry to the sick.  As many of you know, he runs a very active business that keeps him busy seven days a week (though he always makes it to Mass, unless rescuing someone), yet Sunday and some week days, he and Ann are on the road visiting the sick in their homes and at hospitals all over the county and beyond.

We need more people like Bill and Ann Merritt who minister to those who are home bound.  In recent years many who use to visit the sick (Ida Briscoe and Mary Catherine and Hammett Stone) have gone home to the Lord or have had to step down.  In the old days, the priest had lots of time to visit all the sick on his own.  Those days are gone, and we need your help.  Some can’t help with this ministry by visiting the sick, but you can daily pray for them and lift up sacrifices for them.  Others can help, so please volunteer!  The days of Father doing everything are gone.  Who will be willing to step into the breach?

Your Father and Brother in Christ,

Fr Scott