Author Archives: tdegezelle

My Nothingness

Lent 2018 is already half over! I had many ideas brewing in my mind so many it was hard to narrow down what I wanted to write about as thoughts for this Lent. Than an idea hit me why not let God tell you how he would like to use me to shine his light. Well, that is not easy! That may require listening, praying and obeying. I tried listening and being aware of situations, ideas and people God put in my path, life and thoughts; that lasted several days and then this came to the surface:

NOTHINGNESS

Often there is a whispering inner voice that tells you how busy you are, how good you and how indispensable you are. However, the truth is, I am nothing without Christ by my side. And only when He is by my side am I able to accomplish anything.

St. Theresa of Lisieux said, “Jesus desires that everything belongs to him, so when I feel that I have nothing to offer, I offer him this nothingness. When he sees we are very much convinced of our nothingness, he extends his hand to us.”

 Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J., said, “To lose oneself in one’s nothingness is the surest means of finding oneself again in God.”

 When I do admit my nothingness, than I have room to immerse myself in the grace and mercy God has waiting for me.

Ash Wednesday, when receiving the ashes we heard, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

St. John Vianney prayed, “O Jesus! You descend to my depths, you make divine the dust of my nothingness, and this nothingness, becomes divine, brings forth fruits worthy of you.”

This is what Lent is about for us, almsgiving, praying and fasting along with learning, watching and waiting as Jesus comes to earth like us, into human nothingness and becomes one of us to save us so we can live with Him for eternity.

To know I have a King who knows me by name and still loves me for my nothingness! Pretty Amazing!

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I Wish It Could Be Christmas All Year Long

Who goes out to Aldi on the 23rd of December, crazy right??? Well, I had just two things to pick so I ventured out. It was a crazy house in the parking lot and inside the store but the shoppers appeared happy. I picked up my two items and got in line to check out the checkers are fast at Aldi but I got behind a lady and her husband with a cartful.

She turned looked at me with my two items in hand and said, “Why don’t you go ahead.”

I asked her, “Are you sure?”

She replied, “By the time I get this all up on the belt you both will be checked out.”

I thought she must have thought I was with someone but there was no one else. The man of ahead of me checked out with three items turned and ducked behind me a laid a five dollar bill on top of her items and said, “Thank you for the both of us!”

I quietly thanked him and said, “You are a nice man.” As he headed out of the store.

It only gets better. I said, “And I was only going to wish you a Merry Christmas.”

She said, “Here you take it pay it forward.”

I declined and told her to keep it. She tried to put it in my bag but I was faster! I headed out of the store into the parking lot and watched as two different shoppers offered their carts to the shoppers coming into the store both times the new shopper offered the finished shopper a quarter. Both times the shopper waved their hand and said, “No, just keep it.”

I was amazed but as I got in my car I thought, there is a song something like “I wish it be could Christmas all year long.”

If we would just shine the thoughtfulness, kindness, and love of the King of Kings, that is coming into the world on Christmas morn, just imagine what this world would be like. I need to try a little hard.

I Wish It Could Be Christmas All Year Long

Ferlin Husky

It’s Christmas time the chapel bells are ringing

The valley and the hills are filled with song

A time for peace while all the world is singing

How I wish it could be Christmas all year long

It’s Christmas time when strangers smile at strangers

A time of hope a time to right from wrong

It’s time to thank the baby in the manger

How I wish it could be Christmas all year long

Peace on earth good will to men seems a simply thing

But when Christmas ends it passes like a dream

It’s Christmas time we put away our sorrow

A time for joy for happiness and song

We give thanks today but who thinks of tomorrow

How I wish it could be Christmas all year long.
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What Did Joseph Say?

I have always been fascinated yet frustrated with the fact that not one word spoken by Joseph is recorded in the Bible. We learn he was a just and honorable man, but I want more. I want to know what he said when he learned Mary was with child and not his child. What did he say when he saw an angel? What did he say when he wasn’t sure what path to take to the cave? What did he say as he waited for his Advent to be complete? What did he say to comfort Mary as she labored to give birth? Did he rub her back? Did he kiss her forehead? Did he step out for a breath of fresh air?  What were his first words as he held baby Jesus? How did he tell Mary he had everything ready to go to Egypt?

Pope Benedict XVI said this about St. Joseph and fatherhood:

“He is not the biological father of Jesus, whose father is God alone, and yet he lives his fatherhood fully and completely. To be a father means above all to be at the service of life and growth. Saint Joseph, in this sense, gave proof of great devotion. For the sake of Christ he experienced persecution, exile and the poverty which this entails. Hew had to settle far from his native town. His only reward was to be with Christ.”

Pope John Paul II said:

“Sacred Scripture says little of him. It does not record even one word spoken by Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth. And yet, even without words, he shows the depth of his faith, his greatness.              Saint Joseph is a man of great spirit. He is great in faith, not because he speaks his own words, but above all because he listens to the words of the Living God. He listens in silence. And his heart ceaselessly perseveres in the readiness to accept the Truth contained in the word of the Living God.”

This Advent, I pondered on St. Joseph often. I witness many fathers demonstrating their own examples of fatherhood as Joseph did. A new father with a sick child, taking turns with his wife holding, rocking and humming to a sick child. A father combing his daughter’s hair and taking her school with a quick goodbye kiss. A father taking five of his kids for hair cuts while forgoing his own. My own father becoming more frail with age but still loving to talk on the phone and ask how things are going.

We have a father in our parish who has me in awe every Sunday. He and his wife coming in with children in tow. Their youngest is a Down’s child. He appears to be flourishing in the glow of love from his whole family. Each parent takes a turn holding, hushing and swaying back and forth, sometimes to comfort him and other times just to keep him entertained as the priest speaks from the alter.  One Sunday, the little one was bent on being held by whatever parent didn’t have him! They passed his back and forth several times and finally, Dad kept him and held him close. The little boy pushed his father’s face away and fought to get down. I couldn’t help but to think about how often we act just like that little boy as God tries to hold us close and shower us with kisses.

One Sunday, their middle son fell asleep. He slept on the pew as the family got up to go for Holy Communion. With the movement around him, he awoke, alone and confused to where his family was. His father heading down the isle seemed to know almost by instinct something was wrong. He turned, saw his son and walking against the tide of people moving forward, returned to his son. He picked him up, comforted him and got back in line to receive our Lord.

These fathers are quite, just and honorable men showing more often their love, compassion and concern by acts and less by words. Remind you of anyone?

Dear St. Joseph, help teach me how to practice quite, trusting faith as you did.

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What Creed Do you Live By?

DSC06909-001.JPGA good homily is when I come away with a nugget of wisdom, advice or knowledge that I can carry with me throughout the week as I journey toward my heavenly home. My pastor delivered one of these great homilies 4-5 weeks ago. How do I know it was a great homily? I am still carrying it with me! His homily was based on:

The Judgment
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not [a]take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

He started by saying, “I challenge each of us to think about, what if I lived by this creed…

  • I believe in feeding the hungry.
  • I believe in giving drink to the thirsty.
  • I believe in welcoming the stranger.
  • I believe in clothing the naked.
  • I believe in caring for the sick.
  • I believe in visiting the prisoner.

After thinking about the possibility of living by this creed then act upon it.”

I have come to believe we have hundreds of opportunities each and everyday to act upon our belief in this creed. We may have an opportunity to give a bag of clothes to the thrift store, stop wasting water by fixing a drippy faucet, smile at someone on the metro who hasn’t had a smile all day, share a pair of extra mittens, send a card to someone dealing with an illness or stop by with a flower for a shut-in.

St. Theresa of Lisieux said, “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”

St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

If each of us did one small act of kindness in love, each day, think of what we could accomplish!

 

Holy Triainty

IMG_1554The Holy Trinity… simply the words alone can make a person’s heart beat a bit faster when asked to explain the three in one person.

1 King 19 V 11-13

So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave.

Exodus 34 V 29-35

29It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him. 34 But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded, 35 the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone.

These are a couple of my favorite bible passages. God can be in what ever form I need at that moment.

God can be God the Father when I need someone strong, almighty and mature whom I turn to in need.

When I need a friend, someone who has experienced what I am experiencing here on Earth, Jesus is my friend and companion.

The Holy Spirit can be there in the dark at night when I need someone to listen to me complain, question or just not understand.

All three in one!

The Holy Trinity… simply the words alone can make a person’s heart beat a bit faster when asked to explain the three in one person.

The Greek word musterion is often translated mystery. It is not a good translation. Rather a better translation would be scared secret.

In English, mystery means something we can not understand or is beyond our comprehension. Sacred secret means something known to some but not to others.

The Holy Trinity is something I can’t explain as a religious scholar might be able to do,

although, I sometimes, I wonder how God feels about the way they explain the Holy Trinity but I do know I can experience the Holy Trinity. A person can experience the Trinity and not have to explain it.

The lyrics to “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” rally are meaningful to me.

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, And with fear and trembling stand; Ponder nothing earthly minded, For with blessing in His hand, Christ our God to earth descends, Our full homage to demand. King of kings, yet born of Mary, As of old on earth He stood, Lord of Lords, in human vesture, In the body and the blood; He will give to all the faithful His own self for heavenly food. Rank on rank the host of heaven Spreads its vanguard on the way, As the Light of light descends From the realms of endless day, That the powers of hell may vanish As the darkness clears away. At His feet the six winged seraph, Cherubim with sleepless eye, Veil their faces to His presence,

As with ceaseless voice they cry: Alleluia, Alleluia Alleluia, Lord Most High!

 

When a person is in communications with God no matter which person, their face will be radiant. People may not be able to put their finger on what it is about a person that makes them seem special but I believe it is the light of God or the Love of God flowing forth when allowed.

So I have one question for you; is your face radiant?

 

 

Walk on the Water

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Matthew 14 V 22-32

22 Immediately, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me! 31 “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

“It is I” is the same “I AM” the same Lord who breathed over the face of the waters and formed the land.
In Peter’s time, people would not have taken swimming lessons. A Jewish fisherman would never ask to walk on water. They had great respect for water and would not intentional try to walk on the walk. Peter knew it would be a miracle if Jesus asked him to come out to meet him. When Jesus said, “Come.” It is also an invitation to each of us, “Come to me.”
Peter must have got out of the boat filled with both fear and excitement. For a while, he was fine. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. Like us when a storm hits we can call out to Jesus and for a while, we are fine. But as the storm rages on and even intensifies, what do we do? Just like Peter, we lose sight of Jesus, we take our eyes of him, who leads the way. Peter panicked and cried out, “Lord, save me!” The account doesn’t say Jesus ran to catch Peter or Peter went under water, no, “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.” They got back in the boat and the winds and storm died down.                                                                                                                                                                                                             Only the creator of the winds and waves could command them to calm down. The disciples knew, Jesus was Lord.
Cry out, “Lord, save me! And let the I AM, it is I, take your hand and calm your storms.
Truly, Jesus is the Son of God!

Holy Thursday

Did you know the word HOST comes from the Latin words meaning VICTIM? Like in Biology when something is feasted upon or lives off another that victim is called the host. Here in the Eucharist, Jesus becomes the willing victim for our salvation. He becomes the host.

Pope Francis said the Blessed Host contains every thing needed to solve all the world’s problems. Every single one of the world’s problems. WOW! That is amazing but true. Jesus Christ, the Blessed Eucharist holds the solution to all our pains, sufferings and fears.

Tonight, as we celebrated the institution of the Holy Eucharist I marveled at the fact Jesus, the Creator King of the Universe loved me so much that He willing laid down His life for me as that I could live with Him in eternity. What an amazing HOST.

untitledDuring the Lord’s supper Jesus Christ took bread, blessed it, broke it into pieces and gave it to His disciples, saying: “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying: “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”  (Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19)

Credit for the drawing goes to St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church of the Desert