Saturday, July 30, 2011



My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.

Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.

Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.

Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented
by those who don't know me.

John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.

1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.

1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.

Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.

Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.

Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.

Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.

Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.

Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.

Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.

Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.

John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.

Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.

1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.

Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.

1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.

Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.

Luke 15:7
I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.

Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is…
Will you be my child?

John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Father,
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Thursday, July 28, 2011


Recently I was sent a prayer card and then the digital image taken and enhanced from the image on the Shroud of Turin.
Contemplating this gaze, in prayer, reading, meditation I kept asking Jesus to teach me anew.
Various notes from my reading, yes the famous scraps of paper I have mentioned or quoted in previous posts, have been places where I have found fragments of the answer.
For example Metropolitan Philaretes of Moscow, teaches us that: “The Father is crucifying love, the Son is crucified love, the Holy Spirit is the invincible love of the Cross.”
Immediately I recalled Jesus’ own words that whoever sees Him sees the Father!
In a word then if I contemplate any image, an icon, painting, statue of Jesus, before such tenderness and beauty, be it of Jesus on the Cross or Risen, of Sacred Heart or Divine mercy, most especially if I contemplate Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament – then before me too are the Father and the Holy Spirit.
The gaze upon us then is Trinitarian.
Bl. Pope John Paul notes that: “In contemplating Christ’s face….on the Cross.”, we are before sacred mystery, moved to adoration, love, gratitude, but we do not stop there for Jesus is Risen and “It is the Risen Christ to whom the Church now looks.”
Archbishop Martinez of holy memory notes that the gaze of Jesus is priestly and is the look of one who loves and “ immolated for the glory of the Father, one who implores graces for souls.”
There is within me, perhaps within you, a natural yearning to ‘see’ Jesus face to face – and no not in some vision, that’s like looking at a hologram – ethereal. You can’t hug a hologram nor be held by one.
Nah I’d like to  see Jesus in the flesh, see in the beauty of His eyes, which are the colour of glory, a reflection of the tender gaze towards me of the Father and the Holy Spirit, experience in the depths of my being the closeness of Jesus’s gaze.
He answers that desire 24/7, as the saying goes, for since Jesus says whatever we do to one another is done to Him, for Him, Jesus is of many disguises, thus we encounter Him in each other, are caught up into His tender and love gaze through the eyes of those we meet.
To know the real beauty of His Face, of the Face of the Triune God, I must ask to have the eyes of Jesus, to see every human being as He sees.
Yes, to contemplate any image of Jesus is to open my heart to everyone, to see as Jesus sees, to love and rejoice as He does in the presence of beauty, the beauty of each human being in the image and likeness of God.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


The Government of Ireland wants to force priests to violate the seal of confession.
Others have tried, others will try.
My purpose here is not to argue the matter – as a wise man once said: “For those who refuse to believe no arguments suffice.”
Across the centuries governments and kings, state security apparatus under the Soviets, the Gestapo under the Nazis, by torture or imprisonment have all tried to force priests to violate the seal.
In the 14th century St. John Nepomucene was martyred because he would not violate the seal.
In the 20th century St. Mateo Magallanes was martyred because he would not violate the seal.
Every priest must be willing to face martyrdom by blood or by imprisonment by modern courts rather than violate the seal.
One of the things Jesus did which so infuriated His enemies was to forgive sins.
In face of this latest assault on the Priesthood let us simply turn to Jesus through the intercessions of those priests known and unknown who have, like Sts. John and Mateo, by blood or other suffering, like St. John Vianney, laid down their lives that the Sacrament of Forgiveness remains intact and inviolate. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011


According to one of the free on line dictionaries, that’s a picture of “tares”, a word sometimes used in translations of Matthew 13: 1-23, the follow-up teaching of Jesus after the parable of the Sower and the Seed.
Jesus is teaching us on the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven and the daily struggle to be faithful disciples, so Jesus notes that once the good seed has been planted “while people slept”, an enemy comes and sows what is bad seed: tares, darnel, weeds.
Of course the natural instinct is to pull the weeds, the summer obsession of people for example who see dandelions as enemy of the perfect lawn!
Jesus however urges patience, letting good and bad seed grow together, knowing the former is more filled with life than the latter, and hence at harvest time the few weeds will be removed, bundled and burned, while the wheat, the glorious fullness of the good will be gathered into heaven.
A friend, commenting on the previous blog, asked me to write about preventing the spreading of bad seed.
Reality is, as any farmer or home gardener can attest, between wind and birds and even just stuff clinging to our clothing, unwanted plants, weeds, whatever, stopping them ending up amongst the pristine expanse of lawn so well cared for or in the midst of huge fields of wheat, is for all intents and purposes impossible.
When it comes to the field of our souls, those of people around us, satan is certainly the enemy who seeks to overwhelm the good seed with the evil seed he sows – but we are not like unmoveable earthen fields or backyard gardens or lawns.
We can ask for grace to be kind, gentle, meek, and charitable, and if we should, by word or action, cast unholy seed into the heart of another we have access to grace yet again, to beg forgiveness, to ask pardon, to struggle and begin anew.

Life in this ancient painting appears somewhat like an idyll, peaceful companionship while at work, gathering the bountiful harvest so family is fed.
These women also reveal life is hard work, struggle – never more so these days than for those mothers seeking to ease the discomfort of children as the persistent heatwave covers most of North America, even greater is the suffering of mothers in East Africa where there is no harvest to gather and where the enemy has sown famine.
In Canada and the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving each fall by gathering with family and, if we be honest, frequently gorging ourselves for most of us have plenty, but even in our midst there is hunger: for food, for hope, for love.
Rather than overly focus on how from time to time we may lack charity or be a downer for others, in a word on the paucity of weeds in the enclosed garden of our beings, where Jesus sits with us in constant dialogue of love, it seems to me we should trust the harvest will be a good one and focus on loving Him in each other.
Certainly we need to labour in the field of the spiritual life, certainly we need to struggle to overcome any lack of goodness within our lives, but with intimate confidence in Him, in His love, for His tender mercy is greater than our sins, our wounds, our fears.
Love Himself has created us to be His beloved, and we are.
Love Himself has placed within us the good seed of His love, His grace, indeed permeates our very being with Himself in every Holy Communion and a significant aspect of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the reality of thanksgiving.
Bl. Pope John Paul reminds us that:
Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer "fully reveals man to himself". … In the mystery of the Redemption man becomes newly "expressed" and, in a way, is newly created. He is newly created! "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus". The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly-and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being -he must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into him with all his own self, he must "appropriate" and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself. If this profound process takes place within him, he then bears fruit not only of adoration of God but also of deep wonder at himself. How precious must man be in the eyes of the Creator, if he "gained so great a Redeemer", and if God "gave his only Son "in order that man "should not perish but have eternal life" {Redeemer of Man, Para. 10.1} 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Of Sowing: Matthew 13: 1-23

  All week long, since Sunday, I have been meditating on one of my favourite passages from the Holy Gospel, the parable Jesus teaches of the sower and the seeds.
It is one for which I have a visceral, as well as spiritual, appreciation.
Once when I was a teenager there were several acres in the midst of a massive wheat field needing to be seeded, but those acres were too wet for the heavy machinery and so the old farm manager told me to go and seed the field by hand.
In those days, not that long after the war, there were still men around who knew the proper way, a type almost of ballet arm and hand movement, a single forward and backward gesture, which flung the seed in an arc up into the air, where the hundreds of seeds seemed to hang for a moment to be caressed by the sun, before plummeting to earth, just deep enough in the soil to be safely hidden, most of them, to rest and then take root.
Sure some seed landed in little pockets of muddy water or on rock, some stayed on the surface, feeding the crows and sparrows, but most landed and took root in the good soil.
All the while I walked up and down that field the Gospel parable of the sower and his seed was singing in my heart.
Over the remaining weeks of spring and throughout the summer, whenever I could, which usually was Sunday afternoon, my only ‘day’ off, I’d visit the field.
At first when I would walk the field the little green shoots only came up to my ankles but then, so quickly it seemed over the summer, each time I would walk the field the bright green stalks would be higher until late summer when, the full heads of grain now waist high, were golden ripe.
The old man came to me one day and told me it was time to combine the grain, the harvest was on!
Over the winter he would assign me to the small mill to grind the grain into flour.
Some thirty years later when I was a seminarian one of my duties was to bake simple flour and water bread to be used in Holy Mass and then one day I was a priest and to this day, each time I pray: “…….we have this bread to offer which earth has given and human hands have made…….”, well those words sure have meaning.
Jesus Himself is the true Sower and His words, His grace are the real Seeds.
Jesus, especially in the Holy Eucharist, in a sense, seeds Himself within us and makes of us in our turn seeds that grow and bear much fruit.
Baptism and the work of the Holy Spirit are the ways in which we are both grafted onto Christ and are formed by the Holy Spirit to be one with Jesus in His mission.
Knowingly, or not, we are all sowing various seeds all the time – and depending on the type of seed we sow there comes forth either good, indeed beautiful and holy fruit or terrible brambles that ensnare our brothers and sisters in darkness.
When a man and woman pour themselves out for each other in Holy Marriage they are seeding love which, God willing, bears fruit in the beauty of a child, another human being/immortal soul and throughout their lives as spouses and parents they sow the seeds of love over and over, the seeds of faith, of learning.
Whenever we human beings converse with one another it is another moment of sowing – but what seeds are we casting forth?
Affirmation of other: love of Jesus, good news – or gossip, putdowns, negativity?
Indeed when we are alone with our memories and thoughts there is a type of sowing unfolding and so what seeds am I scattering across the fields of my mind, imagination, memory?
News media choke us with their obsessive seeding of negative news stories, their frequent assaults on church, priesthood, marriage, life and so many people in their daily conversation emulate the media and sow negativity as well, a negativity which points to the way people think when alone!
“Listen! A sower went out to sow.”

Sunday, July 03, 2011


Every year since Canada Day, which is July 1 and Independence Day, July 4 are both at the beginning of the month dedicated to His Most Precious Blood, it is my custom to spend several days in prayer for both our nations: Precious Blood of Jesus sanctify us!
We two nations share much in common, most important of which is our shared Christian heritage – fundamentally this remains fact even if through the turbulence of history, the reality of authentic recognition of the freedom to worship granted all religions, this Christian fabric of our lives may be a bit stretched, not to mention because of the enormous pressure of the dark culture of death in some ways that very fabric is rather tattered.
Nations such as ours have developed, as it were, non-religious forms of communal “liturgy”, hence events such as the opening of parliament or the inauguration of a president seek to embody a sense of nationhood and a reminder of the very freedoms for which so many of our sons and daughters have fought for, do fight for, lay down their lives for.
However men and women do not, at least not when they leave the security of our nations, head off to the battlefield simply to defend a system of government, or a body politic.
They go forth for family, for the whole fabric of national life, which includes a priori freedom not only to worship, that is celebrate authentic liturgy, but also for the right and freedom to unswervingly witness to Jesus and His Gospel of Life.
Bl. John Paul stresses we Christians are to be like Jesus and His Holy Cross, a sign of contradiction, that is to be seen to be other than the culture of death, materialism, etc., by being witness to the Light through the luminous holiness of our lives.
We see countless of our brothers and sisters of another faith placing their lives on the line in what the media refers to as the “Arab Spring”, and Nato is helping, at least in Libya.
Our sons and daughters, from both our countries, from the militaries, diplomatic corps, NGOs, in countless countries around the world in innumerable ways are seeking to help the oppressed achieve true freedom, the poor to be cared for.
In motion a revolution is a turning; in society it is an upheaval that seeks to overturn an oppressive system to one of freedom.
 Christians, by virtue of baptism, must, as Bonheoffer reminds us, be revolutionaries, that is taking always “..a stronger stand in favour of the weak…”!
If as our nations celebrate we wish to truly honour our ancestors, truly show gratitude to the men and women of our Armed Forces who lay down their lives for us, we should remember our Christian origins, to be sure, but even more urgently we should reclaim and begin to live with ardent fidelity our faith.
Who are the truly weak among us? – the unborn children, the impoverished homeless, the wounded and traumatized warriors, the lonely and abandoned elderly, the…….
The template of Christian revolutionary transformation of the culture of death into the Gospel of Life is the word of Jesus to love one another as He loves us.
Yes Happy Canada Day and Happy Independence Day – the challenge is to strive going forward to the point where they become Holy Days.