theROCK

in Faith

Penetrating Fear

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I am a big fan of the month of October. As a kid, I liked it for Halloween and all things spooky, but recently I  asked myself, "What are you afraid of?"

I am not a fan of birds or things touching my head, two things that could answer this question, but I am referring to what really penetrates into my bones as an honest to goodness fear.  When I ponder that, I get at the core of why I teach and work in a Catholic school. I am totally afraid of children not having a relationship with Jesus. I am afraid of a world that dismisses God. That people no longer find religion, let alone Jesus, relevant. This is what really scares me. 

We are finding ourselves in a post-Christian era. We need to help people see that Jesus is totally relevant and necessary today. How do you get a relationship with Jesus? Just as you would with anyone else - spend time together. Talk to one another.

How do you do that? Pray. Go to Mass. Participate in the sacraments. A life without Jesus, an eternity without the possibility of heaven, now that is scary.

Posted by Jill Fischer

They Belonged

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 I’ve been touring the state, taking photos of health care centers for the elderly (what we used to call nursing homes). I was hired to capture both the exteriors and interiors for marketing purposes, and to take a few photos of the staff and residents for social media.

Last Thursday, I stopped at a center in western Wisconsin. When I entered the building, the hallways were empty. Most of the residents were in the activity room finishing up a late afternoon game of bingo. The group of 80-somethings were all munching on cookies and drinking juice when I showed up with my camera. All eyes were on me, wondering why I was there and what I was doing.
As I said hello and introduced myself, a small, frail woman came up to me and asked if I would take her picture.

“Of course,” I replied. “ I sat her at a table, and lined up my shot to capture her thin smile.

Then I heard a buzz start to travel throughout the room. While at first a bit shy, one-by-one, all of the residents at the bingo game asked if I would also take their photo. I moved from table to table, meeting the various residents, then capturing the sometime smiling and sometimes stoic faces of these proud people.

As I lined up my last photo and focused my camera, it struck me what was going on. Here was a group of people who understand who they are. They understand where they live and why they live there.

Their lives have changed. They are no longer able to move around with swiftness and ease. It’s difficult for them to see, and even more difficult for them to hear. They’re watching their bodies slowly betray them.

Yet…they still want the world to see them. They want to have their image captured and to be recognized. They want to matter. They want to belong.

“Do not cast me aside in my old age; as my strength fails, do not forsake me.” Psalm 71:9

For one simple moment, on one rainy Thursday afternoon, I had the privilege to capture the faces and the spirit of these wonderful men and women. And once again, they belonged.

Posted by Dan Herda

The Call to Holiness

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In the papal encyclical “Gaudete Et Exsultate, On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World,” Pope Francis talks about the challenges we face as followers of Christ. He also reminds us to call upon the saints/Saints as companions on that journey to everyday holiness. They are there to help protect, sustain, and carry us when we feel that we cannot.We can do this for one another as well. We all have the same goal in mind – to be transformed into the image of Christ, right? It is only through community that this can happen.

Throughout the entire encyclical, Pope Francis reminds us of the many saints who, by their lives, were not perfect, but tried very hard to live a life worthy of God. They always sought forgiveness. They always sought love. They always had hope, and they brought others to the Lord by their witness.

There is no greater example of how to live a life of faith, than to live a life of faith and have courage in it. Let us begin by acknowledging that we are His, and never apologizing for being in love with Him, and being grateful for all He has done for us.

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