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Jesus, Make Yourself at Home!

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In October of 2023, I attended the Madison Eucharistic Congress with other members from St. Dominic. I was able to see and pray with the Eucharistic Miracles from around the world on that occasion, a work that was researched and published by Blessed Carlo Acutis. How fitting that this coming week, we will have the exhibit available here at the parish for us to meditate on and be drawn into the miracles of Jesus revealed in his body and blood. Carlo died at the age of 15, and was beatified in 2020. A first class relic of Blessed Carlo will also be available for us to venerate and reflect on this young man’s life and love for Jesus. May he become one of your new favorite “saints.”

While I was in Madison and was praying in front of his relic, I was drawn to one of his prayers: “Jesus, make yourself at home! Live within me as if it were your own dwelling!”  I meditated a long time on this reality, ‘live within me as if it were your own dwelling.’ How insignificant and unworthy I felt. I found myself in tears realizing the gap of this reality. This amazing God within me. How can this God come into my life, unworthy, sinful, doubting, imperfect, weak, and broken as I am? 

Lent is the time we look back at the past year, acknowledge our brokenness, and allow our Lord into our hearts, to heal us and open ourselves to His love. His love is what we often run from because we don’t feel worthy. We don’t want to look at our flaws and sins, our failures and wrong doings. It is tough to acknowledge where we failed. Yes, it is in our brokenness that room can be made for repentance that can bring us home to His heart. It is confusing to believe that it is in our brokenness that God can work in and through our lives. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we read, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ.” (Eph. 2: 4-5).

What a great hope we have that our Lenten journey can bring us to new life by “cleaning out the crud in our lives.” Friends, let us make this Lent a new season for our souls. How can we do this? Come to Jesus in the Mass, in adoration, in silent prayer, and in the sacrament of reconciliation. When receiving Him in the Eucharist, allow Him to penetrate your heart, to change and renew you in His love. His love will transform you. Then together with Blessed Carlo, our prayer can be, “live in me as if it were your own dwelling.” Blessed Lent my friends.  Blessed to journey with you to His heart.

in Prayer

Budget Time with God

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Budget season has begun at St. Dominic. Department leaders, Finance Council, and the budget team engage in six weeks of discussion to determine how we invest your generous gifts to do what God has asked us all to do; go forth and make disciples. You can be assured we value and appreciate every dollar entrusted to us. We focus on our three strategic imperatives which are: forming and equipping disciples, a robust student ministry, and keeping Catholic education affordable.

We have many budgets in our lives. Budgets at work, family finances, and budgets of our time. We use a calendar for appointments, shuttling children, date nights, and gatherings to name a few. Wall calendars, color coded boards on the fridge, post-it notes, and phones are tools of the trade. I tell my wife, “if it isn’t in my phone, it doesn’t exist”.

The other day I looked at my Outlook calendar and knew something was missing. What have I not placed on it? Then it struck me. While I spend time in prayer, and have various roles at Mass on my calendar, I really haven’t budgeted time for God. It wasn’t in my phone. Did it not exist? Easy fix, create an appointment, make it repeat daily, and title it “spend time with God.” For me it is not a set time. Rather, it is a reminder every time I look at my calendar to do something about it.

As we approach Lent, add “time with God” to your calendar. Check in daily. Make Him exist in your life. We are ever thankful that Good Friday and Easter were on God’s calendar. Where would we be if He missed His appointed time? The least we can do is budget some time for Him.

Praying we all have a Blessed Lent.

 

Posted by Michael Ricci
Tags: prayer, god, time

Comfort Zones

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Do you ever get a bit of inspiration from God and then suddenly it seems like He’s beating you over the head with it, bringing it up everywhere you look? That happened to me recently while pondering the idea of comfort zones. First, in a Chris Stefanik talk, then in a secular book I got for Christmas, then in Season 4 of the Chosen, “comfort zone” has been everywhere. Clearly God wants me thinking about comfort zones.

We all have them. Safe places we live in, can usually control, or return to when things are out of control. Boundaries of what we will and will not do to maintain our sense of safety. There is a need for comfort zones. They keep us alive, safe.

But our comfort zones can also hinder us. If we hold onto their boundaries too tightly, they become prisons. The thing that is meant to free us to live becomes the very thing that prevents us living freely. And as a result, they can prevent us from growth, from progress. Because growth is always uncomfortable. Progress always requires that we step forward from what we already know into what we don’t yet know or have mastery of.

Next to time, discomfort is the second most cited reason people say no to God. Instead of following His will and trusting Him to keep us safe, we decide to keep ourselves “safe.” Our comfort zones, in this way, have become false idols that prevent us from authentically worshipping God. The walk of discipleship is uncomfortable. We only have to look at Christ on the cross to know this. We have to love God more than we love our comfort zones, or we have let our comfort zone become our god.

It's the same with our neighbor. We struggle so much with the discomfort of talking to others about Jesus. It’s too awkward. We don’t want to offend. Isn’t God worth some awkwardness? Isn’t their salvation worth the risk? We must love other people more than we love our comfort zone, or we risk them never getting to know Jesus. We might even risk their salvation.

Our love of God and our love of our neighbor MUST be greater than our love of our comfort zone. Or we aren’t really following the God of the Bible. The God of the Catholic Church. The God who came to die on a cross that we might have life…not that we might be comfortable.

So this Lent, I challenge you to make your Lenten resolution stepping outside your comfort zone. Do one thing each day (for God) that is uncomfortable. Say that prayer. Mention Jesus by name. Start that Bible study. Or simply open the Bible and pray. Because if we learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable, there is no end to what God can do through us.

 

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