in Faith

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

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We all know the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (maybe!). They are Wisdom, Understanding, Fortitude, Counsel, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. These gifts have been given to all of us. That first Pentecost event was not a one-time deal, it happens daily as we strive to live our faith in service of others. The good works that we do cannot be done alone, they can only be done with the help of the Holy Spirit.

In one of his homilies, Fr. Mike Ignaszak suggested we pray for one of those gifts each week. Just think how different our world could be if we took the time to pray for each of these gifts for a full week. For example, if for one week we prayed for fortitude think of what courage could fill our hearts to proclaim the gospel, or what strength we might have to invite our friend back to Mass or introduce them to Jesus!

This might be a good seven-week reflection or spiritual project, praying for a different gift of the Holy Spirit. Just imagine what graces could flow from such prayer!

in Faith

Until the End of the World

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If you have ever experienced the death of a loved one, you can appreciate what the apostles went through during Jesus’s crucifixion and death.

There you are, watching your dearest friend suffer the most horrific of deaths. You see his body taken down from the cross, all mangled, bloody, and cold, and placed in the arms of his mother. You watch as they wrap the body loosely in cloth, binding the body separate from the head, and place it in a tomb. You say your farewells quickly as the Sabbath is approaching and watch as the tomb is closed.

And then it begins – the sorrow, the ache, the emptiness. You go and seek the solace from the others. You share stories. You cry. You wonder what you will do now. You do this for three days.

Then one day, when you are all together, you all hear of this amazing news that a woman from the group has seen Jesus, you are held in disbelief. Disbelief until He is there before you. The rapture! The joy! The glory! You touch Him, you hug Him, you talk with Him, you eat with Him, you have time with Him.

For 40 days you get bonus time with Him, He whom you thought was dead! He encourages you to go out and tell the story. All the while, He is reminding you that one day He will ascend to the right hand of the Father. When Jesus does ascend into heaven, he says the following:

Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth; go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world.” (Mk 28:18-20)

So know that Jesus does not ever leave. He is with us always. He is there loving you, encouraging you, and guiding you. You need only engage it to reap the graces from it.

The Magnolia Tree

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Each spring, as the winter finally releases its frigid grip on us, the trees in my neighborhood all come to life. One of these trees is a Magnolia that proudly stands in my front yard.

For a few days in May, this Magnolia is filled with creamy white and ivory flowers, tinged with various shades of pink and purple. I'm always excited when I see the first buds, and I marvel at how quickly the flowers bloom.

And I marvel at how quickly the flowers fall to the ground and make way for green leaves. The entire process is over in several days, shorter if it rains.

During this time frame I do what I can to appreciate their beauty. I know it's fleeting, so I want to savor as much as possible.

Sound familiar? What is fleeting in your life? You can certainly fill in the blank with your blossom time: your children living at home before they begin their own life, special vacations with family and friends, game night with a big bowl of popcorn and lots of laughter, or a glorious sunset on a summer night. 

How are you savoring the moments of your life? Are you admiring the beauty and appreciating every single minute? 

Or are you letting the busyness of life sweep you away?

Take a moment today to discover your Magnolia Tree.


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