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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

Caution. Speed Bump Ahead

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Speed bumps are installed to encourage people to slow down. Pay attention to the warning signs and you can navigate safely. Ignore them and you and your vehicle will get quite a jolt and may suffer damage.

Advent and Christmas are right around the corner. Working at UPS for almost 3 decades, Advent was a blur. The goal was to get home on the 24th in time to make it to family gatherings and Mass, and then collapse. Fast forward to working here. It is easy to focus on the planning and doing of the big days. Will we have enough seats, will the sound system work, where will people park, what about the weather. Being focused on the relatively insignificant, Advent runs the risk of again being a blur. I need to install a few speed bumps. How about you? What can we do?

During Advent, our staff will form small groups and discuss how the weekly readings speak to us. Our families are ready-made small groups. Take 20 minutes a week and discuss faith as a family. Consider attending Adoration on Tuesday, turning off the radio, pausing electronics for 10 minutes, going to a daily Mass, to confession, or stopping in the church for a time. These all provide time to talk with God. Cell phones and calendars can rule, and ruin, our lives.
I am setting a daily appointment and alarm, to stop for at least 5 minutes to be quiet and pray.

Will you allow Advent to be a blur? What will be the focus of your Christmas day? Praying we avoid the pitfalls and follow the warning sign God has ready for us: SLOW DOWN...speed bump ahead. A Blessed Advent.

Posted by Michael Ricci
Tags: advent

Unconditional Love

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I like dogs but was not a dog person. The best dogs were those of the neighbors because they went home. My wife and I had a dog for 21 hours . . . a story for another day. Five years ago, my wife and our son brought Bella home. While not completely surprised, I wasn’t totally on board. After a breaking in period, she became part of the family.

While living with us, the garage door going up signaled her to run to the window, so excited to see those she loves. She visits now. The other day she was already in the house when I came home. There she was in the window, and then at the back door, so excited, wagging not only her tail but her entire body. Pet me, love me, let me take your struggles away. I am here for you. Unconditional love.

If you leave to go to the store, she runs to the window. Where are you going, when will you be back? I will be here. . . waiting for you. Even if gone for 5 minutes, the whole thing plays out again. Don’t you know you are my world?

It is that way with God. Every day, He anxiously waits for us to come home or to talk with Him. I imagine how genuinely excited He is to see us, to hear us, to help us, to love us. Can you hear His voice saying, “Love me, let me take away your struggles. I am here for you. I love you. You are mine.” Unconditional love.

Do you hear Him saying, “Where are you? When will you be back to My Home . . . to me? When will you call on me? I am yours. I will be here . . . waiting for you.” If you do hear these words, it is time to change a habit. Start by talking with Him each day. You will be forever changed.

Are you excited to see or talk to Him? He has given us everything we have. He gave us His Son. He is our true reason for being. Love Him, place yourself in His hands. Give him your unconditional love.

Posted by Michael Ricci