Table Of Plenty 11-20-18

Food is a symbol of our gratitude to God and our mutual appreciation for one another. It is a commodity to share as well as an expression of how much we care. Feeding the hungry is a virtue that must never be forgotten, dining with friends a value we cherish all the more. It is good to celebrate those moments—rare as they may be—where companionship around the table becomes a form of communion, where fantastic food seals friendships, where our vitality and our spirituality truly “wine and dine” together.

—from the book Table of Plenty: Good Food for Body and Spirit

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St Patrick’s Day 3-17-18

Today is St Patrick’s Day. Most people celebrate by wearing green, going to parties, eating corn beef and cabbage while drinking green beer.

As a Catholic we believe in saints. In our belief saints are merely intercessors we pray to asking for them to pray for us during a specific challenge. One of those saints happens to be St Patrick.

Here is the story of St Patrick taken from the Franciscan Media.

Saint Patrick’s Story

Legends about Patrick abound; but truth is best served by our seeing two solid qualities in him: He was humble and he was courageous. The determination to accept suffering and success with equal indifference guided the life of God’s instrument for winning most of Ireland for Christ.

Details of his life are uncertain. Current research places his dates of birth and death a little later than earlier accounts. Patrick may have been born in Dunbarton, Scotland, Cumberland, England, or in northern Wales. He called himself both a Roman and a Briton. At 16, he and a large number of his father’s slaves and vassals were captured by Irish raiders and sold as slaves in Ireland. Forced to work as a shepherd, he suffered greatly from hunger and cold.

After six years Patrick escaped, probably to France, and later returned to Britain at the age of 22. His captivity had meant spiritual conversion. He may have studied at Lerins, off the French coast; he spent years at Auxerre, France, and was consecrated bishop at the age of 43. His great desire was to proclaim the good news to the Irish.

In a dream vision it seemed “all the children of Ireland from their mothers’ wombs were stretching out their hands” to him. He understood the vision to be a call to do mission work in pagan Ireland. Despite opposition from those who felt his education had been defective, he was sent to carry out the task. He went to the west and north–where the faith had never been preached–obtained the protection of local kings, and made numerous converts.

Because of the island’s pagan background, Patrick was emphatic in encouraging widows to remain chaste and young women to consecrate their virginity to Christ. He ordained many priests, divided the country into dioceses, held Church councils, founded several monasteries and continually urged his people to greater holiness in Christ.

He suffered much opposition from pagan druids and was criticized in both England and Ireland for the way he conducted his mission. In a relatively short time, the island had experienced deeply the Christian spirit, and was prepared to send out missionaries whose efforts were greatly responsible for Christianizing Europe.

Patrick was a man of action, with little inclination toward learning. He had a rock-like belief in his vocation, in the cause he had espoused. One of the few certainly authentic writings is his Confessio, above all an act of homage to God for having called Patrick, unworthy sinner, to the apostolate.

There is hope rather than irony in the fact that his burial place is said to be in County Down in Northern Ireland, long the scene of strife and violence.

Reflection

What distinguishes Patrick is the durability of his efforts. When one considers the state of Ireland when he began his mission work, the vast extent of his labors, and how the seeds he planted continued to grow and flourish, one can only admire the kind of man Patrick must have been. The holiness of a person is known only by the fruits of his or her work.

St Patrick’s Day is a reminder to me to give thanks while saying the following prayer to St Patrick.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the trinity. Christ be w me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort me and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend or stranger. I arise. Amen

Wishing You A Merry Christmas 12-23-17

By Franciscan Media

At Christmas we don’t wish each other perfect lives but only “comfort and joy.” This is what I look for: not an end to struggle, but a level of understanding and adjustment so that we can say to each other, “Merry Christmas.”

But understand how important it is and how central to the Christmas message, to be merry, to have a hopeful, positive, and optimistic attitude, even if your health is bad or if life is not at its best. The infant Jesus is lying in a barnyard crib, and yet the emotional atmosphere is glorious and full of hope. What a lesson for us living in a time of worldwide conflict and personal challenges.

—from the book The Soul of Christmas by Thomas Moore

Reach Out To Others 12-20-17

“O Key of David, O Royal power of Israel, controlling at your will the gate of heaven: Come break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.”

At this festive time of year, when all our attention seems focused on gathering with loved ones, those who are grieving face a most difficult challenge. They may feel locked out of the brightness around them. Be the key that releases those who are grieving, while still respecting their own journey. Reach out to those who have lost special people in their lives. Be creative. Spending a quiet evening with a friend may be more consoling than an invitation to share in festivities with a heavy heart.

—from the book Advent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections by Diane M. Houdek