Brothers and Sisters:
A few days ago I was spending time with our youngest daughter Julie at our house and she asked me if I knew the scripture 2 Cor 4:16. I wish I could say I had committed it to memory, but it wasn’t ringing a bell. Here it is:
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, RSV-CE)READ MORE
Brothers and Sisters:
I asked the question last week in my letter to the Branch, whether we were open to the “surprises” of the Holy Spirit? As I write this, President and Mrs. Trump have just contracted the Covid 19 virus. What timing! Let us all join together in praying for their healing and speedy and complete recovery in Jesus name!
The Sunday Gospel has been on my heart from Mass a few weeks ago regarding Jesus’ parable of the Vineyard Owner and His need for workers to bring in the harvest from Matthew Chapter 20:READ MORE
I would like to propose an addendum to my letter of last Friday, where I said- "It is easy to get bogged down amid the noise and confusion of our modern world and the variety of voices and opinions that scream for our attention. We need to avoid the temptation of reverting to self-reliance and human wisdom that is rooted in fear and control....Eternal perspective is what is needed at this moment in history."
With social media's influence on all of us and the ready access to conflicting news reports about topics such as Pope Francis and his orthodoxy, the pros and cons of a variety of political topics such as the coming of the end times, the proper response to the pandemic and restrictions such as mask-wearing, sheltering in place etc... I would urge all members to "Make love your aim" (1 Cor 14:1)READ MORE
Brothers and Sisters
I am writing this letter to you on September 11, 2020. As Americans, we all know the significance of that date. The world changed forever after the events in New York unfolded that morning when evil plans descended upon so many innocent victims at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and beyond. I remember where I was when I heard the news (as most of us did, I am sure). I was in the middle of spreading drywall mud on a wall in my office building that I had just purchased for my architectural practice a few weeks before. The contractor working with me asked if I had seen the news, and we quickly switched on the TV (no smartphones back then!). I had a large architectural practice at that time with many employees that depended on a good economy for us to keep busy, so an additional level of anxiety crept in as well. The world was stunned and asked what does this mean? Many of my clients shut down projects due to uncertainty. Somehow though, we managed our way through the chaos, the Lord provided, and we pulled together as Americans. I remember a great sense of unity in that moment and the days that followed. Of course, that unity was regrettably short-lived, as politics and division came in at an even bigger scale.READ MORE
Brothers and sisters,
One of the subjects of the Men on Fire “Encounter” retreat (the first in a series of four “Men on Fire” retreats that Jim Hyde and I wrote for men several years ago) is “The Church of Fine,” We ask the Men on the retreat to answer a series of questions with the answer “FINE” in order to open eyes to complacency:
How’s it going?....FINE,
How’s the wife?... “FINE”
How’s the Job?... “FINE”
How are the Kids?...”FINE”
How’s your relationship with Jesus?......uh, uh, uh .
Brothers and Sisters:
When Pam and I were raising our five kids, the coming of mid-August was always a happy occasion because all the kids were headed back to school. There was a funny question back then that parents would ask each other- “Are you a clapper or a cryer?” In other words, were you clapping your hands that the kids were leaving the house to go back to school, or did you love having them around 24/7, and now you will miss them so much? Well, I hate to admit it, but Pam and I were definitely “clappers”. (so were the kids by the way).READ MORE
Brothers and Sisters,
It is evident to all of us right now t hat we are in a new season of cultural upheaval. The contrast between a culture of darkness and a Culture of the Holy Spirit are on display in a way that hasn't been seen for at least a generation.
I was born at the end of the baby boomer generation in 1959. Even so, I remember at a young age the change in the liturgy of the Mass after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, and the grumbling I heard from adults about those changes. At the end of the sixties, during the height of the Vietnam war, the streets were filled with anti-war protests, and soldiers returning home were mocked and treated like criminals. Race riots were causing looting, burning, and destruction in our major cities. The "sexual revolution" was in full force with the rise of radical feminism that culminated in the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion. If you are my age or older, you are nodding your head right now in remembrance of these dramatic cultural events that were some of the hallmarks of a sort of "revolution" in our secular culture during the '60s and early '70s. Crisis and uncertainty in the World are nothing new!READ MORE
Brothers and Sisters-
We are all struggling to make sense of the current news in our world with the pandemic, riots, and unrest. Evil is called good, and good is called evil. There is much deception, and sin is running rampant in our streets.
I recently watched a documentary on the history of medicines. One segment spoke about medical treatments derived from poisons, particularly from scorpions (one of my least favorite things in the universe). Some brain cancer tumors are difficult to treat since cancer and the healthy brain tissue look the same to the naked eye. Taking too much healthy tissue in surgery as an abundance of caution often results in a catastrophic disability for the patient. Being able to pinpoint only cancer in surgery is critical. The venom of a scorpion named "The Death Stalker' contains a substance that paralyzes and kills the animals it hunts for food. But in humans, scientists discovered that this ingredient instead has an attraction to cancer cells and, in fact, binds to cancer cells exclusively. The poison is not strong enough to kill the cancer cell, but instead, when mixed with a fluorescent dye, it highlights only the cancer cells allowing surgeons to avoid cutting out healthy brain tissue. With a special kind of lighting, the tumor is highly contrasted against healthy tissue allowing it's removal while minimizing damage to the healthy.READ MORE
Brothers and Sisters
A lot has happened in the last two weeks! God has his hand in everything that is happening around the world right now, and we need to persist in, and continue to proclaim our confidence in His goodness- Amen?
Last week I sent out a letter which included a request for everyone in the community to obtain and start reading a book on Acedia by Abbott Nault, called The Noonday Devil I hope many of you have done that or are in the process of doing that. We live in a world steeped in Acedia, and we as a community have been “infected” by it. We need to remember Jesus words from Matt 10:26:READ MORE