Search Me, O God! An Examination of Conscience for Advent

MAN IN PRAYER

Have you ever noticed how good we can be at noticing other people’s weaknesses, while still having a blind spot for our own? Fortunately, God is familiar with this tendency.

He knows that we often need an outside perspec­tive to help us see ourselves clearly. That’s why he created us to live as a community and not as individuals. It’s also why he has given us guide­lines like the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. They can help give us a glimpse into how we’re doing and what we may need to change. It’s also why there are so many prophets in the Scriptures. God called them to point out the peo­ple’s sins in the hope that they would repent and come back to him.

Even now, during this season of Advent, God is patiently calling out to us. He is gently probing our hearts and urging us to turn away from the sins that block our relationship with him.

How does God want you to respond to his call this Advent? You don’t need a personal prophet to help you prepare: You have the Holy Spirit, who knows your heart far more inti­mately than any spouse or advisor ever could.

So as you prepare for Confession this Advent, seek the Spirit’s perspec­tive. Don’t be afraid: He will offer the perfect balance of encouragement and correction. What’s more, as soon as you repent, he will remove the bur­den of your sins and fill you with a new freedom and joy.

“LORD, you have probed me, you know me.” (Psalm 139:1)

Open your heart to God. Allow him to search your thoughts with you. Are there times when you doubt his goodness and mercy? Struggle with your faith? Think that maybe the Lord can forgive others, but not you? Let him help you to believe more fully.

“Have no anxiety at all.” (Philippians 4:6)

Often we are anxious because we want to be in complete control and we don’t trust God’s plan for us. Are there areas of your life that you are reluctant to give to God? Do you believe that he loves you and wants only good for you? When difficulties arise, do you let worry consume you? Are you ready to release your anxi­ety, present your needs to God, and try to thank him in every circum­stance (1 Thessalonians 5:18)? It’s the only way to receive “the peace of God that surpasses all understand­ing” (Philippians 4:7).

“See … that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble.” (Hebrews 12:15)

What about your relationships? Do you honor and respect the people around you? Do you have a short temper? Do you hold onto resentment? Are you harboring bitter­ness or unforgiveness? Take it to the Lord, and let the Spirit fill you with compassion.

“From the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

Words are the overflow of our thoughts. Have you failed to speak with love and kindness? Do you indulge in persistent sarcasm? Do you use bad language when you don’t get your way? Do you criticize more than you uplift? Ask the Lord to change your heart and help you catch these words before they come out of your mouth.

“I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.” (Romans 7:19)

Where do you most often find yourself falling short of the good you really want to do? Have you skipped Sunday Mass or neglected prayer? Have you neglected or cheated anyone? Are you using your resources as God wants? Have you given in to addictions or bad habits?

Nothing is beyond God’s grace and mercy. This season, go to Reconciliation with a humble, surren­dered heart. When you leave, hold on to the mercy that Jesus poured out. Remind yourself again and again: “I am forgiven, I am renewed, I am ready for Jesus to come.”

This post was taken from The Word Among Us

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Band of Brothers meeting …. Sept 3rd

Awesome seeing you at the meeting last night, hearing the witness of your journey is good. The joy I experience with the Band of Brothers is the comfort we have expressing our struggles and challenges we face as men… Not easy at times, but always rewarding. We have our history and our strength in our faith that allows us to be truthful with each other in a strong but compassionate way. Knowing we have true support for each other is better than the ?|{>€#_* well.

Looking up from the bottom

I will say knowing if I am stuck in a well that a rope will soon follow and not some empty punch words “I’ll pray for you”. Remember faith / without works is dead. James 2:14 I bid you all a due till we meet again. Sept 24 Wed.. To be determined.

Why or why not me … that is the question

Stay on course … this post is taken from the Word Among Us periodical from June 7th. 

 

“Lord, what about him?” … “What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” (John 21:21, 22)

 

How easy it can be to let speculation about other people’s paths distract us from Jesus’ plan for us! We may wonder why another person seems to enjoy singular blessings or why someone else has to endure so many hardships and roadblocks on the way of holiness. But whether our uneasy reflections are tinged with relief or envy, they can hold us back from making progress in our spiritual life.

“Lord, why did they put him in charge of that committee when I have so much more expertise?” “Why did she win the lottery?” “Why are my children the only ones who have dropped out of school and wrecked their marriages?” “Why was my husband’s cancer detected so early and cured so easily, while this woman has had to suffer one futile treatment after another?” The questions can go on and on.

But each time we let this happen, Jesus seeks to redirect our attention, just as he did for Peter. He assures us that he is dealing with each individual according to his own wisdom and plan. Then he tells us the only thing we really need to hear: “Follow me.” Everything else is secondary. For when we follow Jesus, we find answers to many of our other questions and concerns. As for those that remain unanswered, we learn the art of trust and surrender.

In today’s Gospel, for instance, Peter asked Jesus about the fate of John, his fellow apostle. But Jesus responded by telling him that what would happen to John was Jesus’ business, not Peter’s. Peter simply needed to follow the Lord. Of course Jesus wants us to be concerned about our families, our friends, and the needy among us. Yes, he wants us to be concerned about each other’s future. But the basis for our concern should be their welfare, not curiosity or jealousy.

Every life has its own path, with its own particular twists and turns. Jesus wants us to face these twists with confidence, courage, and trust. He doesn’t always let us in on all that lies ahead, and he doesn’t always tell us his plans for the other people in our lives. But he does assure us that he will be with us every step of the way.

“Jesus, I want to follow you wholeheartedly. Please direct my path.”

Ride Day

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We began the day with mass at 8:00am, the rain kept some of the riders away.

There were old friends from past years and some new faces that were ready to take on the rain for a great ride.

After a blessing from Father Anthony, we took to the streets.

 

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As always a stop at St. Raphael’s Ruins ….. a little shorter this year so we had some extra time at the Blue Anchor for some fellowship and warming up.

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The sun did come out for the ride to St. Andrews where Bishop Marcel Damphouse gave a wonderful talk on “Everyday Holiness”

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Stay in Touch for the Fall Ride – October 11th

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Like a Rolling Stone …

This Sunday’s second reading is taken from 1 Peter 2 :4-9 in which Peter calls us out to be “living stones”.

I am reminded of the children’s story of “Stone Soup”

Some travelers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travelers. Then the travelers go to a stream and fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travelers answer that they are making “stone soup”, which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavor, which they are missing. The villager does not mind parting with a few carrots to help them out, so that gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travelers again mention their stone soup which has not reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all.

Our mission is to be the vehicles that allow God’s Grace to travel everywhere, and to be examples of the joy and love that God offers.

We need to get out of our churches and go to where the people are, and create situations that allow them to see Christ’s love.

The first disciples when out to foreign lands, they did not stay in the upper room and wait for people to open the door.

There is an adventure to “live” and we are the “stones” to do it