Reflection - November 5, 2017

“The greatest among you must be your servant.”

Why do we do what we do? Plato wrote, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” It is important for us to have a certain amount of self knowledge: to know who we are, our motivations and intentions, and our true gifts and limitations. This knowledge is central for us to grow and mature, but it’s not always easy to gain. 

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Reflection - October 29, 2017

“You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind.

This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

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Reflection - August 12

“Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD;the LORD will pass by. 
There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; 
after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 
after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; 
after the fire, a tiny whispering sound.”

Violent wind, earthquake, fire. Unequivocal, powerful, majestic. This passage from The First Book of Kings in the Old Testament is one of the great instructions in the spiritual life. It is surprising, at the time it was written and today. The powerful natural phenomena of wind, earthquake, and fire would be the expected domain of God. The surprise is that God, the LORD, was not in any of those, but in the “tiny whispering sound,” or as some translations say, “a still small voice.”

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Reflection - July 23, 2017

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed 
that a person took and sowed in a field. 
It is the smallest of all the seeds, 
yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. 
It becomes a large bush, 
and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”

If you drive to St. Pats from Shelbyville Road along North Beckley Station Road, it’s hard to miss the small grove of bamboo on the left. If you've never noticed it, be careful if you go looking for it: Beckley is dangerous enough. Anyway…

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Reflection - August 27, 2017

“Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.”

Odd, really. Following Peter’s confession of faith and subsequent designation as the rock on which the church would be built, receiving the authority of the keys of the kingdom, it’s as if Jesus is saying, “But whatever you do, don't tell anyone!” Why?

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Reflection - August 6, 2017

“After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.”

Most of the time, the world passes by and we are left by faith to trust that God is with us. We don’t always get to see the divine so clearly as the disciples did in today’s gospel. We trust, especially through the Eucharist and the other sacraments, that God is here, but it is rarely as explicit as it is for Peter, James, and John.

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Reflection - July 16, 2017

"A sower went out to sow. 
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. 
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. 
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. 
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. 
But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. 
Whoever has ears ought to hear."

We have the privilege in today's gospel, if we read the longer version, of hearing Jesus explain one of his own parables. It is a worthy spiritual exercise for us to imagine which type of soil we are: hard packed path, rocky ground, thicket, or rich soil. How do we receive the Word of God? Does it bear much fruit in our lives? 

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Reflection - August 20, 2017

Dear St. Patrick family,

I want to thank you for your prayers and patience as I get closer to surgery for the stenosis in my lower back, which will be on August 29. I am especially grateful to our staff, deacons, Fr. Oz and Fr. Adam for their assistance and compassion. It is truly humbling for me to experience so many tangible signs of love and care. Thank you.

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Reflection - July 30

"We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."

Failure? Mistakes? Distractions? Regrets? Betrayal? Hardships? Heartbreak? Pain? Suffering? Injustice? Violence? Tragedy? Death? Can all things really work for good? It's not too hard to believe in the good when everything is going well, or at least fair-to-middling. Sure. I'll step out onto the water and walk by faith when the skies are clear, the sea calm, and the breeze gentle. 

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