Forgiveness – Corrie ten Boom

We thought some blog followers might be interested to learn more about Corrie ten Boom, the woman referenced in Fr. Peter Patrick’s September 17 homily. Here is a reflection submitted by one of our parishioners:

In his homily last Sunday on forgiveness, Father Peter Patrick spoke about the Dutch author and holocaust survivor, Corrie ten Boom, known for her incredible faith and her inspiring example to all of us of the meaning of forgiveness.

Corrie ten Boom was born on April 15, 1892, in Holland.  She died in 1983 at the age of 91, on that same date. She and her family sheltered many Jewish friends and neighbors in their home during the Nazi holocaust during World War II.  Eventually an informant contacted the Nazi police and the entire family were carried off to concentration camps.  All of them died, except for Corrie.  She and her sister were sent to a particularly notorious camp, and shortly after her sister died, Corrie was miraculously released from the camp.  Some years later she was speaking before an audience regarding one of her books.  Suddenly she saw in the audience, a former guard from the camp.  Boiling over with rage she could scarcely contain, she prayerd to Jesus. “Forgive me, and help me to forgive him. . .Jesus I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness”.  At the end of her talk, the guard appeared in front of her and asked for her forgiveness. She put out her hand and took his.  As they stood there together an amazing peace came over her and a joy she could not have imagined.  How small the little humiliations and offenses all of us experience from people we meet and how hard we find it to forgive.  Jesus, give me your forgiveness.  MMD

If you would like to learn even more about Corrie ten Boom, check out these links:
https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10006914 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/561909.The_Hiding_Place

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Living As A True Steward – A Message from Father Dennis

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October 27, 2015

Dear Parishioner,

If you believe in God, you believe in stewardship. True stewardship calls us to recognize one simple yet profound truth: absolutely everything we have has been given to us by Him to be used in service to Him and His people.

Stewardship is not a “program,” or a fundraising campaign or a buzzword or round-about way of asking for more money. Stewardship is a lifestyle by which we recognize everything as gift. Living stewardship allows us to use our gifts wisely to the best of our ability for the good of God’s church and his people.

Living as a true steward requires a conversion of the heart; taking us down a path toward a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God. Prayer, worship, reflection; these are the building blocks of faithful stewardship. Stewardship, simply defined, is putting our faith first – making God a priority in our lives. Before we can sincerely give any portion of out time, talent and treasure to God, we must give Him all of our hearts.

Enclosed is your 2016 Financial Stewardship Commitment Form.* In completing your pledge please consider how your life is enriched by our parish community and about how you make a difference for others through your support of parish ministries. An increase in the level of your support would allow us to not only continue the many good things that are described in “What Difference Do My Contributions Make?” but to also strengthen and expand upon them.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

FrDennisSignature

Father Dennis Dirkx

*This form is available on line at http://www.strobert.org/special/libfile_files/media/2167.pdf

Why Should I Praise the Lord?

At Evangelical Training Camp (ETC) this summer I learned a lot of things.  One of the important things is how amazing it is to praise Jesus.  It’s something I’ve not been good at.  It seemed contrived and insincere when I tried.  “Oh Jesus, you are so great, so good.’ I felt like I was brown nosing the Lord to stay in his good graces.  It just didn’t work for me and I figured Jesus already knows how great he is.  Why does he need a lowly sinner like me telling him?  He doesn’t need that affirmation.

Well, as with many things, I was wrong with a capital W.  Wrong.  Jesus doesn’t need us to praise him.  Jesus wants us to praise him.  What the Lord has done is beyond explanation.  Just look at our beautiful planet, your beautiful children, your beautiful self.   God is BIG.  Huge, beyond our comprehension and he loves us like crazy.  Imagine how much you love your child and multiply it by a gazillion.  Then maybe it will be close to Jesus’ love for us.

So I learned about praise that week.  I learned that praise music is good.  Very, very good.  As in getting chills and crying good.  Singing about how great God is at the top of one’s lungs in a room full of other people singing at the top of their lungs is a wonderous experience.  (In fact, you can have that experience at our parish Arise Mission September 26 & 27 – shameless plug).

I also learned that there are seven words in the Hebrew language for our one English word of praise.  A gentleman named George Burnash wrote about them and a speaker at ETC talked about them. Click here to read his original notes.

The first word Mr. Burnash talks of is Halal which is where “hallelujah” comes from.  It means “to be clear, to shine, to be clamorously foolish.”  A speaker at ETC told a story of going to see Pope Benedict and being so excited that he climbed on some chairs and, as the Pope drove by, yelled “Holy Father, I love you!”  Clamorously foolish.  So beautiful.   Praising Jesus comes from our hearts not our minds.  It’s ok to look silly.  Close those eyes, rock and sway, hold up your hands to Jesus and sing your brains out.  Jesus gets a kick out of that.

The second word is Yadah.  This means to worship with extended hand.  When I arrived at the camp and we were singing our praise, I noticed people holding up one or both hands as they sang.  I asked what that means.  It’s a way to reach to Jesus, to lift up our hands to his name.  Then I summoned up my courage, closed my eyes, reached to Jesus and oh my gosh is that a powerful way to pray.  I get it now and I’m learning to be more comfortable with it.

Towdah is similar to Yadah.  I think of it as not so much reaching but offering.  My hands and arms are open.  I am giving thanks for “things not yet received as well as things already at hand.”

Shabach is to “shout or address in a loud tone.”  Consider Psalm 47:2  “All you peoples clap your hands; shout to God with joyful cries.”  How fun!  It’s praying in capital letters.  It’s enthusiasm, joy, and exuberance.

There’s even a word for bowing down, kneeling to God in adoration: barak.  There are times when all we can do is drop to our knees in praise.  And for those of us who aren’t prone to loud exultation, this is our way to praise quietly in our hearts.

The sixth word Mr. Burnash shares is Zamar meaning to “pluck the strings of an instrument, to sing, to praise.”  This is where those awesome pianos and guitars and violins and trumpets come in creating the accompaniment for our voices.

Finally, there is Tehillah derived from Halal and meaning “to sing or to laud” (I know, you have All Glory, Laud and Honor running through your head now.)  Many of us think we can’t sing.  But here’s what I realized: it doesn’t matter.  Every voice is beautiful when praising Jesus.  He loves the sound of our voices and since he’s the one we are praising that’s all that matters.  When we truly lift our voices in praise, we all sound good.  Listen sometime.  Or better yet, attend Arise and listen.  The voices are glorious.

So I’ve learned that praising Jesus isn’t contrived or insincere or unnecessary.  It’s beautiful and there are many ways to do it.  Currently I’m fond of tehillah in my car with praise music blasting from my radio while I sing along in a halal sort of way and sometimes I may put out a hand in yadah.  I’m sure I look foolish but boy does it feel good to sing my praise to the Lord.

And if you’re looking to sing, sing, sing here are four suggestions:

Sing Your Praise to the Lord by Amy Grant

Lay Me Down by Chris Tomlin

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Jonas Myrin & Matt Redman

Agnus Dei by Michael W. Smith

 

When you come to the Arise Mission, I’ll be happy to look foolish with you

Merridith Frediani

Parish Life Coordinator

And As You Wish That Men Would Do to You, Do So to Them

SR Letterhead LogoWhat do you do when another driver doesn’t wait at an intersection?  Or you get a nasty look from someone at the grocery store? Or your spouse snaps at you?

In our Catholic ID leadership training each week, we make a group resolution.  We share what we are going to work on to develop ourselves in faith life and discipleship habits.  This week’s challenge is to examine encounters with the world at large, through God’s eyes.

“What Would Jesus Do?” was ubiquitous a few years ago and it bears resurrecting.  What WOULD Jesus do?  Has this become just another acronym to be parodied or do we ever sincerely wonder?

One of Christ’s biggest directives to us is to Love.  Simply Love.  Luke 6:31: And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.

God the Father loves us all deeply, unconditionally, and passionately.  I frequently remind myself of the “all” in that statement.  God loves us ALL; not just the folks who attend Mass each day or week, who give generously of their time, talent and treasure or who seem to walk in constant peace and joy.  He loves every single one of us.  He loves those of us who choose to play solitaire on our phones instead of praying.  He loves those of us who are snotty to our family members because they have used up all of our spare patience.  He loves those of us who, in our hurry to get to work on time, roll through the four way stop when it isn’t quite our turn.  He also loves those of us who have big sins that weigh us down every day.  Those who are convinced the holy water may start on fire if we enter a church.

What is the practical application of seeing with God’s eyes? What do I do when my feelings are hurt? I have some ideas – thanks to my fellow facilitators in training for their inspiration

First up is Prayer.  I need to ask God to help me remember to pray when I encounter those people who I’d like to judge or lash out at.  Then I need to actually pray “Father, help me to remember that you love all of us and you see value in each human being we meet.  I don’t know why that person made that choice but please be with him as he goes about his day and help me remember that I am just as flawed but you love me too.”

Second, I need to remember the Pray magnet affixed to the back of my car.  If you don’t have one, it’s worth getting (a google search will bring up many inexpensive options).  It will make you a better driver.  When someone does something that frustrates me, I remember that on the back of my car it says “Pray” and I can hardly make a rude gesture or furiously pass on the right if I’ve got that proclaimed from my car.

Third, I need to remember that everyone is carrying their own proverbial cross.  A friend shared a video with me. Click here to watch.  It’s a reminder that things aren’t always what they seem on the outside.  The actions that may aggravate us most often have nothing to do with us.  They are performed by a person who has his or her own pain and needs to be loved.  We just cannot readily see it.  God can.

So I have been trying to remember these things as I go about my day and I have found it works.  When I recognize that it is not all about me and that others have their own struggles, it makes it easier to accept the little slights.  When I remember to say a prayer for those around me, I cannot get upset.  I feel compassion and I think the world could use more of that.  Much more.

Merridith Frediani
Parish Life Coordinator

Adoration: Our Spiritual Nourishment – A Reflection by Jackie Piano

SR Letterhead LogoMy soul was filled beyond measure to learn that our 8th Grade Religious Education Program students would have the opportunity for Adoration of our dear Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament as part of their transition to the high school formation program. Adoration of the Eucharist literally saved my life. It was what brought me back to the Church and fullness of faith. I am rejoicing that our precious 8th graders that God has gifted to me as their catechist were given this amazing opportunity.

I would like to share several quotations that point to the importance of Adoration in Catholic faith. “A thousand years of enjoying human glory is not worth even one hour spent sweetly communing with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.” (St. Padre Pio) Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration with exposition needs a great push. “People ask me, ‘What Will convert America and save the World?” My answer is prayer. What we need is for every parish to come before Jesus himself in the Blessed Sacrament in holy hours of prayer.” (Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

Saint John Paul ll said that “From the Eucharist comes strength to live the Christian life and zeal to share that life with others.” His successor, Pope Benedict XVI said “You must propagate veneration of the Most Blessed Sacrament with all your might, for the devotion to the Holy Eucharist is the queen of all devotions.” Bishop Fulton J. Sheen reminded us that “The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny White host.” Finally, St. John Bosco said “Trust all things to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary Help of Christians and you will see what miracles are.”

God bless all who worked with our Religious Education students this year. Please join me in praying for our 8th graders that they will listen to the whispers of the Holy Spirit within them.

I thank God every day that St. Robert Parish is a parish that offers Adoration of the Eucharist both on Wednesday evenings at Cor Jesu (7:00 PM in church) and every Friday (9:00 AM to 9:00 PM in the little chapel). I pray that our parish as members of the family of God would embrace this life-changing, heart-reaching, soul-touching devotion more fully. Sadly, there have been numerous occasions that l have entered the chapel on Fridays and have found our dear Lord alone. This must change. This should never be. Wouldn’t it be fitting to our Lord if the chapel were full of people so in love with Jesus that they take time out of their Fridays to spend time with Him? Wouldn’t it be fitting to our Lord if Adoration of the Eucharist grew so much at St. Robert Parish that it had to be moved to the big church to accommodate all of our dear Lord‘s faithful adorers? He suffered and died for us, surely we can adore and live for Him. Parents bring your kids!  Kids bring your parents! Tell everyone you know that our Lord is waiting for them! See ya on Friday!

Peace and love, Jackie

Spring Break – A Reflection

SR Letterhead LogoAt the close of a recent parish meeting, we were invited to pray for special intentions. One parent asked for prayers for a college-age son about to take his spring break in Florida. As a mother, “Florida over spring break” was code for all my worries about the evils that could befall children.

In the next weeks, many of us, intentionally, will do something to put winter behind us and look to the easier months ahead. That’s a good thing, especially if we do for our spirit what we do for our body–thus, my plea, my intercessory prayer for all of us here in our parishes – Holy Family and St. Robert.

We are about to enter into our “high holy days,” the most important and spiritually nourishing time of our liturgical year – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, the Triduum.

Is it conceivable that to enjoy the fullness of Easter 2015, we’ll let ourselves enter into the almost unimaginable vulnerability of Jesus Christ? How could we go about experiencing Jesus’ vulnerability and self-gift?

HOLY THURSDAY OF THE LORD’S SUPPER: Because we are so sorry for our sins, let us ask Jesus to “pass over us” with his great mercy. Let us thank Jesus for the remembrance of his body and blood – for his enduring gift of Eucharist which sustains our parish communities.

At our parish celebration of Holy Thursday, let us offer Jesus our feet and recognize that not only our feet, but our entire body is a gift of our Creator God – that we, like Jesus, come from God and that we will use our feet to return to God as we live to serve others.

GOOD FRIDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD: Let us try to find a new way to enter into the passion of Jesus Christ. For the rest of the year, how will we “ever glory in the Cross of Christ?” Will our Easter experience lead us to “lift high the cross?”

Can we, by a new way of entering into the passion, become so strong and bold to make Jesus’ gift of the cross a source of joy and of our daily spiritual growth?

HOLY SATURDAY AND EASTER SUNDAY: And for 50 days more to that great feast of Pentecost, will we allow ourselves the unabashed joy to sing and shout, give one another hugs and high-fives, and celebrate with festive foods, because in the Resurrection we have the greatest gift that any Savior could accomplish?

With the TRIDUUM, we have before us a life-changing opportunity. Will we make Thursday, April 2, Friday, April 3, and Easter, April 4, 2015, our most memorable spring break? Jesus assures us it will be worth the effort in the amazing blessings that come our way!

Rosemary Murphy

St. Robert Pastoral Staff

Lent – Why?

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Have you ever tried to bring up the subject of having a meaningful Lent only to hear a student, child, or spouse ask, “Why do we have to have Lent?” It is a good question and one that may rest deep in our Catholic psyche.

I recall a wonderful colleague who encouraged me to make Lent “gracious and relational.” At a time when our parish is talking about engaging more members in ministry; when we are doing a picture directory to connect names with faces; and when we are beginning another series of faith sharing groups to connect us to the Cross, thinking about making Lent gracious and relational may be appropriate.

Our Triune God, Father, Son, and Spirit, is relational. In baptism, through the graciousness of God’s great love, we are identified as a child of God. If our Lenten journey is to help us grow in our relationship to Jesus who, as St. Alphonsus Ligouri says, is not only a brother, but “our closest, dearest friend,” then the Lenten Sunday Gospels offer much for reflection.

Wouldn’t it be amazing and worth our repentance and small sacrifices if at the end of Lent we hear God’s voice say to us as God says to Jesus in the Transfiguration Gospel, “This is my beloved son” or “This is my beloved daughter”? Here are some ideas as to how to make Lent gracious and relational:

  1. Read and re-read the Lenten Gospels. The citations appear in our bulletin and are posted on our website and Facebook page.
  1. Be attentive to the homily series: “Repent and Believe: A Disciple’s Journey” and use the homily guide in the bulletin and on the website and Facebook page to prepare for and reflect on the Sunday preaching.
  1. Join a small faith sharing group and more deeply connect to Jesus through conversation with other parishioners.
  1. Commit to spending an hour each week in Adoration (Wednesday nights or Fridays) or praying for others on the Prayer Network.
  1. Receive God’s gracious love, the self-gift of Jesus, and return a gift—engagement in a parish ministry along with financial support of the parish and the Catholic Stewardship Appeal.

Good and gracious God, as a son, as a daughter, I offer Lent 2015 with repentance and in thanksgiving for your love and for all that you have first given me.

 

Rosemary Murphy

Stewardship Director