Sunday, March 16, 2008

My Way Sunday
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with passion and nosebleeds
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the passion part, from reader Lillian Marie
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Jesus, so much anguish I have caused You these last few days, weeks, months, years because of my sins. Every time I lost my temper, I drove the nail into Your hand. Every time I refused to listen, I gave You another blow with the whip. Every time I ignored my neighbor, I added more weight to the cross You carried. How selfish I have been!

Through Your words, kindness, and love, You showed me my neighbor. Yet in my sinfulness, I ignored them, moved on, said ‘no’. My sins put You on that cross – my sins yelled out ‘crucify Him.’

Lord, You saw all of my failures and sinfulness during Your passion, yet You chose to die for me. You saw every sin that I committed and every sin that I will ever commit, and yet, You freely extended Your arms and legs. You loved me so much that You took my sins and bore them to Yourself. You loved me as a sinner so you could free me from that sin. Saint Paul stated that You, Jesus, took on so much sin into Your pure, innocent, perfect body that it was like God made You to be sin.

Yet, You wait for me in spite of my sin; ready to forgive me with the love only a Father could give. God, You are the merciful Father in the Parable of the Lost Son. You are waiting anxiously for my return; standing at the doorway, watching for me to walk humbly down the filthy, rocky road back to You. As my Heavenly Father, You never stopped, nor could stop, loving me. There is nothing that I could ever do to make You stop being my Father.

As I stumble back to you and humbly confess my sins, You embrace me tightly, joyous of my return, forgiving me of all of my sins. You know that I could never completely atone for my sins, so You sent Your only Son to take these sins from me. You order the banquet of Your divine Son, the Mass, so I can share in Your holiness that I too can become holy. You know that I am weak and can not remain holy, so You give me many opportunities to repent. The Sacrament of Confession, the Confiteor, Kyrie, Gloria, Eucharistic Prayer I, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Invitation to Communion are some of Your ways of keeping me holy at Mass, when I receive You, when I am in a common union with You and the Church.

My Lord, help me to remember Your mercy and Your love as I walk with You in Your Passion and Resurrection.
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the nosebleed part, from uncle jim
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Seats in the nosebleed section refer to being way up in the rafters. Most sports venues have some seats located in the upper stratosphere. Friday evening [6:30 - 9:30pm] and all day Saturday [8:30am - 10:30pm], except for lunch and dinner and bathroom breaks, I sat in a basketball arena up near the pearly gates them selves - I know it was close to the metaphorical entrance to heaven ... the nose-bleed section.

I was with two other adults and a group of teen agers. The loud pounding music and the rhythmic cadence of the evangelistic youth minister preachers took a toll on this old body as I tried to keep up with the energy levels of the teens with whom I was hanging out. I did sleep hard last night.

The kids had a great time, and I do believe learned a lot too. They learned it would take more than being a luke-warm Christian if they were going to have any positive impact on the world around them. They were challenged to jump in with both feet and know they could call on Jesus to help them.

They heard stories that related to the impact the world was having on their generation and what it will take to make their voices heard. They were challenged to use the technology of the day to affect others around them with the message of God. They were challenged to go on to get as much education as they could and to use the talents God was giving them to change the course of our country and our culture in the next 20 - 30 years.

They heard stories of how every action we commit has consequences beyond our visioning. Words and deeds affect people in a succession of layers as trickle-down physics plays a part in the subsequent results of our behaviors. And they heard that they were totally loved by God and were going to used by Him, if they let Him have His way with them.

All of this was crammed into about 15 hours geared to change the hearts and minds and attitudes, and eventually the teen culture these young people encounter everyday. Pray for them. I'm glad I was there with them.
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Anonymous said...

A few years ago, when I was still with the Fire Dept., I was on light duty and assigned as a Fire Marshall at such public events. "Acquire the Fire" was one of them.

I was there on the Friday night, and remember standing at one of the upper levels during the altar call. I was, at the time, seeking, realizing I was Cathoic and actively claiming that heritage and choice. And yet, I felt the power. I was choked up as the minister called the youth forward to accept Christ. It started as a girl, in a grey sweatshirt, got up from one of the nosebleed seats and made her way down. Then another...and another...form all over. It became a waterfall of teens moving towards the stage.

Incredible. Incredible.

It was all I could do to blink back the tears...Christ was present that night, in all those who were truly seeking Him.

A girl standing on the landing near me approached, apparently to evangelize me. I told her I was Catholic, but I wished that our priests would do similar things (How I cringe now when I consider those words! How they show how out of touch I was with the faith I claimed!) She asked to pray for me, and I gave her permission, there, in my dress whites, humbled that a teen would want to pray for and with me. I was maybe 28...the girl was max, 18.

And I would argue that her prayers were efficacious. That night has had an impact on me, and wherever that girl is, I pray that she find her way into the Catholic faith, if she hasn't already....where altar calls involve the actual reception of Christ Himself.

uncle jim said...

this one was probably the 6th or 7th time i've taken a group - and every time i see the hand of God at work in these teens' lives. it is an effort, but we then work to translate what they heard and saw and experienced into the context of the Catholic faith they are a part of. for most of them, it is worthwhile. have we ever lost some? yes, but we lose more if we do nothing and just let their friends proselytize them.

Adrienne said...

I know first hand how hard you worked. God is blessing you mightly.

Father Bill always says if you reach just one of them it was worth it.