Detroit’s archbishop Allen Vigneron is calling on the priests and people of the archdiocese— and all those in southeast Michigan— to be as generous as possible to the relief efforts underway for the victims of Tuesday’s earthquake in Haiti. “We live in challenging financial times here in the Detroit area,” the archbishop says, “but that never seems to dampen the generosity of the people of this region when they have the opportunity to help their brothers and sisters in dire need.”
In these early hours, officials have yet to determine the precise toll of death and destruction in the impoverished Caribbean nation, but have predicted the loss of life and property will be staggering. “We offer our prayers for the victims,” Archbishop Vigneron says, “and for all those impacted by this tragedy, especially the survivors and the relief workers on site and those on their way.”
Among those killed in the quake was Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot of Port-au-Prince, whose body was found under the rubble of his residence Wednesday morning. One report says the cathedral, all the big churches, and all of the seminaries have been destroyed. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is among the first-line responders to disaster scenes and is already in Haiti.
The Detroit archdiocese is collecting contributions on the agency’s behalf.
The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, 'Look, here it is,' or, 'There it is.' For behold, the kingdom of God is among you."Then he said to his disciples, "The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.There will be those who will say to you, 'Look, there he is,' (or) 'Look, here he is.' Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.Luke 17:20-23
In fact, going beyond just telling us to not run after any possibility of his coming again, he tells us rather, that the kingdom of God is here among us. In that time, he was telling the Pharisees and his disciples that God was in their midst. Today, he tells us the same thing - Christ LIVES. We can begin to get into the mindset that Jesus was here 2000 years ago, we're around now trying to live up to his example, and then he'll come again one day (and we try to guess at when). We forget that our God is a living God, alive in our midst, made present to us in the Eucharist, in his in-dwelling Spirit that lives in each of us. If we worry about when Christ may come to the earth in physical form again, we lose sight of his very real presence among us now, and forget that we must continue to follow him today. Do we stay rooted in the living Christ or are we chasing the future?
Let us pray that we might recognize Christ as he reveals himself in our midst each day, remaining rooted in the living God now, following his call to us in the present rather than pining for a future we cannot predict.
For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.Ephesians 6:12-13
We talk at great length about the power of God in our lives. In this current culture, though, to talk about the power of the evil one is not as comfortable a topic. No one wants to point the finger at something and claim it to be the work of evil. Yet, if we believe in the Word of God, we know that evil works in the world to separate us from God at every turn. From Adam and Eve in the garden to the present day, there is evil at work in the world. To be able to face our struggles, we have to acknowledge that. Once we acknowledge that evil is present, we are more apt to understand the great necessity to protect ourselves with a firm, solid faith - to understand that God does work for good, but He is not the only one at work. If we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, we must be vigilant in protecting that temple. It should impress upon us the need to call upon the name of Jesus with certainty in the midst of our struggles and hardships, and to do so for those around us we see immersed in the darkness of the world.
To name evil when we see it is not to be intolerant of people in our midst. There is a great fear that we will be labeled as intolerant or some type of "-ist" if we speak the Truth about darkness. We must not fear. Truth must always be spoken in charity and without labeling people as evil, but if we do not call out the darkness and bring it into the light of Christ, then we are likely to be overcome by it. We cannot battle evil on our own - as much as movies may lead us to believe we can. The strength of our spirit is great, but it is Christ's Spirit within us, not our own human strength which gives us the fortitude and wisdom to fight the battle.
Make no mistake, the battle that began in Eden continues to this day. We know the end - we know Christ wins. The question is, are we willing to call on His name and stand our ground against evil in the world today?
Let us pray that we might readily call on the Holy Spirit and bring any darkness in our lives into the light of Christ, calling on the name of Jesus to overcome the struggles and battles we (and those around us) face.
Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand.The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.Matthew 7:24-27
We continue on our theme of dwelling and building today with this passage from Matthew. Once again, our lives and our bodies are likened to a house. What strikes me in reading this passage is that it is not simply hearing the words of Christ that strengthen us, but acting on them. It is not enough to passively receive Christ - we must actively practice what He has taught us. We all know that what we learn we do not retain if it is not practiced. That is precisely the wisdom Jesus leaves us with here.
If we listen and act on what He teaches us, we begin to grow more firm in our practiced faith. If we merely listen and do nothing, when push comes to shove, there is no guarantee that we will retain what we have heard. To remain strong, we must be active in practicing our faith, and in living out that which Christ has taught us. Our faith community surrounds us to help us in this. We are called to help each other build ourselves up in Christ, to practice a living faith in our daily lives, to create a solid foundation for those times we are under pressure from the world. Are we helping one another to live out the faith we received from Christ?
Today, pray that we might find ways to act on our faith and remain attentive to the ways that the Spirit presents us with those opportunities throughout our week.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16
When we think of a temple or church, what immediately comes to mind? Most likely it is an image of a structure, a building, something external to ourselves. How many of us would readily say that we are worthy to be a house of God? I know I wouldn't. That is, however, exactly what Paul reminds us that we are - a temple of our living God. If we remembered this and really took it to heart, how would we change our lives? Apart from the blatantly physical ramifications (for instance, perhaps God does NOT like McDonald's quite as much as I do), how would our behavior toward others change? How would our churches change?
This verse is at the culmination of Paul's rebuke of some of the early churches who are already in their time creating division by claiming to belong to one or another apostle, acting out of a spirit of jealousy and rivalry. We, as children of God, have one foundation - Jesus Christ. We seek unity in and under Him, and in the one Spirit by which we were baptized. In today's day and age, the divisions are endless. How do we contribute to those divisions?
Let us pray that we might live in complete awareness of the one Spirit of God that dwells within each of us, and draw each other closer to the source of life that is Christ our Lord. May we work to eliminate all division in the body of Christ, calling on the Holy Spirit to remove any trace of jealousy, rivalry, selfishness and pride from our midst, making us truly one Body under Christ once again.
Everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says: "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." Ephesians 5:14
We are rarely in complete darkness. Even when I stumble around at night, eventually my eyes adjust and I can see enough to find my way around the house. In the same way, our spiritual lives are not ever in complete darkness no matter how troubled we might feel. Christ, our light, is always at our side. If we keep our eyes closed and choose to wallow in solitary darkness, that is our choice, but one that is completely unnecessary. All throughout the Scriptures, we are promised light, and we know that God fulfills his promises.
Too often, we walk around with our eyes closed creating our own darkness, instead of calling on the name of Jesus to give light to our lives, our fears and our worries. We would rather carry them around and it is a symptom of our unbelief. I know I am guilty of this myself. If we truly believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior, why carry around our burdens and stumble in self-imposed darkness? "Arise, O sleeper!" Basically - wake up already! God is here, Christ is alive and he brings us His light. Why in the world would we close ourselves to that?
Today, let's put all our cares, worries, concerns and doubts out into the light of Christ and pray that He may lead us in the Truth and free us from all our burdens. Amen!
LORD, I call to you; come quickly to help me; listen to my plea when I call. Let my prayer be incense before you; my uplifted hands an evening sacrifice.Set a guard, LORD, before my mouth, a gatekeeper at my lips. Psalm 141:1-3
Do you ever have those moments during the day where you want to take back something you've said? Ideally, if our lips are being used in prayer, they're less likely to utter those things that make us hit our foreheads in disbelief of the things that sometimes come out of our mouths. Now, I don't know any of us who spend our entire day engaged in vocal prayer - so perhaps this little psalm prayer should be our first!
We sometimes forget the power our words have to wound one another. Even the slightest utterance, if taken the wrong way or spoken in a moment of frustration, can leave lasting scars that lead us no closer to Christ. Do we spend enough time in prayer to know when the words that are on the tip of our tongue are not of the Spirit...or are perhaps being used by an entirely different spirit?
Perhaps we might utter this prayer a little more often, or one of our own, asking the Lord's intervention. Let us pray that the Lord might keep us from speaking unless they are words that do Him justice, and keep us out of trouble!
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