|Sunset at sea - Pierre-Auguste Renoir|
OCTOBER Trees declare their own sermon in brief autumn's painted landscape. We note their size and type and variety and beaut...
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Isaiah, Chapter 41, verse 13-14
13 For I am the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand; it is I who say to you, do not fear, I will help you. 14 Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you maggot Israel; I will help you—oracle of the LORD; the Holy One of Israel is your redeemer.
I picture Christ, the Holy One of Israel, saying this to Peter at the Sea of Galilee as He pulls Peter up after he had walked on the water and feared the waves and began to drown “I am the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand”. We must not waiver when we feel covered over by the waters of fear for He will help us. When in fear if we cry out for his help He will grab us by the hand and bring us back in to the boat; which is His church.
Let us not be children of fear but children of faith. In fact the opposite of Faith is fear. Napoleon Hill author of the bestselling book THINK AND GROW RICH stated in his unpublished manuscript entitled “Outwitting the Devil” that the devil uses fear to manipulate and control us. Hill uses an imaginary conversation with the devil where the devil states: Once I capture the mind of a child, through fear, I weaken that child’s ability to reason and to think for himself, and that weakness goes with the child all through life.
According to Hill the secret to freedom and success is to break the chains of fear and realize that failure and defeat are only a temporary experience.
Franklin D. Roosevelt in his first in inaugural address as President of the United States realized this when he stated, “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” As a new President he realized the power of fear and he also realized the power of courage.
Mindful of this let us go forth manfully to face our fears and change ourselves, our families and our nation realizing YES He IS and He grasps our hand—He will help us! This is true wisdom!
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.(Jer. 17:7-8)
THE TREE OF HAPPINESS (Cont.)
King Richard was glad to see all the Grand knights and their sons preparing for the Quest. Why even Sir Michael sent for his God-son Gabriel to be part of the great quest. Gabriel was the son of Henry, Sir Michael’s brother. Henry was not a member of the royal court and lived deep in the forests of Utopia. Henry had renounced his birthright, by his marriage to a simple peasantry woman, named Diane, who was known not only for her beauty but also for her intelligent mind and loving ways. Diane and Henry had raised Gabriel quite different from the other young men of Utopia. He was taught all the great sciences of the time and his father trained him in the Knightly arts. He was a young man of strength in both mind and body. That was why Sir Michael chose him to be his Sergeant at Arms on the great crusade to find the Tree of Happiness.
When Gabriel got the word that he was to go with his uncle he was in his most favorite places to be. He was in the upper most branches of the oldest oak tree in the forest. It was said of the tree that it was used as a meeting place for Mass when St. Dennis first brought Utopia to the church over 500 years ago and if this was true it would make the tree at least 600 years old. Gabriel always loved it here. This was his special place. This was the place where he spoke with his creator. It was here he developed his strength of mind and by climbing the great tree he also developed his physical strength.
After Gabriel joined Sir Michael, King Richard and the rest of the Crusaders visited many faraway lands in search of the Tree of Happiness. They fought many battles (which are stories themselves) they learned the value of friendship, duty and the worth of selfless service. The king and his Knights found themselves returning to the beliefs of the church and strangely found themselves happy although suffering in hardships together. After five years of searching, they found their selves approaching Utopia having never found the Tree of Happiness and having a sense of failure. Gabriel now a Knight himself, found they were approaching the tree of St. Dennis, his special place, in the middle of a terrible storm. As they approached the tree, Gabriel was mentioning to King Richard how this tree was a special place to him and they camped there for the night to wait out the storm. Gabriel had just finished mentioning this to King Richard when a great bolt of lightning struck the great tree splitting it. Sadly Gabriel went to bed.
In the morning Gabriel, Sir Michael, King Richard and the company of Knights approached the split tree. As they approached they discovered buried within the tree a crucifix that had been attached to the tree and the tree had grown around it. The crucifix was the cross of St. Dennis which had the following words inscribed upon it, “Upon this tree (cross) God hung in payment for our sins and love for us. THIS is the true Tree of Happiness.”
A retreat is an extended time we take—usually in relative quiet and solitude—to pray and ponder God’s will for us. So we can say this with certainty: if we want to advance in the spiritual life, we should first retreat. This is a time that we like Moses, Christ and the patriarchs go to a deserted place to be open toward God. We fast and withdraw from the noise of a workaday life. Forget the IPOD and all your electronic devises. We should listen for that “still small voice”. We should say “Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening”.
A retreat must be done when you are about to do something big or when we suffer a great loss. We at times must withdraw to the wilderness and pray as did Christ.
We should schedule a retreat at least once a year and we should be generous with the time. Christ did 40 can you do four or more? http://www.catholicretreats.net/
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