Tag Archive | Jesus

Jesus Walks on the Water. . .

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with my good friend, Fr. Donald Ware, C.P., of St. Paul of the Cross Monastery in Pittsburgh PA about the Gospel story of Jesus walking on the water.
 
As the story goes, the disciples were on their fishing boat and a storm blew in and was tossing the boat about and they were very afraid. . .
 
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. 27At once [Jesus] spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I;* do not be afraid.” 28Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. 30j But when he saw how [strong] the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith,* why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:26-31 – New American Bible)
 
This is what I learned from my discussion with Fr. Don moving the story to this time in our lives. . .I had these reflections. . .
 
Just as Jesus called Peter out of the boat to walk to him, Jesus is calling me to get out of the boat of my  comfort and walk on the water of my fears, my failures, my sinfulness and walk to Jesus.
 
Can I walk to him trusting that He will uphold me in the storm of life circumstances ~ my health situation, my relationships, my judgmental attitude toward others. . .and on and on and on.
 
Each day is a new challenge to get out of that boat and walk in faith to the outstretched arms of Jesus, calling me and you to fulness, to great love of others and blessings galore, to FREEDOM!!!
 
I pray for Jesus’ abundant blessings on you as you climb out of your boat of comfort and walk on the water of your life to Jesus!
 
Sandy Ozanich (c)
December 10, 2013
 
 
 
 

A Few Words From Pope Francis I * Jesus Doesn’t Need An Army To Cast Out Demons

This article comes from Rome Reports ~ A publication of the Vatican on the activities of Pope Francis I.  I find this article particularly relevant to our times today. . .Enjoy!

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September 3, 2013. (Romereports.com) Pope Francis explained during his Mass homily at Casa Santa Marta that modern culture gives way to cultural and technological knowledge, and gives the impression of enlightenment, but that many people live in the darkness because they do not know the light of Jesus.   

POPE FRANCIS 

“Jesus doesn’t need an army to cast out the demons, He has no need of pride, no need of force, of arrogance. ‘What is there about His word? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.’ This is a humble word, meek, with so much love; it is a word that accompanies us in the moments of the Cross. Let us ask the Lord to give us today the grace of His Light, and to teach us to distinguish when the light is from Him, and when it is an artificial light, made by the enemy to deceive us.” 

The Pope added that the light of Jesus is knowledge that can lead to peace and tranquility, and that it can be reached by being meek and by looking on the Cross without fear.

EXCERPTS FROM POPE FRANCIS’ HOMILY 

(Source: Vatican Radio) 

“You can know everything, you can have knowledge of all things and this light on things. But the light of Jesus is something else. It is not a light of ignorance, no! It’s a light of wisdom and sagacity, but it is something other than the light of the world. The light that the world offers us is an artificial light, strong, perhaps – but that of Jesus is stronger, eh! – strong like a firework, like a flash of photography. Instead, the light of Jesus is a mild light, it is a quiet light, it is a light of peace, it’s like the light on Christmas night: without pretense.” 

“How many believe they are living in the light and they are in darkness, but they don’t realize it? What is the light like that Jesus offers us? The light of Jesus can be known because it is a humble light, it is not a light that imposes itself: it is humble. It’s a meek light, with the strength of meekness. It’s a light that speaks to the heart, and also a light that offers you the Cross. If we, in our inner light are meek, if we hear the voice of Jesus in the heart and look on the Cross without fear: that is the light of Jesus.” 

“Jesus doesn’t need an army to cast out the demons, He has no need of pride, no need of force, of arrogance. ‘What is there about His word? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.’ This is a humble word, meek, with so much love; it is a word that accompanies us in the moments of the Cross. Let us ask the Lord to give us today the grace of His Light, and to teach us to distinguish when the light is from Him, and when it is an artificial light, made by the enemy to deceive us.” 

detachment – the greatest challenge! (with humble apology to Br. Andre’)

A couple days ago I read the blog mentioned in this post’s title. . .what a wake up call for me!

Read this paragraph from Br. Andre’s Hearth:

” Jesus is not talking about having money or many possessions.  Jesus is talking about being attached to what we have:  money, power, positions, things, bad habits, grudges… the list is very long.  It is possible to have many things but be detached; it is possible to have very little and to be attached to it.  Jesus is talking about being so attached to the above that He is no longer first in our lives.  Jesus asks of us that He be first in our lives. That requires a letting go, a re-ordering of our priorities.  If we make Jesus first in our lives then our lives will change; we will be converted, and we will live according to His teachings.”

After reading this paragraph I recognized myself. . .I realized that I, too am attached to many things, actually I know I am attached to so many things.  I am attached to my husband in that I expect that he will know my every need, I am attached to my family – children and grandchildren, siblings and very close friends.  I want all of them to be happy because if they are suffering, I am suffering.  But I don’t know any other way to live.  I in all seriousness don’t think these are fatal attractions. . .just a bit too obsessive. . . 

It is so easy to just go along in life really not recognizing that the things I am attached to have such a hold on my life and have gotten in the way of other things.  Right now I am using one of the things I am attached to, my computer.  I spend way too much time with it.  I am attached to books, I love to read, but I spend too much time with them.  I love TV, but again, I spend too much time with it.

I am not spending enough time with God and Scripture, not spending enough time with people who need my help, my attention, my hands.  These are people beyond my family.

Right now, I will make a pledge to spend more time with God who gave me breath, with Jesus who died that I could be with Him eternally, with myself so I can quietly commune with the Spirit of my soul. . .Amen

I suggest that you visit my friend’s blog:  http://andreshearth.wordpress.com/?s=detachment

Sandy Ozanich (c) June 2013

 

Where Do You Put Your Pain Part II

Nearly 2 years ago I was hospitalized with pneumonia and the RSV virus in my lungs; my beautiful transplanted lungs.  I spent 10 days in the hospital and went home feeling much better.  A week later I found myself in the ER once again with extreme pain in my neck and my sciatica decided to come out and play.

The pain was incredible.  Sometimes the pain can get so bad that you really think you are going to lose your mind.  The Dr. in the ER told me that after looking at the x-rays I had degenerative disk disease, osteoarthritis and a  bone spur that was “gently” pressing on my spinal cord.  OK, whew!!!  Oh P-Shaw, is that all?

After a dose of dilaudid, valium, ibuprophen and a stay of about 2 hours, I was sent home with a referral to the Spine Clinic.  Had no pain I’ll tell ya, but I was living in some other world for awhile, quite happily I might add. . .

Went to the Spine Clinic and spoke with the “spine” Dr.  She confirmed my diagnosis and referred me to Physical Therapy.  I was sent home with the following drugs; between the ER Dr. and the Spine Dr. I was given Valium, Ativan and Klonopin, Flexeril, oh and Tylenol.  Well that’ll sure take care of things.  It certainly took care of things.  Instead of good pain relief I was sounding like a drug addict, slurring my speech and scaring my grown children.  They were so afraid for me as was my husband.

During one weekend I was in such pain and nothing that I did would ease it.  I tried the pills, I tried everything, but to no avail.  The pain was so intense, so relentless that I was at the point of wanting to just rip my hair out.  I was pleading with God to take it away.  I cried, I tossed, I turned and then I went to Gethsemane.

I went to Gethsemane and spent time with Jesus.  I watched him suffer and cry and beg his Father to take this cup away, but, not my will, Your will be done.  As I watched I realized in a  very personal way that what I suffered, Jesus suffered.  When I cried, Jesus cried.  When I begged, Jesus begged.  I asked the Father to take the pain away, but I also said, not my will,  but Your will be done.  I want you to take this pain and use it for whoever needs your mercy and love right now.  If I was meant to suffer this pain, I wanted it to not be in vain.  Pain and suffering can be redemptive, a very powerful thing.  When we join our pain with Christ’s suffering, we enter into a place of redemption.  We suffer for our own sins, a penance.  We also suffer for other souls.  Only Jesus knows who receives  these blessings, they are powerful blessings.

There is something else I learned; I learned that it was in the Garden of Gethsemane that Jesus made his decision.  He could have walked away from all of it and called on his Father in Heaven to send angels to rescue him.  But he said YES, just as his mother Mary did.  Mary said YES and brought us a boy child named Jesus.  Now, like his mother, Jesus said YES, yes, I will go forth in this Passion because I love all the people of this world, the world my Father created.

Just think if Mary had not said yes, we would not have Jesus.  If Jesus had not said yes, we as a people would be doomed.  He said he would go to the cross if there was only one person in need of salvation.

This is an unsettled world.  There is trouble all around, wars, earthquakes, terrible weather, etc.  As a people of God we must pray and we must pray harder than ever before.  Evil is rampant, make no mistake.  We must stand up and be counted as children of God.

Each and every day we are being asked to say Yes to God, to follow his path and live in His Word.  We must strengthen our spiritual life and reliance on God when the hard times come, and they are coming.

I like the expression or meaning of the letters FROG which means Forever Rely On God.  Let’s rely on God for our daily life so that we can be the hands of Jesus in our communities, the heart of Jesus for our family, friends and those who need the love of God, the eyes of Jesus to recognize one another as the “distressing disguise” of Jesus in our midst. (said by Mother Theresa of Calcutta)

Love is the answer.  It is the only answer.  Nothing worthwhile gets done without love.  The love of God comes to us through other people.  When we do something for someone, we are serving that person as God would serve that person.  When we accept help from someone else, we are saying Yes to God.  We are setting aside our pride to allow that person to help us when we really do need help.  Many times those who are caretakers or who just join in and help when they are needed have a hard time with someone else helping them when they need help.  That is true of me as well.  When I got sick I found it hard to let someone else do for me the things I couldn’t do at the time.  It’s a pride thing and I still have trouble with it, but each day I have to remind myself that God wants to help me, God wants me to be the best I can be in His eyes. Swallowing that pride releases you to receive so many blessings because it is God ministering to you through this person.  We are here to serve one another.

I believe that I was born a Passionist.  From the time I came to this world until this day I believe it with all my heart.  Of course I didn’t recognize it for what it was until I came to St. Paul of the Cross Monastery some 33 years ago.  I became friends with many of it’s congregation and the Passionist priests and brothers as well.  It was here that I learned about St. Paul of the Cross, founder of the Passionists.

The Passionists live by this maxim “May the Passion of Jesus Christ be ever in our hearts”.  We must always remember the Passion of Christ and live by this creed.

Life can deal some cruel blows, my life is no different.  In the time from First Grade to High School Graduation I attended over 20 schools.  My family just kept moving.  Usually it was to beat the rent that we couldn’t afford.  Every year, sometimes twice in a year I and my siblings were living in a new neighborhood, attending a new school.  It was so hard to be the “new kid” in the classroom.  It usually went like this, “Class, this is Sandy P_ _L, say hi to Sandy”.  I hated that!  I was always the new kid.  It’s hard to form lasting friendships when you are always moving.

My lasting friendship turned out to be God.  I found myself thinking about God a lot.  I don’t remember receiving any formal religious training, if I did, I surely don’t remember it.  I do remember one day I believe it was in the fall, near an apple tree that I was thinking about God and Catholics.  Why???  I have no good idea.  What I remember thinking was that I wanted to be a Catholic  because they get to go to confession to get their sins wiped away.  I also thought about wanting to be a nun.  Again, I don’t know where these thoughts came from, I just know that I thought about them.

Another time my sister R and I were walking along an alleyway, I’m not sure how old we were, but not that old, maybe pre-adolescent, but we found in the trash on the ground a Sacramentary.  It was just thrown out like garbage.  So, R and I took it home and started reading it and “saying” Mass in our bedroom, giving out little drinks of water and ripped up bread slices for communion.  We thought it was great.  I still would like to know who would throw out something so holy.

But, you know I’m not always that holy or at all.  I aspire to that degree, but fail so miserably.  I lived many years angry at God.  Not for my plight in this world, but for something the priests were doing in some parish, in this I do not remember what the beef was.  I spent 6 years of my life not going to church.  Finally after those years it “dawned” on me that it was not God I was angry with, it was the humans who run the church that had me angry.  Priests are humans too!  We all sin and fall short of the Glory of God.  So too do priests.  I pray for them because I believe that God holds his priests to a higher standard and they have much to live up to.  People look up to their priests for goodness, holiness and good counsel.  The problem is when I say people look “up” it means that we have put them on a pedestal where most of them don’t want to be.  I believe they want to be looked “to” for goodness, holiness and good counsel.  And beside that, this is their call, to be there for the rest of us as God’s representatives on earth.

I remember what one of our Passionist priests said many years ago.  His name is Fr. Dan Sullivan, C.P., who died in the year of 2011, but he said to a group of people, “Life and love are messy things”.  How right he was.  If everything in your life is going well and no obstacles rise to meet you then I wonder what kind of life you are living.  Which reminds me of another quote or saying from years ago, “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you”?  I have thought of that many times.

A Christian Catholic life is a road of twists and turns, straight paths and obstacles.  We must travel it all.

So, my original question was: “Where do you put your pain?”  I put mine at the foot of the Cross of Christ because only He knows what to do with it.

Sandy Ozanich © March 8, 2013