And you taught your people, by these deeds, that those who are just must be kind; and you gave your children good ground for hope that you would permit repentance for their sins.

My stomach is growling.  I jumped ahead to get a start on the readings for tomorrow and again, my high school philosophy kicked into high gear.  I know St. Joseph was a carpenter by trade and tutored Jesus in the trade but after reading the Gospel I’m wondering if Jesus took a side job working in a Jewish deli as a teenager.  Wheat, mustard (seeds) and yeast sounds like the making of a good pastrami sandwich to me!

As I’ve stated many times in the blog, the purpose of doing this was to try and inspire the men of St. Mary Magdalen to dive deeper into their faith, to become true men of the Gospel; true followers of our Savior.  I must admit, this post has helped me do that and was so evident last week.  Last week was challenging and drove me to my knees praying fervently to God for assistance. Car accident, law suit, depression,  cancer, Covid 19, lay offs…and that is just to name a few things.  Add to that the stress of the world and the knee’s are getting callused – as they should be.  To paraphrase from Job – God gives and God takes away – BLESSED BE THE LORD.  It is not always ours to understand all that happens to us, but whether it be good now, bad now, boring now, exciting now it should all result in the same thing – thankfulness to our loving God for all that He gives us.  I remain strong in my faith and resolve because my knee’s are callused. I have learned to look to God not just for answers but for guidance when I don’t have an answer; for strength to wake up each morning and face those challenges; to thank Him at the end of the day for helping me get through them.  It has taken me years to get this stage in my life where I am confident in my trust in the Lord; in my confidence that God will guide me through all the stress and turmoil that each day so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and have the courage to walk to that light – the light of Christ Himself.

All of that to bring me to this reflection that was inspired from a message I heard on EWTN yesterday.  Fr. Larry Richard (who by the way is coming to St. Mary Magdalen this Fall for a parish renewal) talked about the need for discipline in our spiritual life.  Using men and sports as his example, he how questioned how many of us play sports, and not just play, but want to be good?  What does it take to achieve that goal?  Hard work, practice, discipline.  What if we were to take that same effort, that same discipline and apply it to our prayer life?  What if we were as dedicated to the Church and God’s mission as we were to our tee times?  In the end, what will have the greater reward…a 4 handicap or the reward of eternal life?  Prayer takes discipline; faith takes discipline and it can’t be something we do for 45 minutes on a Saturday or Sunday for Mass (whichever time best fits around our tee time).  Faith requires daily practices.  Rosaries, Chaplets of Divine Mercy, Holy Hours, Stations of the Cross, Novena’s, Daily Mass (which can be done on YouTube while sitting at your desk), Reading. Yes, this all takes time out of a busy schedule I’m sure, but I can GUARANTEE that you’ll be happy with the results.  It was that very discipline that got me through a very challenging week.  It will be that discipline that gets me to an eternal life where there will be no stress, no wailing and grinding of teeth; an eternal life where I can sing the praises of God with all the angels and saints in a never ending hymn.

Do something great for our Lord today – get down on your knees and start building those calluses.  Learn the discipline of daily prayer; be that example of a God fearing man to your family.  Prayer is a powerful thing but just like a 4 handicap, it takes time to develop that talent.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments, we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will which is love and mercy itself.

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