I have a lot to be thankful for and I just want to share some of that with you today.
First, my youngest daughter turned 17 yesterday. Most of her siblings and a few of her friends came over to the house yesterday and we celebrated with her. Teresa is a beautiful girl with many talents and it’s hard to believe my baby is going into her Senior year of high school. God bless you Teresa – my eight wonder of the world.
Second, we celebrate another Feast Day today which means I don’t have to abstain from meat again today. I think I’ll have to fire up the BBQ pit and do some brats and dogs. Today is the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle – who should be the patron saint of Missouri – the Show Me state. Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” But because of his doubt and then his full conversion into believing, we have been giving what I consider the greatest blessing from Jesus…we can be call Blessed. Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” from the Gospel of John 20:24
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. That’s you; that’s me; that’s all of us who haven’t seen Christ, who haven’t touched His hands or put our hand in His side but still believe; we still go to Mass and profess Him as our Savior. Thank you Thomas for your conversion, for your faithfulness to Christ and for allowing me to have a bratwurst for lunch today.
I’m gonna take a little side track right now. St. Thomas the Apostle gives me some fond memories growing up in St. Louis. Who doesn’t remember the Red and White striped jersey’s their soccer team wore? Or their great soccer tournament they hosted every year. Thinking back, the way I got to know most of the patron saints growing up was from playing in their soccer tournaments… St. Blaise (probably the best run tournament in my estimation. OK, that is a biased opinion seeing that was my home parish); St. Sabina and St. Francis of Assisi ran a close second with theirs; St. Angela Merici, CSMAC (Corondelet Sunday Morning Athletic Club – they weren’t Catholic but most of the teams playing in it were and I still have my 2nd place trophy our team won in the tournament. I also made their all-star game that year we took 2nd.) St. Ann – who were are sworn enemy had a fun tournament but a horrible soccer field with a HUGE sewer lid that was in play on the field. And of course, our soccer nemesis St. Charles Borromeo who we seemed to face every year in the District finals and lost to them every year but one. Again, I digress.
Third, through all this tumult and stress going on at the statue of St. Louis, if I’m going to try and see the positive in all of this, my fellow Catholics have bonded with each other and have started meeting at the statue every evening at 6:30 PM to pray the rosary together. I haven’t been down there with them – YET – but my son Tony has along with his cousin Fr. Schumacher (aka Stephen). I will continue to pray for a peaceful resolution to all of the craziness going on not just in St. Louis and the States, but all over the world. As I’ve said so many times in this blog, the only way to combat hate is with love. Fighting hate and anger with hate and anger only causes divisions to widen and breeds more violence. We, especially Christians who profess the Catholic faith, must always use the example that Christ set before us…show those wanting to persecute you the same love as those wanting to hug you. This is a fight we must face and it doesn’t take courage to “fight” back in anger and hate because that is the work of Satan. True courage comes from our faith in God and that means to love all in all circumstances. I have seen that example of courage at the St. Louis statue and I hope I can see that courage around the world.
Fourth, this will be my last post for the next week or so. My wife and I are going on a vacation and although I’ll have a phone with me, I will not be bringing a computer with me for the first time in many years. It is my intention to “unplug” from the tech world and plug into the beach world. Pray that Sarah and I are able to unwind and recharge the batteries. Pray for us as I will offer a prayer for all of you in my daily rosary.
Do something great for our Lord today – pray often and without having seen Him, believe. Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. Have a safe and blessed 4th of July. I do want to share with you the Psalm for today; although it is short, it is very meaningful and great way to start this holiday weekend…
Responsorial Psalm 117:1BC, 2
R. (Mark 16:15) Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
For steadfast is his kindness for us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
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.