It's All About How You Finish

10-31-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

Let me give you some simple thoughts to reflect upon on "All Souls Day."

Early in his career, someone said that Vince Lombardi, the Hall of Fame Football Coach of the Green Bay Packers, knew very little about the game of Football.

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The Heart of the Gospel

10-31-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

Centuries of God’s devoted people have found this prayer on their lips: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!” The fundamental prayer has been laid as the cornerstone of many spiritual lives. Where did you learn how to pray or did you? Maybe there is a wisdom figure in your life who inspired and guided you by the genuine, holy simplicity of their lives. His or her example may have led you to God and taught you how to pray. Or perhaps you discovered this art on your own after stumbling over yourself enough times and finally realizing it was time to reach out to Someone greater than yourself. There is a timeless truth that we not only tend to forget, but may have never learned. There is only one God, the Lord alone! As a result, we often worship other gods rather than the One true God. Everything in our life gets distorted and we find ourselves lost and off center.

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What God Wants Most is our Heart

10-31-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

“And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is with more than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:33)

Of all the gifts that Gods us, the one He wants the most is our heart. He wants us to share out of our love for Him, not out of obligation. Using our talent in parish ministry and contributing money to support our parish mission is important, but it’s more important to spend me in prayer with God daily and discern how He is calling us to be generous with all of our gifts. Not just the visible ones, but the invisible ones like love, mercy and forgiveness.

God's Mercy is Always Available

10-24-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

When we see God with true sincerity of heart and God passes us along our way, it is only then that we will be able to cry out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me!” We have to truly want to be healed by, and in union with, God in order for us to reach out to him. If God is only an abstract idea, theory, or someone found in the pages of a book, there is no motivation for a relationship and no desire to seek him. God needs to be real in order for faith to be real. It’s all about the journey.

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Only God is at the "top."

10-24-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

Some years ago, a Tennis Star was at the very top of the tennis world yet he was on the brink of suicide. He said, "I had won Wimbledon twice before, once as the youngest player.

I was rich. I had all the material possessions I needed ... It's the old song of movie stars and pop stars who commit suicide. They have everything, and yet they are so unhappy. I had no inner peace. I was a puppet on a string."

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Focus on Your Blessings

10-24-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

“And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.’ And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way” (Mark 10:52)

Faith is believing in something even though you may not be able to physically see it. Many people think that miracles don’t happen anymore. This is hard, but try to focus on the positive and not the negative things in your life. When you focus on your blessings instead of your hardships, miracles will seem common. You will see God’s active presence in your daily life. You will begin to develop an attitude of gratitude.

God's Definition of Success

10-17-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

"What do you wish me to do for you?” Whether we realize it, this is a question God is always asking. It’s an important question because the answer we provide will reveal a great deal about where our hearts lie. Our requests of God can often appear very noble and altruistic. They consist of requests for healing for someone in need of prayers, successful resolution of a personal conflict, assistance in overcoming a disease and myriad other desires for both ourselves and others. We are especially concerned about those we love and can easily find ourselves bringing their struggles to God for a hearing in our prayer.

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Do you reflect God's love and mercy?

10-17-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

“For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

If you held a mirror up to your life, would it reflect God’s love and mercy? If you are struggling with this, try changing your attitude from “I want more” to "thank you God for everything you have given me, I have enough to share.” This change in perspective will bring you joy through service to others. Pray daily to become less self-centered and to become more God-centered.

How Young People Learn

10-17-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

“Teaching is the inculcation of the incomprehensible into the minds of the ignorant by the means of the incompetent...is the transfer of material from the teacher's notes to the student's notebook, without it going through either's minds.” (Pope John Paul I)

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How are you using your time?

10-10-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

How would you like to spend 2 years making phone calls to people who aren't home? Sound absurd? According to one time management study, that's how much time the average person spends trying to return calls to people who never seem to be in. Not only that, we spend 6 months waiting for the traffic light to turn green, and another 8 months reading junk mail. These unusual statistics should cause us to do time use evaluation. Once we recognize that simple "life maintenance" can chip away at our time in such huge blocks, we will see how vital it is that we don't busy ourselves "in vain" (Ps 39:6).

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Invest Yourself in the Kingdom of God

10-10-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

If we are truly in love with God, then the basics are not going to be enough. That love is going to want to be expressed in going above and beyond, in leaving the comfortable and familiar, in stretching and growing, and in following a voice other than our own. St. Teresa of Calcutta rightly instructs us that for “love to be real, it must cost, it must hurt, it must empty us of self.” Being in love with God requires more than just checking the boxes of the commandments. It requires a sincere and unconditional self-investment. Desiring God with our whole heart, mind, and soul means that I must also desire a relationship with my neighbor with that same degree of fervor.

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Be Generous with All Your Gifts

10-10-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” – Mark 10:25

Jesus uses tough language that we may not want to hear. But, we are all called to be generous with all of our gifts. Not just the ones we pick and choose, but all our gifts, and especially the one that means the most to us! That includes our time in prayer to God, our talent in participating in parish ministries and our treasure supporting our local parish and other charities.

Continued Stewardship

10-03-2021Everyday Stewardship - Recognize God in Your Ordinary Moments

“So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.” (Genesis 2:19)

The creation story reminds us of two important points. First, since the start, God has put the entire world into our care. Second, stewardship has been around since the beginning of mankind, it isn’t something recently invented by the Church. Just as past generations built our Church, it is now our responsibility to continue to nurture and develop gifts for future generations.

Jesus Cried for Me

10-03-2021The Pastor's PenFr. Matthew R. Paratore, S.T.L., J.C.L.

Dear Friend,

Yvette, who is a young mother in Washington, D.C., recently told me her remarkable story, she wrote:

"It was the end. I knew it. I could no longer fight. I sat here emotionless. I was totally alone. Others had tried to help doctors, nurses, parents, husband, children. But they were gone. Hours earlier I had come into the hospital on an emergency basis. I had back pain so severe that at times, it dropped me to my knees. This was not my first hospital stay. I had been sick for a long time it seemed...

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Love...Works in Progress

10-03-2021Gospel Meditation© LPi

Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, “It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God.” Apart from the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, nothing speaks better of God’s incarnate love than marriage. God designed it this way. We place great value on love and rightly so. What we fail to realize, however, is that love, its very presence and place in our lives, is not simply part of the human package deal. Love comes from God. It is one of God’s greatest gifts to human beings. When we begin to realize that our very ability to love is sacred, it changes up how we see the essence of life, and purpose and sanctity of marriage.

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Living on Love by Fr. Didier Marie Golay

10-01-2021Recommended Reading

Thérèse of Lisieux is one of the most popular modern saints in the world, but the details of her life and spirituality are still not widely known and are somewhat of a mystery even to her devoted followers.

With over 150 stunning photographs, in depth text, and plentiful sidebars on history, geography, and themes, this gorgeous work helps us enter into the universe of "the greatest saint of modern times" to discover the simplicity, yet depth of her daily life and of her relationships, both human and spiritual.

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