Fr. Todd Bulletin, August 2, 2020

Dear St. Mary’s on the Lake and Sacred Heart-

Amber Czeiszperger will be entering the postulancy on August 22nd.  We are going to have a send off party on Sunday, August 16th following the 11am Mass at Sacred Heart.  We plan on having ice cream available outside the church.  If you would like to give Amber a card you can give it to her that day or simply drop one off at the parish and we will make sure she receives it.  Let us keep her and our seminarians in prayer as they get ready for their studies this fall.

I want to continue the series on developing and living our spiritual plan that Craig Pohl shared on our recent staff retreat. That plan has four elements- prayer, community, study/catechesis, and apostolate.

This week I want to focus on the third part of that plan, study/catechesis.  A question we all need to ask ourselves from time to time is this: what is forming me?  Am I more formed by God and what He reveals or am I more formed by the world around me?  A regular manner of study guides us, helps us grow, and helps us understand what the world throws our way.  Regular study also helps us reach out to those around us when they have questions

Ongoing study/catechesis can take many forms.  The important thing is for us to build some time for studying into our schedule.  I know that can be challenging with the busyness of our lives so I want to mention a few options of things that can work with our schedules.

 

Short online Classeshttps://shortcourses.augustineinstitute.org/

– Three to four hours of high-quality video instruction

– Detailed companion presentation slides

– Reading assignments that are modest in length but generous in depth and beauty

– Quizzes

– Related resources: books, video, audio and more

 

Podcasts:

Word on Fire: https://www.wordonfireshow.com/podcast-archive/

Fr. Mike Schmitz: https://media.ascensionpress.com/category/ascension-podcasts/frmikepodcast/

Leah Darrow: A Catholic Women’s Podcast on a variety of topics.  https://leahdarrow.com/category/podcast/

 

Good Books:

Introduction to Catholicism Adults: https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Catholicism-James-Socias/dp/1936045885/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=introduction+to+catholicism+for+adults&qid=1595618147&sr=8-2

Any Biography or Auto-Biography of a life of a Saint.  Hearing about their stories always helps me see God’s hand more clearly in my own life and walk with Him.

 

With any of these steps you will be built up and you will be Blessed!

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, July 26, 2020

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,

It has been a joy to celebrate two baptisms over the last two weeks for our two members of RCIA: Ali Marry and Alissa Janik.  Typically, they would have been baptized at the Easter Vigil, but that of course was rearranged like everything else!  It is an inspiration watching them grow in their walk with the Lord.  It is a reminder for all of us that we are all meant to continue growing in our own relationship with God.   Please continue praying for them.

I want to continue the series on developing and living our spiritual plan that Craig Pohl shared on our recent staff retreat. That plan has four elements: prayer, community, study/catechesis, and apostolate.

This week I want to focus on the second part of that plan: community.  Christian community looks at those people we can really walk with in an intentional way.  For many of us, when we think of community, what comes most immediately to mind is our parish families. We are a community and we support each other.  This level of community is a critical piece of our Christian life, but the point Craig is making is that it shouldn’t be our only source of community.

The challenge is to find within that large community of faith a smaller group of people that we can walk with on a deeper level.  This is a group of people that we are close with, probably friends with, but also intentionally work with to help each other live better the spiritual life.  At times, we can be uncomfortable talking about our spiritual lives.  These groups are a context where we can begin to articulate what we see God doing, ways we are growing, or roadblocks we are encountering.  There are many forms these groups can take.  Here are a few examples:

Bible Study.  Obviously, this group is centered around studying Scripture together.  It is smaller, and within that setting people begin to share how what we are studying is touching one part of their life or another.

Focused small groups.  I think of my Mom, who has been part of a group for moms whose son (or sons) are in seminary.  They meet once a month to share their experiences, help each other with practical questions, and pray for each other and us.  A group like that can be formed around any specific situation—moms’ groups, dads’ groups, school parent group, etc. The key is that the group has a spiritual component when they meet together.

Accountability Group.  I am not sure what to call this kind of group, so I simply call it by the role it plays in my life.  This is a specific group that helps us make sure we are staying true to God and continuing to grow.  I meet with my four classmates once a month (when there isn’t a pandemic) to pray together and for each of us to share how things are going—both good and bad.  It is a real blessing to have a setting like that with brothers in the Lord who can help keep me on track.

These are just three examples out of many.  May they help us ponder that question from Craig: what is my Christian community?  Who are the people who I really can walk with?  Look for a community, but also don’t be afraid of starting one yourself—it can be the seeds of great growth not only for you, but for many others.

 

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, July 12, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Please pray for Amber Czeiszperger as she will be entering the the community or the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Euchraist.   This week I would like to share her story with you.

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

 

Hello! My name is Amber Czeiszperger and I am entering the community of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (DSMME) this August. I have been so blessed by God to receive the gift of a religious vocation. My vocation story is not one of great conversion, but of gradually hearing the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.

The seed of a religious vocation has been growing in my heart since my Baptism. I was interested in religious life in middle school at Sacred Heart. In seventh grade, although I was a year or two under the age requirement, I was able to go on a small diocesan Nun Run with other older women who were seriously discerning. I visited a few communities, including the one that I am entering now. At the time, I never could have thought that God would lead me back to this particular community.

As I began high school, I let religious life “sit on the back burner” because of all the career options I was being introduced to. Then, in the summer before my junior year, I attended a retreat that refocused my search for God’s Will in my life. After this retreat, I began to read and listen to talks about religious life. A friend of mine in the Upper Peninsula encouraged me and gave me resources as I sought for more knowledge. At the beginning of December that year, I had my first talk with Fr. Todd about my possible vocation. He gave me great encouragement and advice. He also recommended that I attend an upcoming vocational discernment retreat in April with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. It is amazing how everything happens in God’s perfect timing. To begin with, the retreat came after my all-school play, a large Key Club event, and an NHS trip to New York. I was exhausted and needed a time to slow down and have some silence. Secondly, by God’s grace, I was given the lead women’s role in our play. This boosted my self-confidence and my reliance on the Lord. It was a catalyst for a deeper relationship with Jesus and deeper relationships with those around me. I do not know if I would have had the courage to follow the Lord’s call without this opportunity.

The retreat was one of the most clarifying and peaceful experiences I have ever had. At the beginning of the retreat, we randomly chose Marian Litany titles and were told to ponder why we had received that specific title. I received “Mary, chosen Spouse of the Most Holy Trinity, pray for us.” As I reflected on what it could mean, I realized that God was asking me to, like Mary, be His Spouse. The best part of the retreat, though, was the all-night Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In the silence of that night with Jesus, I was more peaceful and surer that God was calling me to be a religious Sister at that community than I ever was before. At the very end of the retreat, I was blessed to speak to Sr. Joseph Andrew, the vocations directress, about where I was at in my discernment.

During the next months, I dove into a deeper prayer life and attended Daily Mass and Adoration as much as I could. As I grew in knowledge of God and myself, my belief that I was being called to religious life (and possibly the DSMME) persisted, though I was still unsure when the right time was.

Then, in September of my senior year, I went on another Nun Run that our diocese put on. We visited several communities in Chicago. It was beautiful to see the different missions that each community had and all the women answering God’s call to be Brides of Christ. I had felt that God was calling me to the DSMME, but seeing all the other communities made me unsure. For a while I struggled with doubt and confusion. Part of the difficulty came from my Cross Country season. I was not running the times I wanted at the races and I was no longer at the head of my team. Looking back now, I am so thankful for how my season went. It made me realize that I could be a joyful leader without having to be the best. I discovered more deeply my passion for encouraging, even when I need encouragement. God was already preparing me for entering a community of Sisters. Although I did not get the times that I wanted, it was still the best year of Cross Country I have ever had. I was surrounded by a wonderful team that taught me how to receive love even when I felt unworthy of it.

Then, I attended the November vocational discernment retreat and again was filled with peace and joy: the joy that shone on the faces of all the Sisters that I saw. I realized that I longed so earnestly for that same joy. I talked to Sr. Joseph Andrew and she gave me application papers to enter the community! My best friend was there; she encouraged me, sharing in my joy. I was so filled with love, hope, and peace. After turning the papers in, I experienced all the joys and doubts of a person waiting for acceptance, uncertain that it was the right time. Then, in January, I was accepted for Pre-Postulancy in the summer.

This was a huge first step, but it did not yet mean that I would be entering in August. I then had to continue to prepare for the possibility of college if the Sisters judged that I needed a year away from my family before I would be ready to enter. Then in mid-March, school was cancelled, and we were given a Stay at Home order. Although I was sad about everything we were missing at school, I look back and see March, April, and May as blessings in disguise. I was not busy with school, sports, and events. I was able to focus so much more on my relationship with Jesus and grow immensely.

Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus, we were unable to attend a traditional Pre-Postulancy at the Motherhouse.  Even so, God poured out His blessings on our group as we listened to Sr. Joseph Andrew through Zoom meetings. At our last meeting, Sr. Joseph Andrew announced the 2020-2021 Postulants, and I was accepted! Again, the Lord filled my heart with peace: peace in the knowledge that I was going to be where I could best come to know, love, and serve Him. I cannot wait for the adventure that God has planned for me with the Sisters!

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, June 28, 2020

Dear St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart,

This weekend I am with my brother, Fr. Gary, as he moves into St. Joseph Parish in Howell, MI.  It is a very exciting time—albeit a bit strange since it is happening in the midst of an international pandemic!

Last week, we heard Jesus remind us that we do not need to be afraid.  Such timely words when so much is uncertain.  Here are twenty verses where God seeks to reassure us of His presence and love.  Let these be a source of light even in the darkest of times.

  1. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3
  2. “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27
  3. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7
  4. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
  5. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
  6. “Immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.'” Mark 6:50
  7. “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
  8. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
  9. “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” Psalm 34:7
  10. “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25
  11. “Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” Deuteronomy 3:22
  12. “Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.'” Mark 5:36
  13. “The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17
  14. “Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.'” Revelation 1:17
  15. “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22
  16. “Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time.  Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
  17. “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:19
  18. “But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
  19. “Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue…” Isaiah 35:4
  20. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

 

God Bless,

Fr Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, June 14, 2020

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s on the Lake,

Praise God for these beautiful summer days!  This past Monday, I was home for the day off and was able to help get the last of the corn planted. It was thoroughly enjoyable.  Now the rest is up to providence.  In the end, we all need to place our hearts in the hands of God.

This coming week we celebrate our Parish Feast Day for Sacred Heart.  I want to include here part of an article describing the history of this revelation of Jesus’ Sacred Heart:

https://www.simplycatholic.com/why-the-sacred-heart/

“Jesus revealed to the saint [St. Margaret Mary] His heart, burning with love for humanity. Pierced and crucified — offering salvation and mercy — Jesus’ heart longs for us to offer our love and devotion in return. If some distorted forms of spirituality focused only on God’s punishment, the Sacred Heart emphasized mercy. If many believers inordinately feared God, here divine love and joy were manifest. If Jesus had seemed distant and unapproachable before, the Sacred Heart beckons us to enter into the divine furnace of charity.

St. Margaret Mary described her experience of the Lord: “My divine Heart is so passionately fond of the human race and of you, in particular, that it cannot keep back the pent-up flames of its burning charity any longer. They must burst out through you and reveal my Heart to the world, so as to enrich mankind with my treasures.” Following this revelation, Jesus united her heart with His in a fusion of mystical love and joy.

As St. John reminds us, God is love (see 1 Jn 4), the One who empties himself out for others, desiring our eternal salvation, seeking out the lost and carrying the wandering sheep home. The whole Christ event is a mission of mercy, as the Son, in radical obedience to the Father, becomes incarnate in our flesh — preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, healing the sick, forgiving the sinner, feeding the hungry and, ultimately, offering His life on the cross. Every word, action, gesture and attitude of Jesus manifests a perfect, pure and selfless love for each human person. If love means willing the good of the other, completely free of self-interest, we see the perfection of such charity in the burning heart of Christ.

Lest we think that such a love is naive, simplistic or easy, the Sacred Heart shines forth, crowned with thorns, pierced and bleeding. The crucifixion of Christ is the terrifying path through the valley of darkness and evil which God himself walks, embracing everything sinful, broken and dead that ensnares and destroys us. By remaining silent before His persecutors, praying for His killers, loving a dying thief and asking forgiveness for sinners, Jesus shows that the unconditional, infinite and divine love of His heart is the only force that can heal the world of its hatred, sin and rejection of God. By taking upon himself the totality of human evil committed by every person of every time, Christ refracts this overwhelming darkness into the light of the Resurrection.”

Let us run to the Lord’s Heart burning with love for us!  Let us place there our loved ones, our families, our world.  This is the life and mission of our Church.

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, May 31, 2020

Dear St. Mary’s on the Lake and Sacred Heart,

It is great to offer a partial welcome back!  Something is better than nothing, so even though we have restrictions for resuming Mass, I am glad we can at least start.  For those who cannot or don’t feel comfortable yet returning to Mass, please know of our continued prayers for you.  We will continue recording Masses for those who can’t be with us in person.

I want to offer congratulations to Deacon John on the 9th anniversary of his ordination on this past May 21st.  I am very grateful for all he does for both of our parishes.  I am especially grateful for his help in applying for the payment protection program through the Cares act in the midst of this pandemic shutdown.  He navigated through many, many emails of requirements and helped us make sure we had all of the proper paperwork in place.  His training in the nuclear power industry making sure power plants didn’t have a meltdown equipped him well for handling the first international pandemic in 100 years!  He has been a blessing in this time of great uncertainty.  Thank you, Deacon John, for your ministry both temporal and spiritual!

This weekend we celebrate Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Apostles and disciples gathered in the upper room.  This is the birthday of the Church.  What we all need to realize is that the Holy Spirit longs to work in us and through us.  God desires to work through us just as He worked in the lives of the Apostles.  Never close yourself off from what God can do!

There is an article talking about 10 ways to be open to the Holy Spirit: https://catholicexchange.com/10-ways-open-holy-spirit.  I want to highlight three things it suggests:

 

Acts of the Apostles

Read the book from the Bible, “The Acts of the Apostles.” Written by the Evangelist Saint Luke, this book clearly shows the powerful working of the Holy Spirit in the Apostles—especially Saint Peter and Saint Paul—as well as the formation of the primitive Church. As you read, be keenly attentive to the presence and workings of the Holy Spirit and beg Him to work powerfully in your own personal life! “Come Holy Spirit come….”

 

Loneliness? Problems?

If you experience loneliness and are weighed down by many problems, then never forget to enter into the depths of your soul and speak to the Holy Spirit whose name is “Sweet Guest of the soul.”  You will recognize that you are really not alone and that your problems and crosses are not as heavy as you think. Rather, the Holy Spirit can help you to resolve your problems, or at least help you to cope with them.

 

Docility

Silence is a prerequisite to move on to the next step—docility to the Holy Spirit.  A person who is living in the state of grace, honestly pursuing a life of holiness and seeking perfection will be exposed to heavenly inspirations that come from the Holy Spirit. The key is an ability to listen to these gentle but insistent inspirations, discern them coming from God, and then the most difficult is to follow and obey these inspirations.

 

The Holy Spirit is, so to speak, a “Gentleman” and will never force Himself upon anybody. Rather, He waits patiently for us to respond and then He can work very powerfully only if we are silent, humble and obedient.

 

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, May 24, 2020

 

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s on the Lake,

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day, a weekend to remember all those who have died serving in the armed forces. I know many events that would usually happen are canceled.  Events or not, may we pray for those who have died.  I have included a beautiful prayer written by Tony Rossi:

https://aleteia.org/2018/05/25/a-prayer-for-memorial-day/

 

Heavenly Father,

Today we honor those who gave their life for their country on foreign battlefields and here at home. Though they would have preferred peace to war, they responded to the call to serve and made the ultimate sacrifice defending the ideals in which they believed, defending their brothers-and-sisters-in arms, and defending innocents from violence. May their courage be honored and remembered; may their example influence current and future generations; may their legacy be one of love and sacrifice; and may their souls be embraced by You.

We also remember those service members whose invisible wounds led them to take their own lives. Their minds, hearts, and spirits were in turmoil due to the violence they had experienced, and they thought there was no other way to end their pain. We pray that You welcome these men and women into Your loving and merciful heart. We also pray that those enduring these struggles right now realize that suicide is not the answer. May they find the hope they are looking for because there are good people out there who are willing and able to help them.

We pray also for those designated POW/MIA. Their families have no closure. They don’t know if their loved ones are alive or dead. Bring them the answers they seek and, if possible, bring the missing home.

Finally, comfort the families of all the men and women who have been lost to war and terrorism. To them, the deceased are not just military personnel, but rather father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, friend. Help these families remember the good times and look forward to being reunited with their loved ones in Your heavenly kingdom some day where there will be no more mourning.

We ask this in Your loving name, Father.  Amen.

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, May 17, 2020

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s on the Lake,

Here is a question I have had rolling around my head: Is Jesus Lord of all my days—both good and bad?

During these days of the Easter Season, we are reading the Acts of the Apostles.  We see the Apostles and the Church being led and growing through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  That process of growing was a tumultuous roller coaster ride. Through it all, we see the Apostles and St. Paul leaning into the grace of God for direction and guidance.  Among other things, they show us how to stay faithful even during suffering and apparent failure.  Doing so, they see God reach in and bring good out of what looks like failure.  For them, Jesus was the Lord of all of their days—both the good days and the bad ones.

Case in point was this reading we heard on Tuesday, May 12th from the ministry of Paul:

In those days, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium
arrived and won over the crowds.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead.
But when the disciples gathered around him,
he got up and entered the city.
On the following day he left with Barnabas for Derbe. (Acts 14:19-20)

 

This event with Paul is the epitome of a bad day, a bad day that Paul was blessed to survive at all.  In the midst of what was a really bad day, Jesus was still Lord.  What is most surprising is Paul’s reaction when waking up from his near death.  It wasn’t to bemoan his fate.  It wasn’t to throw in the towel on ministry because of the recent evidence he wasn’t being successful.  It wasn’t to shake his fist at God for abandoning him and turn away from the faith because he endured unjust suffering.  Those reactions make sense and will often cross our minds when we experience a bad day.

Rather, Paul’s reaction was to get back up and go right back into the very town he had just been dragged from. God still had work to do, and he was going to finish it.  The question that drove Paul no matter the circumstance was: “Jesus, what do you have for me now?”  Jesus was Lord of all his days, both the good ones and the bad ones. It was this position of trust that enabled Paul to tell the Philippians from a jail cell: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!  Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near.  Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.  Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:4-7)

No matter the kind of day we are having, remember Jesus is Lord.  I know these are frustrating days, a time to grow in and practice patience whether we like it or not as we continue wading through the coronavirus crisis.  In the midst of it, may we more intentionally lean into Jesus.  May we always be willing to ask: “Jesus, what do you have for me now?”

 

God Bless!

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, May 10, 2020

Dear St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart,

Happy and Blessed Mother’s Day to all of our Moms this weekend!

A couple of weeks ago, I had another coronavirus-induced first: a classroom visit with our students at Sacred Heart via Zoom.  It was a great time of barely controlled chaos!  The theme I talked about with them was how May is a month dedicated to Mother Mary.

This month, when we see the world brimming with new life, we remember in a particular way Mary’s “Yes” that brought Jesus into the world.  This “yes” changed not only her life but also the whole world.  Her example is preeminent for us in showing us the openness we all strive for in our spiritual lives in being open to God.  Mary is above all the model disciple, showing us what it looks like to follow Jesus and let our lives be shaped by God’s will.

The shape that Mary’s discipleship took was the very thing our country celebrates today: motherhood.  Being a Mom shaped her life and also her eternity.  At the foot of the cross, Jesus entrusted the whole Church to her care when He told the disciple John: “Behold your mother!” Since then, Mary has topped the prayer chain of Christians as we ask for her care and intercession for us.

In 2010, there was a book that landed on the New York Times bestseller list called Heaven is for Real.  It is the real-life story of a little boy, Colton, who had a near-death experience during which he went to Heaven.  It is a powerful story and well worth the read.  I love a little snippet from the end of the book where Colton’s parents answer some follow-up questions people have asked:

“A lot of our Catholic friends have asked whether Colton saw Mary, the mother of Jesus.  The answer to that is also yes.  He saw Mary kneeling before the throne of God and at other times, standing beside Jesus.  ‘She still loves him like a mom,’ Colton said.”

That is an image of Mary’s eternity, Mary’s heaven.  There, kneeling before the throne of God or standing before Jesus, she loves Him and loves us like a Mom.

Today we want to take time to thank God for our own Moms who have also said yes and let their lives be shaped by that yes.  To thank God for all the many sacrifices we too often took/take for granted.  And hopefully, if your Mom is still living and you are able to see her, you can tell her thank you in person!

 

An Irish Blessing

There is but one and only one,
Whose love will fail you never.
One who lives from sun to sun,
With constant fond endeavor.

There is but one and only one
On earth there is no other.
In heaven a noble work was done
When God gave us a Mother.

– Author Unknown

 

God Bless,

Fr. Todd

 

Fr. Todd Bulletin, May 3, 2020

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s on the Lake,

I hope you are all doing well!  I think I say this every week, but it is hard not being able to see everyone.  With the loosened restrictions, I have been able to go back to my parents’ place for my day off again. We had a belated Easter celebration since I wasn’t able to come home for Easter.  I was there to help finish tearing off and re-shingling the house.  It felt really good to get some work in with my family on a couple of beautiful days.

Despite the continuing lockdown, it is so refreshing to see the world around us coming to life.  Spring is a sign of the providence of God: just as the world is sustained and cared for by God, so are our lives.  Here are a few of my favorite verses from Psalm 65 that meditate on His loving care.

You visit the earth, give it water;

you fill it with riches.

Your river in Heaven brims over

to prepare the grain.

And thus, you provide for the earth:

you drench its furrows;

you level it, soften it with showers;

you bless its growth.

You crown the year with your bounty.

Abundance flows in your pathways;

in pastures of the desert it flows.

The hills are girded with joy,

the meadows clothed with flocks.

The valleys are decked with wheat.

They shout for joy; yes, they sing!  (Psalm 65:10-14)

 

I love the imagery of this psalm and the memories I have connected to those spring and summer rains falling on a newly planted crop and then seeing them begin to grow.  Truly, it is an experience of seeing God’s river in Heaven brimming over and caring for the earth.  During this spring, take some time to marvel at the goodness of God taking shape all around us.

This helps us realize that He cares for the earth, but even more that He cares for each one of us.   Jesus put it this way: “Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?  Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.  Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.  Do not be afraid.  You are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7)

This springtime, may we realize God’s great care and interest in each one of us.  The question for springtime is to ask the Lord what He wants to nurture and grow in us.  Spring is a time for planting gardens.  (As you read this, there are cups of dirt all over the rectory in which Dan LaCroix is sprouting Basil to plant later this spring.)  The garden God is most interested in planting and caring for is us, our hearts and lives.  What is the seed that God wants to see grow in you?  These days, realize you are loved and cared for!  Be open to what God wants to see grow in you!

God Bless,

Fr. Todd