Category Archives: Deacon Ray

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And I Will Give You Rest

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Jesus makes a promise to us in the passage from Mathew’s Gospel today.  Doesn’t this sound inviting to you? Which one of us doesn’t need rest? We live in a world consumed with busyness, one where we are asked to give more of ourselves to make a living, often requiring both spouses to work in order to support their families. In cases where one income would suffice a spouse still often works outside of the home because that has become the norm. Add to this the other responsibilities such as training children in the faith, teaching them the virtues and sharing time in family love. Then comes all the extras we place upon ourselves and our families; sports, music, recreation, travel, entertainment. While none of these are bad, we should take a step back and look at our lives, reflecting on what is truly the most important thing?

I say this because all too often we see this busyness overtaking lives and the outcome is typically tragic. Families torn apart from the stress of life, the burden too much to bear and everything comes crashing down. The family structure destroyed in pursuit of a “better life.” It is painful to hear of these tragedies and the aftermath; children fearful of what will happen to them, mothers struggling to feed and house their children, fathers who are angry and resentful.

It doesn’t have to be like this. This is not what God desires, and that is where taking that step back and reflecting should involve God. Reflect on the passage I quoted; how do we “come” to Jesus? Prayer and the sacraments! That is how we encounter Jesus. These are the steps needed to appraise your life with God as the center. Make the concerted effort to build into your schedule time for prayer every day. This will take work and will involve others. In order to take time for prayer something else will have to be cut out of your schedule. Mentally run through your average day and prioritize what is the most important thing. Use this as your basis; God, family, job, other things. Then cut out the item on the bottom of this list, be it TV, internet, sports or whatever it is. Now fill that free time with some time talking with God. Just tell Him what’s happening in your life, the struggles and the joy. Tell Him your hopes and dreams. Tell Him you are thankful for the countless blessings. Tell Him you love Him and want to be in union with Him. Ask Him how you can better do His Will? And now you have found rest.

Deacon Ray


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The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

We celebrate The Most Holy Trinity today. This solemnity reminds us of the triune nature of God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are reminded of this every time we enter the church and bless ourselves with holy water. Our priest also gathers us together in the words of the second reading today from 2 Corinthians; “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”

The beauty of the Trinity is the perfect union, communion with each of the persons. This great mystery is one of the foundations of our faith belief and what we are called to imitate. Each of us gathers together at Mass to come into union with God and each of our brothers and sisters in Christ. As indicated we gather in God’s presence recalling first this belief we share; one God, three persons. Each of us is asked to model our lives on this perfect union, not only while we are at Mass, but taking this sacred action out into the world; to our families, our schools, our workplace, in all our interactions.

This is not an easy task. We all know how hard it is to imitate perfection. We fail because we are not perfect like God, however, God desires us to keep trying, to keep perfecting our lives in an effort to be like Him. I believe God knows our hearts, He knows when we try but fail, He knows when we come to a realization of our failures and feel sorrow for them. It is at these times He sends His grace to lift us up once again, giving us His Holy Spirit to empower our very being with the seven gifts. Gifts meant to assist us, strengthen us, inspire us even when we know we have failed to imitate Him.

The community of our Church is a beautiful thing. Oh, we certainly have our warts; just listen to the media and they will tell you all the errors of our ways. Yet, in spite of all these problems we share something otherworldly; the One True God. We share His presence in our sacraments and within each of the baptized. Our job is to recognize God’s presence within our fellow man. We do this when we respectfully engage in conversation when we help them with whatever troubles them when we pray with and for them.

This week take a minute to think of the perfect Trinity of God and ask yourself; “how can I better imitate this perfect community?” Work on one action that will make you more like our perfect God. Deacon Ray

Deacon Ray


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Imitate Jesus

The reading from Revelation today speaks of a “new heaven and a new earth”. My Bible cautions readers that this book uses “extravagant symbolism”. The introduction to this last book of the Bible goes on to say that symbolic descriptions  are not to be taken literally. So what can we take away from this reading? How should we interpret this? I believe we should focus on how we, as followers of Jesus Christ can change and shape the present world to be more Christlike. How we can be the hands and feet of Jesus helping to bring about the new heaven and new earth. When we live holy lives, dedicated to God, loving one another as Jesus commands in today’s Gospel, we can change the world! People who live differently than the norm get noticed! Those filled with God’s great unconditional love have an inner peace and joy; they have a glow about them. This is noticed and sought by others because they want this for themselves. We can light a fire of love in those around us by simply sharing God’s love with others. When we set out to imitate Jesus, empowered by His Holy Spirit, we become Christlike. We help in our own small way to bring about a new heaven and a new earth. “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race,” we also hear in Revelation . How blessed we are that God humbles Himself to dwell with. He is present to us in a special way in the sacraments. He showers us with His Divine Life; the grace so abundant in these encounters with the Living God. He is present in the tabernacle and in the monstrance where we can dwell with Him in adoration. He is present in each one of us. Through Baptism, He made us daughters and sons, and we carry forth His presence in the world. We have the power to change the world! Go forth, the Mass is ended! That is our call to spread the joy.

Go change the world!

Deacon Ray


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The Lenten Journey

We have entered once again into our Lenten journey. These forty days are meant to help us step back from our busy lives and reflect upon our relationship with God; where am I in union with God, where do I need to improve. Those of us who have been through a few Lenten seasons may occasionally grow weary of this season but it should be a joyful time because we are seeking the Lord more fully. The young among us may wonder what this time in the Church is all about.       Baptism is the overarching theme of Lent. Why? Because baptism cleanses us from the original sin we are born with. We are enlightened and become children of God, brought into His Church. We are given the gifts of the Holy Spirit and His Divine Life which makes it possible to live holy lives; lives where we can overcome the temptations we face every day. Baptism begins our journey toward union with God. Lent is a period of purification and enlightenment like baptism.      In the Gospel reading today Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit was led into the desert where He would be tempted. He fasted during these forty days. We are led by the Holy Spirit as well. We will fast during this Lenten time to join with Jesus; to hunger for God rather than the things of this world. Now is the time to reflect upon our lives; how have I filled myself? Is it with the material, passing things of this world or do I seek the things that last?      Take time to do something out of the ordinary this Lent. Come to Eucharistic Adoration, devote 15 minutes a day to pray, read a good Catholic book, give time to help others, attend the Stations of the Cross or pray them on your own. Try to inspire growth in your faith and draw closer to God. Reflect upon the amazing gift God has given to us in Jesus. Ask yourself how can I open myself to God?      Several years ago I had a Lent that changed how I looked at this beautiful season and changed my faith life. I changed from a focus on “giving up” to one of faith growth. While the penitential aspects are important, growing closer to God is what this season should be about. If the absence of some particular food or pleasure helps you grow closer to God then stick with it. If you don’t find spiritual growth in that pursuit then fast and abstain when the Church requires and try some other way to get in touch with God. We’re all different, so do what works for you. But do something!
Have a blessed Lenten Season!

Deacon Ray

*Please keep in your prayers our second grade students who will be receiving their First Reconciliation on Wednesday!