“Remember Oh Israel, I am the Lord your God ; who brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the house of slavery.
Thou shalt Not have strange Gods before me!” Exodus 20:2 For thousands of years humankind has been a beggar wandering in the vast desert of Sinai. Some find the way out— make it to the promised land. While most, with trembling hands, hold the begging cup praying for enough courage to share. What stops us from entering into the holy joy of charity? What stops us from believing that: “We will see the goodness of the lord in the land of the living?” Psalm 27:13 What are the false God’s we serve and how do we serve them? America is full of good people—so too the world. Yet we are all lost and wandering until it dawns on us just what our loves and needs should be, and who our heroes really are. Did you ever notice that it’s easier to pick up a bad habit that foster a healthy one? An addiction to salty crunchy chips is much more fun than learning to eat steamed zucchini which is good for me. And me? I like me! I want to take care of ME! God wants to care for me too—I know that , but…. I know how to do it better. Don’t I ? It was a good thing that the Lord took pity on Israel and let them leave the desert after 40 years because humanity still doesn’t get it! It takes very little fortitude to resist the quick gratification of the manna falling from the heavens. We want it to be easy, and the Israelites were no different wasn’t it time for them to just kick back rest? They’d been slaves—built the great pyramid for Khufu in Giza. They were tired and abused. It was a lot easier to give into selfish impulses than to learn the lessons that God had for them—after Scripture tell us that those lessons were why they were enslaved in Egypt to begin with. God knew the longings of their souls. He’s made us all that way– needing him longing for him, whether we know it or not.. St Augustine was right, “ We will never be happy until we rest in Jesus.” It takes strength and endurance to make the true longings of the soul a reality without letting the manna of life get in the way. God spoiled his contrary little band, he gave them all they could eat, freed them from worldly slavery and still they weren’t happy. From the start, they complained that they should have stayed in Egypt, the journey was hard, the desert was miserable, they had no land of their own, and except for the occasional quail the food was lousy! Why when it seems like we have so very much are we never happy? Well after a while, thinking only of ourselves stinks. It leaves a rotten taste in the mouth. In this state we can’t be happy because a selfish soul is not God’s creation. It’s ours! God made us to give so that we can receive: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38 Do you think that Jesus was preaching this just because it sounded good? Is God running a scam? No! Remember Peter said: “Lord to whom should we go? Only you have words of eternal life.” John 6:68 If you really believe scripture, then you have to believe that generosity is the very life of your soul. Now you’re probably saying: “ Wow! I don’t need to hear that! I am a very generous person. I give my time and my talents too. Generous yes! So are we all or think we are but wait: There are two kinds of wealth: Spiritual and worldly. We can choose to nurture our soul or we can stress our way through life massaging our more important immediate desires. When the children of Israel were wandering in the desert they had a choice — God or the Golden calf. When they chose their worldly cravings. They kept 100% of their material wealth, but in return the selfishness that nested in their hearts demanded most of their spiritual light. Oh, I suppose dancing around the calf and whatever came next was entertaining at the time, but the darkness it brought their souls kept them whining in the desert for many more years. When we choose Charity aka LOVE, we choose Spiritual light. God then becomes our stillpoint or the hub of our existence. Here in true reality and safety, we receive more than we can ever give away. ( Read Luke 6:38 again.) Still most of us are too afraid to let go of our security blanket to even try. Jesus told us that God will give us the best of both worlds. What do you think? Continued: next page.
All we have to do is to tithe a percentage of our income back to God in the form of charity: To the beggar on the corner at Applebee’s or Costco , to the family down the street, to our church, school, community. The concept of tithing doesn’t threaten our financial well-being. On the contrary it brings greater prosperity because that is what God wants for you. He wants you out of the desert. He wants you to put your hot little feet in the Jordan and enjoy the earth! What does the old song say , “LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH, AND BE HAPPY!” If the false Gods of greed, anger, manipulation, addiction to pleasure, fear of loosing what we have, and stress induced illness remain attached to our financial sustenance, eventually the dark world this comes from will make our fortune and our poor souls rot. The choice is ours. We have free-will. In our church there are a few folks that tithe and many who are generous. Still there are folks beside us in the pew every Sunday who are so addicted to the immediate that they can’t give anything away. No! For St Anthony Church this it isn’t about the money. It is really about souls. Just as God was the author of all that befell the Israelites —HE IS THE AUTHOR OF OUR PLENTY. There are no more words to tell you how important it is to share. Not for the sake of the one who receives, Although this is a true Many of St Anthony’s parishioners regularly utilize the sacrablessing, but for your own soul’s sake. ment of reconciliation as an integral part of their spiritual lives, a few Catholics celebrate the sacrament only sparingly, some not When we share we truly say: “ Yes, Lord I hear You!” I believe at all. Throughout the year on Saturdays at 4:00 pm the sacrathat You are the Lord who loves me and brings me out of the ment of reconciliation is always available. During the Lenten desert of my miserable self-interest. You are my God, I believe in season there will be reconciliation opportunities with other priests as well. Hopefully, all parishioners will make use of this You, and I will never cease following YOU! You are the author of additional opportunity during the Season of Lent. all Love and goodness. ” ©All rights reserved PStory2012
Care & Share Appeal—2012 You don’t have to be the richest person in town to share you just have to be one of the kindest!
It’s that time again– Please give generously to Care and Share. If you don’t already, this year think about tithing , ( a weekly financial provision for the upkeep of our church and its bills—( ie Care & Share). Ten percent is the biblical tithe but for some this is a fortune, for others a drop in the bucket. Give what you can– Jesus will bless it and multiply it. But please everyone give, even if it is only a few dollars a week. For your soul’s sake, do it today and every weekend.
Our reconciliation service will be on Weds. March 28th—7:00 pm with Fathers John Houlihan, Jerry Connolly, and Greg Staudinger as well as Father Tom. Father Tom is always available to meet with you by appointment. 406-628-7182. During adoration, after any mass, before stations of the cross, you are welcome to stay and pray in the silence of the church before the Blessed Sacrament.