A Prayer When Facing a Storm


                        

 

Dear Heavenly  Father:      You gave us nature to show the beauty of Your creation as a gift which we must appreciate, protect, and nurture. That same nature also shows your great power which we must respect, accept, and praise.  We must always surrender to Your Will, for You are the Master of all creation. That creation can be both beautiful and imposing, peaceful and violent,  as well as calm and fierce.  Just as we should appreciate Your gifts in humble thanksgiving, we must place ourselves at Your eternal mercy. We here in this home have been blessed many times with Your wonderful gifts, and we are eternally grateful for those gifts in whatever form You may deem best for our souls and our salvation. We now face the challenge of a violent storm which approaches our home and is already threatening many lives. We ask You to spare as many of Your people from the suffering and danger which this storm may bring.  While we accept Your Will, we humbly ask that You lessen the severity of this storm. Although we do not deserve Your mercy and, in fact, merit Your just punishment for our sins, ingratitude, arrogance, inconsistency, cowardice, and disobedience, we ask that You not look upon what we may deserve but upon what we ask today, which is that Your protect our home and property, inside and outside, from serious harm and damage, and help us weather this storm in relative safety and peace.  We dare to ask You to likewise protect our families and loved ones. We do not ask this favor of You because we deserve it but, rather, because we know that You are a most merciful and loving Creator of the Universe. All we have and all we do we owe to You and always will.  We do not want to walk any path that does not move toward You.  You are the answer to our questions, the purpose of our lives, the cure for our pain, and the reason for our very existence.  Above all, You are and will always be the Rainbow to our storms, and therefore we ask that You extend Your loving Hand in protection of us and our loved ones this night, tomorrow, through the end of this storm, and always in our journey toward You.  Please be our Rainbow yet again, and help us through the rain of our pain in this world, so that we may someday experience the peace and beauty of being in Your Presence.  We ask this through Christ our Lord, His Most Obedient and Loving Mother and, above all, through You, Our Loving Heavenly Father, Amen.

Copyright, 2012  Gabriel Garnica

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Catholics and Christians Must Be Warriors Today, Not Worriers


          

 

Catholics and Christians in general certainly have a lot to be worried about in these times.  Threats abound from a society, culture, media, and leadership that treats Christianity like an annoying mental illness which often irritates any non-Christian in the vicinity of any follower of Christ.  We have been called terrorists by people who seem terrified to call real terrorists by that name.  We have been called hateful by those who epitomize hate.  We are labeled as dangerous by folks whose views pose a danger to our world, nation, society, culture, future, and every existence.  It is easy to be a follower of Christ on Easter Sunday.  It is still manageable to be a follower of Christ on Christmas where, despite the increasingly brazen and arrogant attacks on the true reason for the season, one at least finds a significant part of society celebrating along.  Being a Christian, a Catholic, on Good Friday, however, is another ball of wax.  That is the day we remember how hated Christ was by the powerful, the political and even spiritual leaders of the day.  Being a true follower of Christ is not about dancing behind Him as He enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday surrounded by apparently adoring throngs.  No, we earn our stripes as Christians on Holy Thursday night and Good Friday, if we proudly admit we are His loyal followers, yell in His defense among the vicious mob demanding His death, follow Him as He obeys His Father’s Will below a heavy cross on a rocky path,  and kneel below His cross, begging forgiveness for not appreciating His ultimate sacrifice with our loyal obedience.

These times call for warriors like Joan of Arc and Sir Thomas More, who used deeds and words to defend God’s Word and Will and Christ’s teaching and example, willingly giving up comforts and prestige to serve He who Alone should be our reason, our answer, our path, and our purpose.

Let us not worry in this task and mission, for worry is born of a lack of faith and fills its space very conveniently to choke our very beliefs and resolve, no matter how steadfast initially, into weak, diluted compromise, appeasement, and even betrayal of our Faith.  As Christians we are not called to become mere spectators to this battle, content to let others fight for the cause.  Neither, however, are we called to become mindless, oblivious, ravenous wolves defending without discretion,  speaking without sincerity, and preaching without purpose. No, we must work to fight as Our Lord fought, with conviction and fairness,  courage and temperance and, above all, with a firm grasp of Our God’s Word, Our Lord’s example, and our talents and gifts to use as weapons in the struggle.

Do not worry, for worry is born of doubt, and doubt is born of a lack of faith, and a lack of faith is the offspring of fear and denial.  Use your time more wisely by focusing on the end promised rather than the present perceived.  Following Our Lord is playing without pause because one knows that, regardless of the twists and turns of the fame, the final score will favor those who wear Our God’s uniform.  Measure the value of all by how well such things will bring you closer to God.   If we follow these ideals, we will truly be warriors, not worriers, for our faith.

Copyright, 2012  Gabriel Garnica

Being God’s Tool


                                                                                                                      

The dictionary defines a “tool” as a device for accomplishing a task or a means to an end.  The slang dictionary, generally described as a reference of words in common, but not formal, usage, however, defines a “tool” as a fool, a loser, and much worse. Simply put, there is a hug difference between the use of the word “tool” in  ” The saw is a tool for cutting” as opposed to ” He is such a tool.” I will argue that the formal definition of a word is the more fixed, stable, and accepted definition of a word which reflects a word’s original and most basic meaning and the slang definition of that same word will illustrate the more adaptive, faddish, street definition of a word which reflects society’s bias, temperament, and socially accepted patterns.

The Biblical basis of being a “fool for Christ” comes from St. Paul in 1 Corinthians, and St. Francis was the quintessential fool for Christ in giving up great wealth and prestige in search of simplicity, humility, poverty, and service.  If our salvation depends on our ability to be a fool for Christ, it also depends on the similar ability to be a tool for God.  Ironically, the beautiful Prayer of St. Francis speaks of being “an instrument” of God’s peace.  Is not an instrument a tool of some kind, often for producing music?

Salvation, then, depends on how well, how enthusiastically, how devotedly, how consistently, and how sincerely we can be tools serving God’s purpose and fools serving Christ’s example.  The only productive meaning of our lives should come from serving God’s Will using our God-given talents with such passion, such zeal, and such abandon to that Will that we remain oblivious to the superficial, temporal, useless measures and evaluations of this shallow world.  This world tells us that it is uncool to be a fool, a tool; let us proclaim, in word and deed, that being a fool for Christ who hungers  for opportunities to be a tool for God is the life purpose most nobly lived.

Copyright 2012   Gabriel Garnica