Advent Day 15 ~ Soar like an eagle!

The symbol for St. John is the eagle because he soars to the heights of mystical love

Monday of the Third Week of Advent

Isaiah is so amazing.  He offers hope. He sees imminent possibilities for the human race.

At times, he also warns and sometimes chastises.

I’ve always loved this scripture that appear in the Advent Mass texts:

God gives strength to the fainting;
for the weak he makes vigor abound.
Though young men faint and grow weary,
and youths stagger and fall,
They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength,
they will soar as with eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.

– Isaiah 40:30-31.  

So many of us become discouraged by life, especially after months and months of sheltering in place because of this pandemic. Many of us may lose our job or have been told that we no longer have the health benefits we once had for our family.

We grow older and have more aches and pains and worry more. Some of us are couch potatoes and don’t exercise enough and get more depressed.

After the weariness of this election, I’d say most of us could use an infusion of renewed strength for our personal lives and our families and hope for the future of our country.

In these latter days of Advent, think about the ways you can restore your vigor ~ or better ask the Lord to renew your strength! He will!  As he has done for me again and again and again! I’ve been down many times; but he never ceases to raise me up again.

And you might note that the symbol for John the evangelist is the eagle, because he soars to the heights of mystical glory in his writings. 

And today’s Gospel will comfort you too!  . . .

Jesus said to the crowds:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves. 
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” 

The Advent season provides many texts to comfort us and offer us hope. God knows we need hope in our land today! and throughout the world.

I praise you, Lord, because you’ve restored my vigor in marvelous ways.  

You have renewed my strength again and again.  

Please allow our young people to soar as if on eagle’s wings, 

and our older folk to borne up on the wings of Your love, Lord.  

Yes, as I grow older, I’m ready to renew my priestly service to You, Lord,

as long as you grant me the grace, the vigor and the strength.  

Whatever You will, Lord. Whatever you will – for all of us! Amen.

Now, before you go, here is one of our great Catholic liturgical songs ~ “On Eagles’ Wings” Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen. Click here.  

Here are today’s Mass readings if you’d like to reflect on them. It’s the lovely feast of St. John of the Cross. (Below, I’ll provide you a link if you’d like to know some more about this lovely poet and co-founder of the reformed Carmelite Order alongside St. Teresa of Avila in the sixteenth century.) For today’s readings, Click here. 

 St.John of the Cross is known especially for his writings. He was mentored by and corresponded with the older Carmelite, Teresa of Avila. Both his poetry and his studies on the development of the  soul are considered the summit of all Spanish literature. Read more. 

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

 

The Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael ~ Have you been touched by an angel?

 The Feast of the Archangel

Michael, Gabriel and  Raphael

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Nearly everyone is fascinated by angels, whether they are into religion or not. You may recall the popular TV series Touched by an Angel, starring Della Reese, Roma Downey, Toby Keith that ran from 1994- 2003.

Angels have a very big role in the Bible and in our history. Angels have been declared a part of our dogmatic Catholic tradition;. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states in Paragraph 328:

The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith.

The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition. For Jews, it is impossible to not believe in the literal beings known as the angels because the Old Testament makes numerous references to them. For them then it is an article of faith that cannot be ignored if you want to be a sincere and devout Jew. Witness the angel that led Israel’s camp and protected them from Pharaoh.

The same is especially true of Christians. In addition to what is given to us in the Old Testament, almost every book of the New Testament shows us that the angels are a real and active force in our lives. And since in the life of Jesus as man and his eternal existence as God consists of numerous encounters with the angels, you cannot believe in Jesus as Christ without encountering angels.

So what are angels? The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in Paragraphs 329-330:

St. Augustine says: “‘Angel’ is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are, ‘spirit’, from what they do, ‘angel.'” With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they “always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” they are the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word”. (329)

IAs purely spiritual creatures, angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness. (330)

Christian doctrine thus teaches that the angels are spiritual beings who were created by God to serve him. Some say they can appear in human form and interact with us, but those bodies are only temporary illusions and pass away when their interaction with certain humans ends. As purely spiritual beings, angels thus do not have DNA and those bodies may feel tangible but are not part of the angelic nature and thus vanish after the encounter because they have no use for physical bodies as we do. But as created beings, they exist within time as we do and do not know the future unless God reveals it to them.

What is the purpose of the angels?

The purpose of all of the angels is to serve, and praise God, worship, and pray to God. In the process of serving God, they also protect us, pray for us, inspire us, encourage us, and guide us during our journey on Earth. Some early Christian traditions indicate that even after our death, the angels continue to guide us in our journey to our final place, whether it is to Heaven or to Hell. It is speculative that those who have to go through the final state of purification on the way to Heaven known as Purgatory might also have their guardian angels (Psalm 91:9-12; Matthew 18:1-4,10) with them during their time of purification of sin.

And yes, everyone has a guardian angel. As Paragraph 336 of the Catechism tells us:

“From it’s beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.”

Our Guardian Angels love us and do everything within God’s Will to protect us from harm. Sometimes though we reject God’s protection, and by consequence theirs, when we reject God, we have to deal with the consequences of our sins when we do not repent.

Angels also pray for us. We see in Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8 that the angels continue to sing and pray to God, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts!” We also see in Tobit 12:12 and Revelation 5:8 and 8:3 that along with the Saints who are in Heaven, the angels serve as intercessors for us in prayer to God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:10 not to despise or bring harm to children, “for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.”

   Cf. Catholic 365.com for the above information.

St. Gregory the Great notes that angels do not have names unless and until they are given a mission from God to announce a message. There are untold millions of angels in heaven, all created as pure spirits, in continual praise and adoration of our God. Our faith tradition teaches us that God assigns to each of us a “guardian angel” to protect and guide us in our daily effort to grown in wisdom and grace. Scripture also makes clear that at great events of salvation history, God sends an “archangel” to proclaim a message.

The three Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are three of the seven archangels named in Sacred Scripture and all three have important roles in the history of salvation.

Saint Michael is the “Prince of the Heavenly Host,” the leader of all the angels. His name is Hebrew for “Who is like God?” and was the battle cry of the good angels against Lucifer and his followers when they rebelled against God. He is mentioned four times in the Bible, in Daniel 10 and 12, in the letter of Jude, and in Revelation.

Michael, whose forces cast down Lucifer and the evil spirits into Hell, is invoked for protection against Satan and all evil. Pope Leo XIII, in 1899, having had a prophetic vision of the evil that would be inflicted upon the Church and the world in the 20th century, instituted a prayer asking for Saint Michael’s protection to be said at the end of every Mass. (I’ll include that prayer at the bottom of this blog, though it was suppressed with the Vatican II changes in the liturgy.)

Christian tradition recognizes four offices of Saint Michael: (i) to fight against Satan (ii) to rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death. (iii) to be the champion of God’s people, (iv) to call away from earth and bring men’s souls to judgment.

Gabriel is, he who stand before God.” (Luke 1, 19)

Saint Gabriel, whose name means “God’s strength,” is mentioned four times in the Bible. Most significant are Gabriel’s two mentions in the New Testament: to announce the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zacharias, and at Incarnation of the Word when he announces to Mary that she will be the Mother of the Most High and again appeared to Joseph in a dream and guided them on their way to Egypt to flee from Herod’s clutches.

Christian tradition suggests that it is he who appeared to the shepherds, and also that it was he who “strengthened” Jesus during his agony in the garden of Gethsemane.

“I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord” (Tob 12:15)

Saint Raphael, whose name means “God has healed” because of his healing of Tobias’ blindness in the Book of Tobit.  Tobit is the only book in which he is mentioned. His office is generally accepted by tradition to be that of healing and acts of mercy.

Raphael is also identified with the angel in John 5:1-4 who descended upon the pond and bestowed healing powers upon it so that the first to enter it after it moved would be healed of whatever infirmity he was suffering.

And let’s not forget our unnamed guardian angels. I’ve dubbed my own guardian angel Claretia— after the famous guardian angel Clarence—in the old movie with Jimmy Stewart it’s a Wonderful Life. All I know is she’s gotten me out of a helluva a lot of scrapes—near car accidents and falls and all. That’s what guardian angels do for us, ya know. They just watch over us Their Feast Day for our guardian angels is October 2nd. Do you remember the prayer your mother taught you? (I don’t know whether young parents still teach their children this little prayer or not.) But you can teach it to them now.

Angel of God, my guardian dear,

to whom God’s love commits me here;

ever this day be at my side; to light, to guard, to rule, to guide. Amen

 And here’s Psalm 91 that speaks of the protection of the angels . . . .

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

I have always recommended this psalm to people who were experiencing any kind of trauma, no matter what the kind for them to pray often. It reflects what soldiers on the battlefield have often known: bullets whizzing by them and not harming them. Their angel protecting them!

And here’s this psalm set to music. Click here

And here are today’s Mass readings, if you’d like to reflect on them. Click here. 

And here’s the old prayer to St. Michael.

Saint Michael Archangel,
defend us in battle,
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil;
may God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God, cast into hell
Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen.

With love, 

Bob Traupman

Contemplative Writer

Advent Day 12 ~ Soar like an eagle! (and Hanukkah Day 3)

The symbol for St. John is the eagle because he soars to the heights of mystical love

Thursday of the Second Week of Advent

Isaiah is so amazing.    He offers hope. He sees imminent possibilities for the human race.

At times, he also warns and sometimes chastises.

I’ve always loved this scripture that appear in the Advent Mass texts:

God gives strength to the fainting,

for the weak he makes vigor abound.

Though young men faint and grow weary,

and youth stagger and fall,

They that hope in the Lord

will renew their strength,

they will soar as with eagle’s wings;

They will run and not grow weary,

walk and not grow faint.

– Isaiah 40:30-31.

(This was the first reading of yesterday’s Mass) So many of us become discouraged by life. We may lose our job or are told that we no longer have the health benefits we once had for our family. And many of us are now worried how we’ll be affected by the Republican’s tax bill, if it becomes law.  We grow older and have more aches and pains and worry more. Some of us are couch potatoes and don’t exercise enough and get more depressed.  And are, indeed, in need of  an infusion of renewed strength.

In these latter days of Advent, think about the ways you can restore your vigor ~ or better ask the Lord to renew your strength! He will!  As he has done for me again and again and again! I’ve been down many times; but he never cease to raise me up again.

And you might note that the symbol for John the evangelist is the eagle, because he soars to the heights of mystical glory in his writings.

I praise you, Lord, because you’ve restored my vigor in marvelous ways. 

You have renewed my strength again and again.  

And I’d love to soar as if with eagle’s wings, 

if you would grant me that grace even now. 

Soar to the heights of the mountains,

and dive to the depths of the ocean of Your love, Lord.  

Yes, as I grow older, I’m ready to serve You, Lord

as long as you grant me the grace, the vigor and the strength.  

Whatever You will, Lord. Whatever you will.

Now, before you go, here is one of our great Catholic liturgical songs ~ “On Eagles’ Wings” Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen. Click here.  

Today is the Feast of St. John of the Cross, the great Carmelite mystic and reformer Here are today’s Mass readings. Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

 

Advent Day 19 ~ Soar like an eagle!

The symbol for St. John is the eagle because he soars to the heights of mystical love
The symbol for St. John is the eagle because he soars to the heights of mystical love

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

Isaiah is so amazing.    He offers hope. He sees imminent possibilities for the human race.

At times, he also warns and sometimes chastises.

I’ve always loved this scripture that appear in the Advent Mass texts:

God gives strength to the fainting,

for the weak he makes vigor abound.

Though young men faint and grow weary,

and youth stagger and fall,

They that hope in the Lord

will renew their strength,

they will soar as with eagle’s wings;

They will run and not grow weary,

walk and not grow faint.

– Isaiah 40:30-31.

So many of us become discouraged by life. We may lose our job or are told that we no longer have the health benefits we once had for our family.  We grow older and have more aches and pains and worry more. Some of us are couch potatoes and don’t exercise enough and get more depressed.  And are, indeed, in need of insurgence of renewed strength.

In these latter days of Advent, think about the ways you can restore your vigor ~ or better ask the Lord to renew your strength! He will!  As he has done for me again and again and again! I’ve been down many times; but he never cease to raise me up again.

And you might note that the symbol for John the evangelist, as the caption under the stained glass window above notes states, is the eagle, because he soars to the heights of mystical glory in his writings.

I praise you, Lord, because you’ve restored my vigor in marvelous ways. 

You’re renewing my strength. 

And I’d love to soar as if with eagle’s wings, 

if you would grant me that grace even now. 

Soar to the heights of the mountains

and dive to the depths of the ocean of Your love, Lord.  

Yes, as I grow older, I’m ready to serve You, Lord

as long as you grant me the grace, the vigor and the strength.  

Whatever You will, Lord. Whatever you will.

Now, before you go, here is one of our great Catholic liturgical songs ~ “On Eagles’ Wings” Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen. Click here.  

And here are today’s Mass readings, if you would like to reflect on them. Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

 

Advent Day 17 ~ Soar like an eagle!

The symbol for St. John is the eagle because he soars to the heights of mystical love

Wednesday of the third week of Advent

Isaiah is so amazing.    He offers hope. He sees imminent possibilities for the human race.  He warns.  And also he chastises. (More on that later.)

I’ve always loved this scripture that appeared in the Mass readings recently:

God gives strength to the fainting,

for the weak he makes vigor abound.

Though young men faint and grow weary,

and youth stagger and fall,

They that hope in the Lord

will renew their strength,

they will soar as with eagle’s wings;

They will run and not grow weary,

walk and not grow faint.

~ Isaiah 40:30-31.

I ring up Betsy often, Lord. She’s eighty-something and has had a marvelous 65 year love affair with John. I last saw them on the couch, both dressed in denim gaga-eyed like teenagers.  Now John is slipping away into another world within himself.  And yet, she finds that her God and the angels are lifting her up on eagle’s wings. And she tells me — to her delight –she feels renewed by her faith and the Magnificat Mass book  I got her as a gift.   Renew her vigor, Lord.

Today  I got a notice for hefty fines for Augie, Lord, a really good guy, 34 for something or other; I didn’t know he was back in town.  He has “staggered and fallen” again. He has lost his vigor, has lost his way.  Be with him, too, Lord.

And then, praying about this Isaian text, I want to mention the guys on the corner of Broward and I-95, Lord.  I don’t care what they do with the buck I give them. I just look them in the eye, give them a thumbs up and ask their name.  When the light changes, I lift them up in prayer.   Their sign often says “Homeless Vet.” Young men whose souls are  buried deep within. Homelessness is tough, Lord.  I know.  I had a brief bout of it.    Be with them, too, Lord.  I’d love to find a way to help these guys find their souls again, Lord.  Let them run again, Lord, into the wind.  Let us honor the poor, Lord.  They have much to teach the rest of us.

Then there’s Sean, Lord.  He’s down for the count this Christmas because his marriage is headed for divorce and they have to get the kids through it all. Be with that family, Lord, and all the homes in our land that are not sweetness and light before Christmas.

I, praise you, Lord, because you have restored my vigor in marvelous ways at age 68!  You’re renewing my strength.  And I’d love to soar as if with eagle’s wings if you’d grant me that grace.  Soar to the heights of the mountains and dive to the depths of the ocean of Your love, Lord.  I’m ready and willing to serve You, Lord for the next twenty years.

Whatever You will, Lord. Whatever you will.

Day by day, let us serve You and Your people the best we can.

And now enjoy Michael Joncas’ anointed song “On Eagles’ Wings”  Click here. Turn up your speakers, enter full screen and have a great day ~ whether you want to or not!

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer


Unbind us, Lord!

John the Evangelist has still another incredible story of a three part series used by the church to show us how Jesus wants to be for us: He is the One who unbinds our shackles / calls us forth from the the tombs of our lives and offers us new and risen life!  When? For all eternity – Yes!  But also right here, right now.  (Also see the two previous posts for the first two stories “A thirsty man meets a thirsty woman (John, Chapter 4)  and “You light up my life” John, Chapter 9).  There are marvelous lessons for believers and unbelievers alike here.)  The images I use here are of a statue interpreting the unbinding of Lazarus on the grounds of the Diocese of Lake Charles Retreat Center in Lake Charles, LA.  I title them: “Addictions.”

As you read this story,  picture it.  Get into it.  And I will add a few reflections of my own along the way.  Here’s  an edited version of the NRSV version.  Cf. the following link for the complete text: John 11:1-45.

NOW a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, the one whom you love is ill.”

I can muse that  You, Jesus often went to the home of Martha and Mary and Lazarus.  You probably went there to  “let your hair down.”  To get away from the crowds — even Your chosen  and sometimes unruly band of  Twelve  often didn’t  “get” what You were about.  I muse that You sometimes felt quite alone even among them.   But You really seem to enjoy the three siblings’ company.  You could be who You were, without pressure, without demand.  You could simply “be.”   And Your three friends were very comfortable with You as well.  (Remember the story in Luke 10:38-42 when he came for dinner?)

Lord, help us to find friends who accept us as we are — warts and all —  with whom we don’t have to pretend to be someone / something we’re not.  Where we can learn and be encouraged to bind our wounds and become whole.  I thank you for the people in my life who are “there” for me when I need them.

But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory.

Lord, You have enabled me  to realize, that illness and difficult times can end in glory for those who persevere / who trust /  who are willing to understand what such crosses will teach us.  (Bethany is often used as a symbol of a place of retreat, of refreshment and renewal.)

Lord, help us to see the glory hiding in the dark places of our lives. . . .

Though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

Lord, help us to grow into patience — to wait for God’s time for things.

Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?”  [ . . . . ] “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.”

How many of  us have fallen asleep to the reality of our lives?  Jesus, help me to WAKE UP! and really see and accept the reality of my life — both the good and the bad.

[. . . .] When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home.

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Lord Jesus, I hear you saying this to ME.  As a priest I have consoled many who wept at the death of their own loved ones.  And throughout my own long years  of illness, these words consoled me.  Somehow, I realized that, even on this side of the grave, You would grant me new and risen life.  And You are doing that RIGHT NOW!

She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

Yes, Lord, You are the One who is my Friend / my Beloved / my Redeemer / my Shepherd and Companion on my life’s journey!

When Martha had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him.

Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there.

When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

In those few words I feel her grief, Lord  . . . and a bit of a reprimand: “Why weren’t You here?”

How often as a priest have I heard people say that!

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved.

Jesus, as I (we) reflect on this story, help us to feel / to sense / to realize that it is your humanness / Your humanity that saves us:  You are one like us!

He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.”

Jesus began to weep.

Lord, You always weep with and for Your friends . . . and the folks who do not know You are a friend waiting for them.

You cry — even now — over the state of our world.  I know.  I often cry with you!

So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

Jesus, I praise You that You were not afraid to express Your love to other men, especially to the young beloved disciple who leaned on Your breast at the Last Supper (John 21:20).

But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus, You always worked in an atmosphere of hostility.  There were always people around who hated You because you loved.  And taught others to do the same.  In these later days of Lent as we approach the celebration of Your passion, death and resurrection — this year — may we be soberly aware that it was the religious leaders who had you killed. Something for us to ponder even today.  Are we for You or against You?  Are we on the side of Love or Hate?

Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it.

Jesus, I know many who have heavy stones laying across devastated lives.  Particularly my friends  who lie in the tomb of addiction.  I know families who weep and worry over the death of the spirits of their loved ones.

Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”

Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.”

There are always consequences to devastated lives.  They’re always hard to repair.

Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

. . . . but Jesus reminds us  to always to have hope in the ones we love — even when matters seem hopeless.

So they took away the stone. And Jesus [. . . . .] cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth.

Jesus said to them,

“Unbind him, and let him go.”

I have come to realize, Lord, that coming out of our tombs is only the beginning of recovery.  Resurrection takes a long time.We need others to unbind us.  And I thank you for the people who have helped to unbind me — especially You, Lord!

Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

May we come to deepen OUR faith in You, Lord, and realize that as we stay close to You, You will unbind us and let us go free to new and risen life and love!

The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ!
Now here is the song “He will raise you up on eagle’s wings” by Michael Joncas   sung at my parents’ funeral and so many others I had the honor of presiding at.  We Catholics truly believe that we will live forever!

the garden on the edge of the bayou in which the statue is placed

With love,
Bob Traupman
priest / writer

This post is dedicated to the young men for whom I’ve  prayed and their parents: May they be unbound from the shackles of their addictions and have new and risen life.

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. All rights reserved.  From the oremus Bible Browser http://bible.oremus.org v2.2.5 2 March 2008.