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Reflecting on reflections.

As this picture was passed by me the other day it lodged into my mind. I have been contemplating more and more how this applies to our own lives.

Luke 1:46
And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord.

We are called to be reflections of Jesus, we are meant to go forth and bring the good news (gospel message) to those who do not know.

2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Through baptism and the Sacraments we are given the Grace to be transformed into the image of the Lord.

I often reflect on how I am failing at this very task, wondering what is it that keeps me from being a perfect reflection of Jesus.
Is it the storms in my life could it be the turbulent waters or is it the clouds of ignorance, pride, fear that obstuct others from seeing Jesus in me?

As I sit in adoration gazing upon Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament I can see Love, patience, humility, stillness, quiet and sacrifice.
These are qualities I need to reflect as our Blessed Mother Mary does she is a perfect example of a fully human person whose total existence is about her son Jesus. She does as I should be doing reflecting a clear image so others through me can come to see Him in total clarity.

This is the Love Jesus is calling us to have on our fellow man, it is a Love that is a mere reflection of God’s Love for all mankind. It is a cry into the world of darkness
(Matthew 11:28   Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you.)
He calls us all into his Eucharistic Kingdom to share in his Love and he pours out himself on to us in abundance so we may go forth and spread that Love throughout the world.


Do you really BELIEVE ???

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Gospel of Luke 24: 13-35

That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going
to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesushimself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.

He asked them,  “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive.
Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,  As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

So many things lead up to this moment, the first Mass after Jesus has Risen.So important is it that it is His his first priority. First “he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.” Next “he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.” The twofold major parts of the liturgy in the Mass the liturgy of the Word and then the liturgy of Eucharist (thank offering).The Priest acting in and by the authority of Jesus offers this for us. We do this in remembrance of him at every Mass. But it is not just a memory the Hebrew wording was much richer We re-present to make present again to us the last Supper and Passion, death and resurrection. It is not done again and again as some misunderstand “But once for all”. At every Mass we go to that one time the time Jesus said: “I have so longed to share this meal with you” He is the Pascal Lamb the new passover the “Lamb of God” who taketh away the sin of the world.

This God of ours who so Loves us; to go to such great lengths to show us His Love. Yet many harden their hearts to him refuse to believe they turn away just as the disciples did in John 6 the bread of life discourse. Many say they believe but refuse to change their ways. I pray constantly for those who are lukewarm those who won’t allow His Word to burn within their hearts. They close off the grace he tries to give them. “but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.”  It is the lack of trust / Faith in him that prevented them from recognizing him. Yet with their hearts burning with desire for him from the word, and just a spark of Faith in the breaking of the bread  their eyes were opened.

Many would say then he disappeared again. Yes because he knew they had faith, they no longer needed signs. He was still present, as he had told them he would not abandon them. But now they understood what he had come to teach them, he is the bread. They now could see him through the eyes of faith set deep in their heart.

John 6:54-55Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink”

This was believed by all Christians for the first 1500 yrs of the Church no argument no one said it was a symbol. They died believing,and where martyrs for Jesus WORD. So ask yourself Do you believe ??

God Called me Home 1

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How in the world did I ever find my faith again after 33 yrs? Well it was not easy for sure, I resisted every step of the way for many years. Fast forward 33 yrs. I now had Emphysema going on 13 yrs. Dr has told me I will be lucky to live another 2 yrs. So disabled and financially strapped I decide to move south to WV warmer climate lower economy fresh farm air.

Ok so the farm needed a little work; like running water, a bathroom, appliances, complete remodeling you know the little things. But my honey and I loved the place so we bought it and moved right in. We came back from town shopping or eating out I can’t remember and found a plate of Cookies on the steps. No note, no one as far as we could see, well we didn’t know if we dare eat them or if someone was trying to poison us. But with no stove hunger got the best of us, yummy delicious sugar cookies. Our 70ish yr old neighbor lady had come up to welcome us but we were away so she left them with a note that ended up blowing away.  We finally got it all figured out and they are the sweetest people we had met in a long time Katie and Bob. They welcomed us to WV offered to help in any way and introduced us to other neighbors. When they invited us to a covered dish dinner and told us we need not worry about bringing anything we accepted. Great people and a little community Methodist church basement with awesome food and good fellowship.

They started inviting us to church we had no desire to find out what that was all about, but after a while felt guilty going to the dinners and not church so we obliged them. I was very sceptical didn’t know what to expect but it was ok nothing fancy basically some songs, preacher Sue giving a sermon and a little bible study. I did pay attention though to how they interpreted the Scriptures and it sort of was molded to their lives shape the Bible to fit the situation that seemed a bit odd to me. But what did I know, so maybe I should get a Bible and learn a little so I can converse with my new friends you know fit in. I started having questions some things seemed to be opposed to others and many things were against what I was being taught so I started asking the elders, the preacher and other folks from different denominations. Just more confusion (differing opinions)things didn’t add up and that was ok with them. They would say just don’t worry about it the Holy Spirit will tell you when the time is right.

The embers from my baptism were being fanned into a fire. One day someone asked me if “I was born again” and I just looked at him sort of like what are you talking about. He said do you believe in Jesus Christ ? Well duhhh yea even satan believes. Now around this time I was at a service and saying the Lords prayer realized what I was asking you know the forgiveness part (as we forgive those who trespass against us). That sent be soul-searching through my past. I had a lot of baggage to let go of made calls to ask for and give forgiveness.

Now I was starting to take this serious I am sort of all or nothing so I needed answers but where. Ah-ha the internet, boy was that a mistake tens of thousands of denominations and opinions out there all led “by the Holy Spirit” and all vastly differing. I started having flash backs of my childhood it was never like this there was only one truth not based on how I feel today or how my aunt treated me last week.

I started going into despair wondering who to ask. Desperate for answers I prayed sincerely for the first time in years. “God I am going to ask you, I believe your there and are busy I just need 1 answer please. What is the truth?” I no sooner asked it and Bang like a lightning bolt into my head the answer came ” I am the truth the life and the way” So what your telling me is Jesus is the truth? So I need to start there so back into the Bible I went and there it was Jesus started a Church. The 4 marks of that Church are One,Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. He Prayed for unity in John 17 “that they be of one mind” He gave them authority and commands to do. So seeking the truth I had nowhere else to go but the Catholic Church. I was not done resisting yet I still had lots of questions.

But that is just the beginning of another story.

God Called Me Home 2

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Now I had decided to go back the Church we decided to go to St Patrick parish in Weston WV. And Tammy is going with me for her own reasons. The first Sunday we got our wires crossed about the Mass times and arrived with no one around. Second week I made a call to find out the Mass time here we go it has been a long time. I was a little nervous but I also had a bit of an attitude. I didn’t care what the people thought I was coming here for God and Him alone. Tammy came with me as we entered the Church I could tell she was nervous. Our first impression was one of reverence I knew I was in Gods house. We sat near the back trying to follow along and not stand out to bad. Even not knowing much about the Mass I could sense the true Worship of God these people were gathered for.

After Mass there was a GIFT Growing in Faith Together program we were invited to. The following I borrowed from our Parish newsletter when we moved back to NH.

“Before Jim and Tammy Arsenault moved back to their home state of New Hampshire, Jim was asked to share his opinion of the GIFT intergenerational religious education program at St. Patrick Church.

The first time Jim and Tammy attended Mass at St. Pat’s and the first GIFT event coincided—November 10, 2007. The couple became parishioners and were active in the church for the past three years. They rejoined their families in New Hampshire in late September.

Here’s is Jim’s essay on GIFT:

This program is so appropriately named because it is a gift to us and our Church as a wealth of knowledge and because our faith itself is a gift from God.

Growing in Faith Together as catechesis points back to the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 158 which says, “The grace of faith opens the eyes of your heart to a lively understanding of the contents of revelation.”

Our purpose as members of God’s family is to become Saints. That’s a constant conversion process of growth. The Mass and the Sacraments give us the grace that we need to have strength enough to desire to understand God more deeply.

My personal faith journey stared with Fr. McSweeney and Sr. Eileen Marie Sinnott and grew into the members of the RCIA, the members of the parish, and the members of the entire church, more than 1.1-billion people.

This family that I feel myself closer to and more a part of is God’s family. My desire is to grow in the knowledge of faith, knowledge of all the revealed truths that God has given us through the Church. In so doing, I might be able to take that out and share it with people who are seeking Him and have no one to lead them. That is what we ALL should desire. We should love our fellow man and want to help them on their journey toward God. So when we grow in faith together, faith and reason have to work together . they cannot be opposed to each other. The GIFT program which the parish is offering to all its members is helping us come together in community and unity and to learn from one another. Never think that a good deed can be too small or that a single word can be unimportant. It may be the word that will lift someone to the next level they need to reach.

Take full advantage of the GIFT program for yourself as well as to help others.

Tammy and I first came to St. Pat’s on the first GIFT night. I was invited by Sister Eileen Marie. I came back to the Church after being away 33 years. My wife returned to full communion with the Church after being baptized as an infant but never being raise in the church.

Through the GIFT program and other sources, I have been deepening my faith since to the point that now I feel that I need to share my knowledge through GIFT, RCIA, and other opportunities God puts in my hands. I will never, until I am in heaven, be at a point to where I know enough about God. The more open I allow myself to be open with Jesus, the more graces he allows me to have. As John Pau II says, “Fear not, because that is what keeps us becoming closer to God.” Fear of the unknown there is nothing to fear with God if you truly desire to love him with your whole mind, heart, and strength. So, go to GIFT!

I have helped facilitate GIFT, been a speaker at GIFT, and been a part of the RCIA Team, become a certified instructor for the Journey through Scripture Series from the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology where I’ve learned that the Bible isn’t some random books put together but the story of the Family of God, the history of salvation.

In New Hampshire, I intend to do my Journey through Scripture in the new parish–Genesis to Jesus, the Bible and the Virgin Mary, the Bible and the Sacraments, and the Bible and the Mass. My new house is within walking distance of the Church, which was Tammy and my priority to go to daily Mass. We want to get into some of the many activities existing in the new parish and find something I can fit into. I want to be a part of the Body of Christ. I will like sleeping in my with Jesus less than one-quarter of a mile from my house. That is very comforting to me.

I like to say I’m going home, but my home is also here. I tend to agree with Mother Teresa who said, “My home is wherever the tabernacle is.” I need to take spiritual responsibility for my family and do what I can for them in that respect. I will always be with St. Pat’s in spirit.”

That completes 1 more piece of the puzzle of my Journey, Hope you enjoyed it !!

My childhood years !!

In the beginning (at least my beginning) I was Baptised and raised Catholic I was the only boy, 4 older sisters. We always attended Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation. I was an altar boy and was always nervous I would mess up at Mass I guess I still have that fear at times, but I understand why now it is because I realize just how important Mass really is. I know that I am in the presence of God and desire to please him in ways I am not even capable of.

As I grew older we used to visit my Dads mother Meme Arsenault she lived alone my Gramps had passed before I was born. She was the classic French Meme always waiting hand and foot on her guests. She was the most outgoing woman I ever remember in my life. If we stayed for the weekend when Sunday came she was up before us all preparing this huge breakfast early in the AM. She would feed us until we were so stuffed we could barely move. Of course she would be insulted if you tried to help her clear the table or do the dishes you were her guest and were treated as Christ himself.

I vaguely remember her snacking on the run as she Cleared away and did the dishes. When all was put in order she began preparing for Mass, now you better be able to keep up because there is no way she was going to be late for that. Always wearing a veil on her head she walked to Mass as she did not drive at all. I have a hard time imagining she ever missed a Mass in her life.

Around my 11th yr our local Priest took the altar boys to camp in appreciation of the service they do. That is where the problem started. I was having a private discussion with the Priest and he said some things to me I didn’t understand (very inappropriate things) being naive as I was I basically let it pass by. But soon after that he was removed from our Parish and replaced by an older Priest. Well into my 13th-14th yrs I started having questions about the Bible so I went to this Priest for answers. Problem was I was in my defiant yrs and he was in a hurry. I asked him some questions about the book of Genesis and he basically told me that was just a made up story.  CRASH My faith was shattered if that was just made up what else was they had told me all those years. Of course he never took the time to explain about literary styles such as Jesus Parables and so forth and being young and impetuous I had nowhere to turn. Hind-site  he meant no harm but a hurried wrong answer is what did it! I quickly stopped going to Mass and that was a turning point in my life I wish never had happened.

Without God to guide me my life Changed dramatically that day. My faith was in shambles I had hardened my heart it turned for the worse. I spent the next 33 yrs raising a family without faith and doing many things I would come to regret but that is another story!

Lesson learned? :If you don’t have the time to or the knowledge to explain the faith properly tell them, tell them you will get back to them with the answer just you can’t at the moment. Don’t guess or assume they understand cause most people don’t.