Good Friday

I haven’t blogged for a long time but thought it would be appropriate on this Good Friday as I have been reflecting on a lot of things.  I hope you are all enjoying a blessed Triduum. 

For some reason I am always drawn to a beautiful message I read years ago from the homily of Pope Benedict XVI during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on April 13, 2006. These were powerful words about the depths of God’s love for humanity and the sacred events Christians recall during this week. 

I have included a portion of the homily at the end of this blog entry.  God’s love is indeed extreme and radical.  I hope the words below bless you and remind you of the depths of God’s love for you personally. I am always reminded on Good Friday that God is very much at work in the midst of chaos and pain. We are never abandoned even as we groan for the fulfillment of hope (c.f. Romans 8:22).

This Lent has been a strange one for me walking through the intense grief of having lost my wonderful father back in December just before Christmas. I miss him terribly and sometimes the grief of loss overwhelms me. Out of nowhere a memory comes or song, etc, and I just feel powerless and tears just start forming in my eyes. Still, I know the Lord is with me and there are many important spiritual lessons to be learned through these difficult experiences.

The Lord is very much reminding me that part of our healing from grief lies in staying connected and involved in other people’s lives and realizing that we all struggle with grief and are supposed to reach out and comfort one another. I really appreciate the people who have been checking in with me and asking how I am getting along. There has been a real temptation for me to isolate myself but the Lord keeps reminding me to stay connected and engaged. I keep remembering an ad for “The Chosen” where Jesus says to his disciples, “I don’t need you to feel anything to do something great for me”. Emotions and feelings are part of life, but our desire should always be to walk by faith and not let them dominate our decision making. This isn’t easy. St. Ignatius of Loyola reminds us that the consolation is for the desolation. Somehow everything is working for our good (c.f. Romans 8:28) but there are moments like Good Friday where you are suspended in the loss and so eagerly await the joy of resurrection. I know it is coming! 

I visited with Diana on Wednesday. She is a young mom who is dying of ovarian cancer and on hospice. She is my “Holy Week blessing” for this year and I was so impressed by her bright personality, sense of humor, and faith. Please pray for her and her family as they journey through this difficult time.

I have been going through some photos trying to put together a slideshow for a future celebration of life for my dad. I ran across the photo I have posted here of our pilgrimage to Ireland in 2012. My mom and dad as well as numerous parishioners from St. Brendan parish in Bothell and St. Vincent de Paul parish in Federal Way also joined us for the trip. It was a great experience filled with lots of laughter, great food, and getting acquainted with my Irish heritage.

Have a blessed Good Friday and most importantly I pray for a joyful celebration of Easter Sunday! 

Here is part of the message from Pope Benedict XVI I referenced earlier: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (Jn 13:1).

God loves his creature, man; he even loves him in his fall and does not leave him to himself. He loves him to the end. He is impelled with his love to the very end, to the extreme: he came down from his divine glory.

He cast aside the raiment of his divine glory and put on the garb of a slave. He came down to the extreme lowliness of our fall. He kneels before us and carries out for us the service of a slave: he washes our dirty feet so that we might be admitted to God’s banquet and be made worthy to take our place at his table—something that on our own we neither could nor would ever be able to do.

God is not a remote God, too distant or too great to be bothered with our trifles. Since God is great, he can also be concerned with small things. Since he is great, the soul of man, the same man, created through eternal love, is not a small thing but great, and worthy of God’s love.

God’s holiness is not merely an incandescent power before which we are obliged to withdraw, terrified. It is a power of love and therefore a purifying and healing power.

God descends and becomes a slave, he washes our feet so that we may come to his table. In this, the entire mystery of Jesus Christ is expressed. In this, what redemption means becomes visible.

The basin in which he washes us is his love, ready to face death. Only love has that purifying power which washes the grime from us and elevates us to God’s heights.

The basin that purifies us is God himself, who gives himself to us without reserve—to the very depths of his suffering and his death. He is ceaselessly this love that cleanses us; in the sacraments of purification—Baptism and the Sacrament of Penance—he is continually on his knees at our feet and carries out for us the service of a slave, the service of purification, making us capable of God.

His love is inexhaustible, it truly goes to the very end.

Benedict XVI, Homilies of His Holiness Benedict XVI (English) (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013).

Lessons in Prudence- Or the lack thereof

Dear Friends,

If you caught the post from Monday evening (I have since deleted it) I wanted to take a moment to apologize and didn’t mean to alarm people. That should have been something I kept for spiritual direction.

It’s amazing how a series of events can temporarily fog your judgment and vision. It all serves to remind me that I have a long way to go before the virtue of Prudence and I are good buddies!

Thanks to some rest, wonderful Scripture readings, prayers, and good friends, I am in a very different place.

I still feel the Door Prophecy is important and wanted to share that as a means of encouragement to anyone who is feeling out of of sorts and wondering why God is allowing certain things to happen in their lives, the world, Church, etc. I really do believe special graces are going to be available for us and I don’t know about you, but I sure want to accept everything the Lord offers us “for such a time as this” (cf. Esther 4:14).

Here is the Door Prophecy:

I see these two massive doors, something like what you would see on a medieval castle.  These doors are swinging open and the Lord says this,

“I grant you access to a new place, I call you to a new land.

And these doors no man can open, they can only open at my word. 

But I grant you access and I open these doors wide for you and I call you to come in.

I call you to enter to a place that no one can go without my permission. 

But not only do I grant you permission, I call you to come here.

So I call you to come through these great doors. 

What the world cannot open with its wisdom, what the world cannot open with its might, what the world cannot open with its money or its power, to them it will remain shut but to those whom I grant access, the entrance is open.

Come into a new place my people, live in a new land, dwell in a new reality, enter into the place I have prepared for you. 

You do not have to wait until you die before you enter this realm.

You do not have to wait until you die before you can live in a heavenly reality.

Enter in here and now, for by my word and by my decree these doors are now open, and you have access. 

Enter in my people.

Enter in to the privilege that I have granted you that the world does not have access to because they do not know me. 

Those who know me, I open the doors and say enter in.”

Another Day of Work in the Vineyard

The elections are over. I will refrain from commenting on the results and was reminded during Morning Prayer, that regardless of who won or what initiatives passed, the work of a disciple remains the same. Think of the countless souls who surround us everyday who don’t know the joy of claiming Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. Think of the church going people who worship from a distance, not engaging with their hearts, and how dramatically things could change if they got baptized in the Holy Spirit. The Vineyard is in desperate need of faithful workers. Hopefully, we all rolled (or crawled) out of bed with an open heart and desire to do the Lord’s work for the day.

Politicians come and go. Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, and forever! I now have the privilege of celebrating this Truth during Daily Mass.

Have a blessed day!

A Great Weekend

I was really moved by the ordination yesterday of 22 men from our Archdiocese into the permanent diaconate. Diaconal ministry is very important for the life of the Church and I was thrilled to learn about a month ago, that one of these 22 men was being assigned to St. Brendan parish to assist with ministry.

Our new deacon’s name is José Blakely. He and his wife, Lucy have been active members in our parish for a number of years. During the 4 year program of formation for deacons, the wives accompany their husbands in the classes and preparation. This provides a great opportunity for the wives to learn more about their own faith but also to understand how their husband’s ministry will impact their marriage and family. Lucy was the only wife  to complete all of the homework and papers over the  4 years of formation. The rest dropped out and many thought why should they do all this work when they weren’t being ordained. Lucy’s dedication and perseverance will help her in her work and ministry as a catechist for Confirmation and in the other ministries she serves in. Congratulations for sticking to your promise!

It sure felt great for me to work with José over the past few years and to watch him grow and prepare for diaconal ministry. I will look forward to working with him in the years ahead.

On another note, I already sent out the Daily Thought for today, but as I was reading In Conversation with God, I found a couple of paragraphs I really enjoyed and I wanted to share them in this post.

God passes alongside the lives of men giving his light and joy. In today’s First Reading the Lord rejoices at the salvation of the remnant of Israel on their return from exile to the Promised Land: See, I will bring them back from the land of the North and gather them from the far ends of earth. .. the blind and the lame. .. a great company returning here. After so much suffering, the Prophet announces the blessings of the Lord upon his People. They had left in tears, I will comfort them as I lead them back; I will guide them to streams of water, by a smooth path where they will not stumble.

Jesus fulfils all of these prophecies. He went about the world doing good,  even for those who did not ask his help. Christ is the revelation of the fullness of divine mercy to the most needy. No form of misery could separate men from Christ. He gave sight to the blind. He cured leprosy. He healed the lame and paralytics. He fed hungry multitudes. He expelled demons … He approached people who had the greatest suffering in soul or body. We are the ones who have to go to Jesus. Our eyes have been blind. .. We have lain paralysed on our mats, incapable of reaching the grandeur of God. This is why our most lovable Saviour and Healer of souls has descended from on high.

We must have complete faith in the one who saves us, in this divine Doctor who was sent with the express purpose of curing us, and the more serious or hopeless our illness is the stronger our faith has to be. There will be times in our lives when we experience more hardship than usual. We will have moments of greater temptation. We will grow weary of the struggle. We will have periods of interior darkness and trial. These are moments when we must tum to Jesus, who is always by our side. We must have a humble and sincere faith like the sick and the suffering people of the Gospels. Then we will cry out to the Master: ‘Lord, put not your trust in me. But I, I put my trust in you’. Then, as we sense in our hearts the love, the compassion, the tenderness of Christ’s gaze upon us, for he never abandons us, we shall come to understand the full meaning of those words of St Paul: ‘virtus in infirmitate petficitur’ (2 Cor 12:9). If we have faith in Our Lord, in spite of our failings – or, rather, with our failings – we shall be faithful to our Father, God; his divine power will shine forth in us, sustaining us in our weakness. What a great comfort it is for us to know that Christ is near us!

I will post the homily either tonight or tomorrow morning. I am kind of running out of steam after a busy weekend so it will most likely be tomorrow.

Have a blessed week!


I received a postcard in the mail yesterday from a supposed “Catholic” politician who is bragging about being pro-abortion. Someday we all have to give an account for our lives.

After about 13 years of serving in Project Rachel ministry (Post-Abortion healing) I don’t see how people can support that agenda when you see how it ruins and destroys people’s lives.

Someday this politician will stand before the Lord and have to give an account for her support of this. God have mercy on her soul.

The Struggle To Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle and Ministry

As part of my work in spiritual direction, my director has asked me to do a better job of keeping boundaries and having clear breaks from the parish. As a result of this counsel, I am no longer going to be receiving work emails on my iPhone or Ipad. I had an experience this past week which makes me realize this is a wise plan. Some of the emails that come in are very mean-spirited and lacking charity. I wish I could brag about having such tough skin that things like that don’t bother me, but the truth is they do. We are supposed to be holding ourselves to Christian principles when it comes to communication and interaction with one another. A lot of people completely tune this out.

I had a conversation with my dad today and told him how much I admired him because he was always able to leave work at work and be present to his family when he had  time off. As much as I like technology I am beginning to see that without some guidelines and moral principals, it has the power to seriously undermine any kind of state of good health and well-being. This is part of the reason I also changed my cell phone number. I had given the number out to way too many people and it was ringing and buzzing constantly throughout the day. That is now a thing of the past.

I am totally aware that many people struggle with this issue, especially parents. They have incredibly busy schedules with their marriages, family, and work. We all have to try and give ourselves permission to take care of ourselves and have quiet and “down time” from all the busy things in life. I am realizing more and more that you can’t rely on others to take care of yourself. I have actually been making great strides spiritually in this area of my life and I am grateful for all the grace God is giving me.  There is nothing too, like a little advice from one’s parents 🙂 And I didn’t even have to ask for it!

Bambi Is Safe From The Northrop Family

We arrived home yesterday after an unsuccessful hunting trip. My brother sent me a report from the Washington State Department of Wildlife indicating this should be a record year with the deer counts of bucks being higher than many years past. We actually didn’t see that many deer and wondered how accurate the report was. It looks like those who were praying for Bambi won out this year. 🙂

It was still fun to have a few days with my dad and brother. My dad brought his new boat up to fish on Lake Bonaparte. The fishing was really slow but I sure like the new boat. I found a picture online although my dad’s boat is black and silver.

I decided to take the North Cascades Hwy to get to Tonaskat which was 20 miles below our camp area. That was my first trip and it was very scenic. I had brought my camera to take pictures along the way but because I was three and a half hours late I didn’t take any. I’ll have to travel that way again sometime soon.

On the way home we did stop at Dry Falls and take a few pictures.

My new Iphone 5 has a panorama feature which allows you to move in a circle and it stitches the photos together. Here is one shot with my brother Joe.

Lastly, we ate at the lodge a couple of times and I really liked the nature photographs that were hanging on the wall. The first day, the artist who took the pictures stopped in. His name is James T. Jones and he is from Stanwood, WA. I ended up buying a neat picture of a cougar to hang in my office. James’ website is The photo below is a little blurry because the photograph is in glass and I didn’t want to take it out.

Homily Will Be Posted Later/Technology Victory

I forgot to bring my recorder to Mass this weekend to record the homily. As soon as the lawn crew departs with their noisy lawnmowers, I will record it.

Several years ago I purchased a DVD/VCR combo unit. I was planning on transferring VHS tapes into DVDs. I’ve only done a couple and the machine hasn’t gotten much use. All of a sudden when I went to play a DVD it would not work. It rejected every single disc I put into it. I looked the model up online and noticed a lot of people were having the same problem. The suggestion was to take it in for repair or toss it into the garbage. One person said they tried a DVD cleaning disc. I was in Target the other day and thought before throwing the unit out (repairs would probably cost as much as a new one) I would see if they had a disc to try and clean it. The gentleman at the electronics counter showed me where the DVD cleaning supplies were and pointed out one that had little brushes underneath. He said you put it in and it plays music while it cleans the laser. For $5 I figured it would be worth a try.

I came home and followed the directions and it immediately loaded the disc and began cleaning. Now every disc works in it perfectly! So if you are having problems with your DVD or Compact Disk Player, I highly recommend you try this cleaning disc. It saved me a lot of money.

The Gift of Prophecy (A Prophetic Word Given in the Presence of Pope Paul VI)

This prophetic word was given in the presence of Pope Paul VI at the end of Mass on the Monday after Pentecost in 1975. It’s not one of those “warm fuzzy” messages that many want to hear, but an urgent call to repentance and readiness for the “new” evangelization. We are definitely feeling the effects of purification as dead wood is trimmed away, which always makes way for new growth. Nonetheless, after the purification our hearts will be free and ready for the glory of a New Pentecost, a New Springtime for the Church. As in the Acts of the Apostles, this glorious outpouring of God’s grace runs parallel with tremendous persecution and many being called forward for the gift of martyrdom.

Towards the end Pope John Paul II’s encyclical The Splendor of Truth (Veritatis Splendor) he says the following:

 Finally, martyrdom is an outstanding sign of the holiness of the Church. Fidelity to God’s holy law, witnessed to by death, is a solemn proclamation and missionary commitment usque ad sanguinem, so that the splendour of moral truth may be undimmed in the behaviour and thinking of individuals and society. This witness makes an extraordinarily valuable contribution to warding off, in civil society and within the ecclesial communities themselves, a headlong plunge into the most dangerous crisis which can afflict man: the confusion between good and evil,which makes it impossible to build up and to preserve the moral order of individuals and communities. By their eloquent and attractive example of a life completely transfigured by the splendour of moral truth, the martyrs and, in general, all the Church’s Saints, light up every period of history by reawakening its moral sense. By witnessing fully to the good, they are a living reproof to those who transgress the law (cf. Wis 2:12), and they make the words of the Prophet echo ever afresh: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Is 5:20).

Although martyrdom represents the high point of the witness to moral truth, and one to which relatively few people are called, there is nonetheless a consistent witness which all Christians must daily be ready to make, even at the cost of suffering and grave sacrifice. Indeed, faced with the many difficulties which fidelity to the moral order can demand, even in the most ordinary circumstances, the Christian is called, with the grace of God invoked in prayer, to a sometimes heroic commitment. In this he or she is sustained by the virtue of fortitude, whereby — as Gregory the Great teaches — one can actually “love the difficulties of this world for the sake of eternal rewards”.

It is time to prepare for this glorious event by letting go of everything that hinders the movement of God’s grace. Many people are reading the book Unbound by Neal Lozano and addressing areas of their lives that are under strongholds from the enemy. They are experiencing freedom from sin and fear and the empowerment needed for the coming days. It is a very exciting time to be a follower of Jesus Christ!

Here is the Prophecy given in the presence of Pope Paul VI in May, 1975

B ecause I love you, I want to show you what I am doing in the world today. I want to prepare you for what is to come. Days of darkness are coming on the world, days of tribulation….Buildings that are now standing will not be standing. Supports that are there for my people now will not be there. I want you to be prepared, my people, to know only me and to cleave to me and to have me in a way deeper than ever before. I will lead you into the desert…I will strip you of everything that you are depending on now, so you depend just on me. A time of darkness is coming on the world, but a time of glory is coming for my church, a time of glory is coming for my people. I will pour out on you all the gifts of my spirit. I will prepare you for spiritual combat; I will prepare you for a time of evangelism that the world has never seen…. And when you have nothing but me, you will have everything: land, fields, homes, and brothers and sisters and love and joy and peace more than ever before. Be ready, my people, I want to prepare you…”