March 30 Reflection by Deacon Kurt

Monday March 30, 2020

Daniel 13:1-62

Gospel John 8:1-11

Happy Monday, my friends. I pray today finds you and yours well and safe. This past week, members of the parish staff telephoned parishioners who fall into the “at risk” age group to check in on them. Over 1200 names on that list, thats a good 25% of the parish. For the most part everyone is doing good. If you need assistance or know someone who may need help with picking groceries or perscriptions or may want someone to call and pray with them, we have a group of volunteers ready to assist you. The parish has set up a special number to call, 630-615-7656.

With the shelter in order in place and so many affected by workplace cutbacks, we find ourselves with much extra time on our hands, myself included. While I have done my share of “binge watching” some past favorite TV shows and movies, I have tried to spend some extra time in prayer and quiet time with the Lord. What I have found though, is that at times, I have forgotten that we are still in the season of Lent. It’s easy for me, working at St Raphael, to take advantage of all that is there. I can just walk down the hall to Mass, Adoration, Rosary in the Chapel, hit the fish fry then walk down to Stations of the Cross, its all right there for me. Now, it takes effort on my part to get up and watch the Mass, to say a Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet, and sometimes, I’m not very successful. I believe the Diocese, St Raphael and the entire Catholic Church has done a wonderful job in giving us the resources via the Internet to continue practicing our faith and I really appreciate the efforts, but what it’s lacking, my friends is you. It’s the community that makes St Raphael, St Raphael. It’s the gathering together, shoulder to shoulder and face to face that brings our faith alive, the examples of devotion we see in each other, those people we see across the church and admire the faith they have. It’s infectious (in a good way), it helps to make us better Catholics, and brings us closer to our Creator.

So my challenge for all of us, is to help each other remember that it IS Lent, tell us what you are doing at home, with your family and friends, that is continuing your preparation for the Sacred Triduum, Holy Thursday is only 12 days away after all. Lets use the social media we have at our hands for more than pithy comments and pictures of last night’s dinner. Post a picture of your family praying together, let us know if you picked up groceries for a shut in neighbor, connect with that group you usually pray with. I know that RCIA is still meeting on Sundays via ZOOM, the men’s Cursillo group is working on digitally grouping, CREEDS has Fr Bob taping the last few lessons of the year for them to watch on line. Even though, we are seperated by distancing, we can still be Christ for one another and be proactive in helping one another get to heaven. 

With this time of isolation we have, it might be a good opportunity to spend some time in introspection and look at some areas in our lives we need to work on. The Seven Deadly Sins can be a good place to begin. Like an Examination of Conscience before Confession, looking at the 7 Deadlys can be a way to determine where we are lacking and that which can be fatal to our Spiritual Progress. As a reminder, they are: Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed and Sloth…just about covers my week. Our readings today, sorry it took me so long to get to this, both deal with false accusations and jugement. Jesus was victum to both so clearly illustrated, as we will see, in the Triduum. But in both of these readings, someone comes to their aid, Daniel and Jesus. Like these two men, lets be there for those in need, not in judgement (judge not, lest ye be judged) but in aid and compassion. We can draw a great example from todays readings, may we also be great examples for each other.

This Lent I have been reading The Imitation of Christ , below is it’s passage on Avoiding Hasty Judgements, it’s a good one, very relatable to today’s reading:

Avoiding Rash Judgment TURN your attention upon yourself and beware of judging the deeds of other men, for in judging others a man labors vainly, often makes mistakes, and easily sins; whereas, in judging and taking stock of himself he does something that is always profitable. We frequently judge that things are as we wish them to be, for through personal feeling true perspective is easily lost. If God were the sole object of our desire, we should not be disturbed so easily by opposition to our opinions. But often something lurks within or happens from without to draw us along with it. Many, unawares, seek themselves in the things they do. They seem even to enjoy peace of mind when things happen according to their wish and liking, but if otherwise than they desire, they are soon disturbed and saddened. Differences of feeling and opinion often divide friends and acquaintances, even those who are religious and devout. An old habit is hard to break, and no one is willing to be led farther than he can see. If you rely more upon your intelligence or industry than upon the virtue of submission to Jesus 20 Christ, you will hardly, and in any case slowly, become an enlightened man. God wants us to be completely subject to Him and, through ardent love, to rise above all human wisdom.

Blessing to you all, may you remain safe and healthy

deacon kurt