Lent into deeper Lent

“Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” Romans 5:5

These words of St. Paul are speaking of something greater at work at all times: the love of God. As we are being asked during our Lenten journey to give up even more in the way of social interaction, going out of our homes, and limiting our activities at a time of fear and concern this Lenten journey is getting really difficult.  The unknown is something with which we all are dealing everyday and every moment.  We are traveling in a desert that might be even more parched than we expected.  What do we lean on at times like these.  Hope in Christ.  Action through the holy Spirit.  Slowing down. Prayer.  Faith that what we are doing, staying home washing our hands, taking precautions and being careful will help in the long run.

Oakland University has gone to online classes for the rest of the semester.  St. John Fisher Chapel has cancelled worship services.  However the Chapel is open for private prayer.

In the meantime we are doing what we can to continue on with small groups, prayer, one-on-ones and Catholic Campus Ministry meetings on Thursday.

We are getting creative and we will be here for you.  Despite the pandemic and the news of the spread in the United States the team will continue to be here, in prayer, supporting, listening and being community.  Please encourage each other continue to stay connected as we go into this unknown together.

We will be doing online meetings for small groups and our Thursday meeting.

Follow us on Social Media –

Instagram/Twitter : @CCM_at_OU

Facebook: catholic campus ministry at Oakland University

Email us at catholiccampusministry@sjfcup.com

Please don’t hesitate to reach out.  Keep hope alive.

In Christ’s Peace,

Catholic Campus Ministry at Oakland University

Thanksgiving Reflection

SIR 50:22-24

PS 145: 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11

1 COR 1:3-9

LK 17: 11-19

 

The Holidays can be an especially stressful time. It can seem ironic – a time of joy and appreciation can dissolve into family drama, sleepless nights, and drained bank accounts. This time of year it is especially important to turn to and trust God. Today’s first reading, from The Wisdom of Ben Sira, emphasizes the wonderful things our God has done for us. He “fosters” us “from [our] mother’s womb”, and if we let him, he will mold us into the best versions of ourselves. During Thanksgiving it is important to reflect on the goodness that exists in our lives, to “bless the God of all”, for he “has done wondrous things on earth” for us.

Not all of us have families to go back home to, or families that can celebrate together. Many of us come from broken homes. For those people Thanksgiving can be especially difficult. For those of us with large families, coordinating Thanksgiving meals can be tricky. Navigating family feuds, illnesses, and deaths is spiritually, mentally, and emotionally tough. While it’s important to give thanks and embrace the meaning of the holiday, it’s also important to be mindful of challenges and allow ourselves the time and space needed to cope with them.

We should remember that all of us were crafted by God, and as the second reading says, none of us are “lacking in any spiritual gift”. Jesus’ life and death “enriched” us “in every way”. If the holiday season is looking to be difficult, keep Jesus’ never-ending love for us at the front of your mind.

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Kgs. 17.10-16

Ps 146

Heb 9.24-28

Mk 12.38-44

 

This week’s readings focus around generosity. And it’s appropriate too, given that Thanksgiving is fast approaching, followed by the Christmas season. The readings this week teach us lessons on how to be generous, and how to receive generosity. Elijah urged the widow to trust him when he says that God will take care of her. In the psalm, we are taught about God’s unending generosity towards those who are forgotten by the wider society: widows, orphans, strangers, and prisoners. The letter to the Hebrews tells us how Jesus “entered heaven itself that he might appear before God now on our behalf.” Jesus’ generosity and love is shown in his sacrifice for us. Finally, this week’s reading from Mark teaches us how to be generous. First, Jesus notices the widow giving what she had, and commends her for giving “from her want”. She is contrasted with the scribes, those whom everyone believed were the most generous, the most trustworthy, the most pious. Jesus, in no uncertain terms, points out that they give “from their surplus wealth”, are pious for appearance’s sake, and are not nearly as trustworthy as was once believed.

But how can we relate to these stories? Very few of us are as evil as the scribes, but very few of us give everything we have to the Church. Prophets don’t come to our doorsteps asking for cakes. God doesn’t literally fill our pots with flour.

Biblical stories can be highly metaphorical. If we look at all the readings together, it’s easier to try to decipher what they mean. In every reading, God emphasizes loving and caring for the forgotten. Who are the forgotten in our society? Who needs the most help? We’re God’s hands and feet here on earth, so it’s our job to fill the pots with flour.

Local organizations like the Catholic Community Response Team help those struggling in Pontiac. Companion Ministers give to those who need support. Forgotten Harvest and the Gleaners diminish our food waste and give food to those who need it.

But you don’t have to volunteer for a nonprofit or ministry to be generous or loving. It can be as simple as cooking a meal for someone you love, tidying the house of a sick person, or tutoring someone struggling with their classes. Thank a retail worker, compliment the chef. Incorporate some eco-friendly practices into your everyday life.

November 4th, Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

DT 6:2-6

PS 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51

HEB 7:23-28

MK 12:28B-34

“Therefore you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”

George Herbert was a 17th Century Anglican priest with a writing hobby. He was small, meek, and very humble. As he laid on his deathbed, after only three years of priesthood, he sent his poems to a friend, to be published if he thought they were suitable. Thankfully, he did, and The Temple was published in 1633.

Herbert’s personal relationship with God is on full display in The Temple. God is Love personified, a tender friend, a caring companion, a source of support, and a dutiful servant. God and Herbert often engage in dialogue where God expresses his love for him and for humanity. Herbert, in turn, sought to become the best version of himself through partaking in the Eucharist. Herbert recognized that he was sinful, that he would stumble, but he knew that he was called to love and be loved.

Herbert turned his love for Christ outward, to his parishioners and fellow people. As Christ lifted him up, he wanted to lift others. Even in death, he asked that his poetry be used to help others come to God. I decided to become Catholic after reading The Temple, so even now, 400 years later, Herbert continues to spark change in the hearts of others. We are called to do as Herbert did: to love God, and to love each other. It is not easy, and we will certainly stumble. But after we falter we should return to the baseline: God’s love for us, and our love for him.

George Herbert is commemorated on February 27th in the Anglican Calendar.

 

 

Reflection for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday Readings:

Jer. 31:7-9

Ps. 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6

Heb. 5:1-6

Mk. 10:46-52

“Be on your way. Your faith has healed you.”

Dr. Marsha Linehan has lived an unimaginably tough life. In her teens she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and placed in an institution. She recalls spending her days beating her head into the floor, hoping to crack her skull and die. No one believed she would ever make it past early adulthood.

She was released at 20 years old. Her path led her to Loyola University in Chicago, where she studied to be a theologian. She still struggled with a deep sense of self-hatred. A lifelong Catholic, she often went to a nearby chapel to pray. It was during one of these prayer sessions that an intense feeling of love washed over her. She recalls feeling love for herself, for potentially the first time. She realized that God loved her, that God loved everyone, and that she, too, was called to a life of love and servitude.

Linehan switched her major from theology to psychology, realizing that her discipleship involved teaching other suicidal people about self-love. She studied under Catholic priests and Zen Buddhist Monks to develop a core theory of Mindfulness, and then built a therapy around it. Her therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), is very successful in treating those with severe suicidal thoughts.

Dr. Linehan’s story seems like something out of a book. When she felt as though she couldn’t go on, and when it was as though her illness had utterly consumed her, she turned to God. The 20-year-old Linehan, praying alone in a chapel in Chicago, had absolutely nothing. She was blind to her own worth, her own goodness, and her own potential. Like the blind man in today’s readings, Linehan put her complete faith in Jesus, who gave her the ability to see the value of her life.

It’s something we can all learn from. What are we blind to? If we let God uncover our eyes, what will we see?