Deacon Lincoln’s Log 1-29-17

Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay

“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted… Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Mt. 5:4,7

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.”

“At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.”
— C.S. Lewis, opening paragraphs of A Grief Observed

Winter is often a time when we grieve. If you have lost a loved one recently, the grief is acute. But all of us carry grief with us and the long, gray days of winter can bring it out. As I meet with people, I hear how much loss we each bear. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom that help me in my own “dark times” of grief, that might help you.

  • Pray, pray, pray. God understands and heals the broken heart. His own heart has been broken and in love, he comes to us in our pain. Bring your grief to the Lord.
  • The loss takes time to process. It runs its course. Grief comes in waves and sometimes all you can do is ride the wave, but it does diminish.
  • It is OK to be happy, even if you are grieving. Laughter and joy are more fundamental that sadness and sorrow.
  • Cherish the real gifts rather than the loss of what might have been. Our minds can pull us into the world of imagination and trick us into dwelling on what might have been.. This can prevent us from being grateful for the real gifts we have received.
  • Turn to others for support when you need it. Spending time with others and making new memories can help us out of the darkness and loss. If you find yourself unable to cope, seek others to walk with you. Sometimes professional therapy is necessary or joining a support group (St. Rose and St. Mary’s offers a support group periodically throughout the year).
  • Grief is a part of love. The risk of love will lead us into grief, but our faith tells us that love is eternal and all tears will be wiped away when we are united with one another in heaven.

As a community of disciples of Jesus, we are called to reach out to one another. If you know someone is hurting, reach out to them with a kind word and an offer of assistance. If you are hurting, turn to the Lord and to one another.


Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood

Deacon Lincoln’s Log 1-22-17


“Jesus called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.”

Mt. 4:22

“As members of the Church, Jesus calls us to be disciples. This has astonishing implications:

  • Mature disciples make a conscious decision to follow Jesus, no matter what the cost.
  • Christian disciples experience conversion – life-shaping changes of mind and heart – and commit their very selves to the Lord.
  • Christian stewards respond in a particular way to the call to be a disciple. Stewardship has the power to shape and mold our understanding of our lives and the way in which we live.” (from Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response)

Each one of us has been called by Jesus. Following that call, we enter onto the same path that Peter, Andrew, James, and John began in today’s Gospel. It is the path of discipleship. The path is filled with joy and sorrow, loss and recovery, healing and pain. Today’s Gospel highlights a particular pattern we all encounter on this path of discipleship: leaving and following.

Peter and the others left their boats and their father. Their jobs and their families were less important than following Jesus! Our own path as disciples also entails leaving. Each of us leaves behind whatever it is that gets in the way of following Jesus: our ego, our pride, our greed…. We leave it behind and take the next step as disciples.

And those steps, like Peter, Andrew, James, and John’s steps, lead us down a path filled with generosity and sacrifice. ““Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt. 16:24). The early disciples were often confused about what Jesus was asking of them, but it was always clear that His call was to generously serve the “little ones” (see Mt. 25).

Our call is the same. How are we following the Lord?

You received a stewardship flyer in the mail recently. It is an opportunity to respond to Jesus call to sacrificial service and generosity. Take some time to complete the flyer and return it to the parish. God calls us together to follow Jesus.


Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood

Deacon Lincoln’s Log 1-15-17

Sala capitolare di s. felicita, volta con virtù di di niccolò gerini, 1390 ca. fedeBy Sailko (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

“Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…”
1 Cor. 1:1

‘You did not choose me,’ Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I chose you.’ This affronts our ego because we like to be in charge of our own choices. But finding a spiritual teacher is not like signing up for a course at college. The Christian disciple feels he or she has been chosen and has given their consent to this calling.
Laurence Freeman, First Sight: The Experience of Faith

This weekend we transition from the Christmas season to the season of Ordinary Time. Ordinary time is a time to reflect on our call to be disciples of Jesus. Today’s readings highlight God’s call  to discipleship and ask us for our response.

St. Paul had a powerful experience of being called on the road to Emmaus (see Acts 9). He knew that he was responding to God’s call.  He was “called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God… “ (1 Cor. 1:1) and he responded with deeper faith every day.

John the baptist recognized his call when he saw “the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon [Jesus]” (Jn. 1:33). His response deepened from being a prophet, to being a witness, to being a martyr. John responded with greater fidelity each day to the Lord’s invitation to discipleship.

Sometimes we think that we have chosen to follow Jesus. We decide to follow Jesus. We can even take pride in this. “Surely Jesus appreciates having such a great disciple as me” we think to ourselves. But the truth is that, like Paul and John and every disciple, we do not choose Jesus, we simply respond to His call.

Ordinary time reminds us of that call. Jesus’ call comes to us at every moment. He invites us to deeper love of God. He summons us to deeper service of our neighbor. He asks us to love even our enemy.

How will you respond to Jesus’ call today?


Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood

Prayer in the Catholic Tradition

 Chapter 1 Prayerfulness by Robert Wicks

The first chapter, written by the editor Robert Wicks, is a helpful introduction to the idea of prayerfulness. While the chapter doesn’t explicitly state it, the term “prayerfulness” is a play on the term “mindfulness” derived from Buddhism and used in meditation circles.
Simply put, prayerfulness is

prayerfulness — that is, being in the present with our eyes wide open to the presence and reflection of God in all things, including ourselves. (p. 6)


prayerfulness is being in the now with our eyes open to the presence of God. (p. 11)

Wicks begins by describing Jesus call to a new way of life:

  1. in place of power, the call is to friendship and service
  2. in place of success, the call is to faithfulness
  3. in place of certainty, the call is to face their doubts and
  4. in place of retribution, the call is to forgive and love (p. 5)

Following this is a brief discussion (and a table) exploring the fruits of prayerfulness.  Examples from the chart include:

Prayerfulness can

  • lift us out of stagnant, obsessive thought patterns
  • help us to forgo the comfort of denial and avoidance for the peace that allows us to fear nothing but instead welcome all of our emotions, cognitions (ways of thinking, perceiving, and understanding), and impulses with compassion and clarity
  • open up true space for others by opening it up in ourselves
  • encourage us to wonder more about what thoughts, emotions, and events help us create peace rather than suffering
  • make us more in tune with the voice of God that is continually being drowned out by society and our own habitual voices

Wicks goes on to discuss ways to strengthen our prayerfulness, outlining key elements of a rule of life

  • Liturgy
  • Faith sharing
  • Formal prayer
  • Reflection during the day
  • Spiritual reading
  • Sacred Scripture
  • Journaling and theological reflection
  • Prayer in silence and possibly solitude
  • Hospitality

The chapter concludes with common questions about prayerfulness structured in terms of our presence to God (prayer), others (compassion), and self (fullness).

Wicks draws heavily on the thought of Merton and Nouwen in this chapter. His structure is more pastoral and psychological than theological. The influence of the mindfulness movement on the chapter is apparent.

All that being said, the chapter is a helpful reference and framework for those beginning along the spiritual path. It lays out the path of discipleship and the fruits of the spiritual life. In particular, the rule of life is helpful to share with anyone actively engaged in the spiritual life. As an opening chapter to a book on prayer in the Catholic Tradition the chapter does its job well.

Here is the quote from today’s homily:

“The bible does not concern itself anywhere with pastoral plans and strategies. Instead, on almost every page it reveals that God does not act anywhere and everywhere, but in a concrete place. God does not act at any and every moment, but at a particular time. God does not act through anyone and everyone,but through people God chooses. If we do not come to recognize that again, there will be no renewal of the Church in our time, for this principle of salvation history is true today as well.”

-From Does God Need the Church by Gerhard Lohfink [emphasis added]

What do you think?

How God Acts