Mary has requested that the daily message be given each day to the world. It is read nightly at the prayer service from her Image Building in Clearwater, Florida, U.S.A. This is according to her request. All attempts will be made to publish this daily message to the world at 11 p.m. Eastern time, U.S.A.
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August 23, 2006
August 24th Holy Spirit Novena
Scripture selection is Day 2 Period I.
The Novena Rosary Mysteries
for August 24th are Luminous.
foreign mailing of
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Pictures from the Retreat
March 13, 2006
Happy Birthday Mike!!
And many more!!!
March 12, 2006
This is how the creek looked around China during the retreat today.
March 11, 2006
From the Retreat
July 13, 2006
Homily by Fr. Mike
Hey, Rita. The building down in Clearwater - You got it free, right? You don't have to pay a dime for it, is that correct? No way, right? No way, it's not correct.
I look out and - what about the houses and homes that you all own. They were all given to you, right? You don't have to pay a dime for them? No way, right?
Are there any cars amongst us? Do any of us own cars? We all got them free, right? Yeah, right.
What about, what about the shoes on your feet? Were they free? I mean, okay, even if they were a gift some Christmas, were they free to the person who gave them to you then?
All things in life, then, are things we have to pay for to get them? I think that our lives kind of teach us that. And I think, sometimes, that idea then spills over into our spirituality, and our concept of faith.
That there's a startling proclamation, a tremendous bit of good news that is given to us today in the Gospel, which of course means Good News.
"Without cost, you have received."
Let's think about that for a second. I want to ask a question. Without cost, you have received. What is it that Jesus is referring to? I think that He is referring to what the disciples have received. They have received the Good News. They have received Christ in their life. They have received salvation.
"Without cost, you have received."
So, this is the question. How much does it cost to get salvation? How much does it cost to be a member of the Church? How much does it cost to receive?
What do you think?
You know, it's interesting. When I have asked a similar question of people who are away from the Church, or people who are struggling being in the Church because of an issue akin to this, these are some if the answers I get.
"Well, the Church wants, well, 10% of everything I make or maybe even more, because they talk about a sacrificial gift. It's too costly." They don't need that. Ever heard someone say that to you before, or heard other people talk about that?
Or here's another one. "You know what? They just want all of my time up there at church. It costs too much to be a member of the Church."
Or if you have people that have incredible talents, you know like builders or plumbers. It's true, they get tapped on a lot. "Hey, do you think you could fix this?" And so they will say, the cost is too much. The cost is too much.
Or here's another one I hear: "The cost for salvation is my life! I gotta give my life! It's too much." Or here's a great gripe I hear: "You know, in order to be a Catholic, in order to be a disciple of Jesus, I gotta give up my freedom. Costs too much!"
But Jesus says, "Without cost, you have received."
It's very important that we ponder these words, and allow them to take deep root in our hearts and in the depths of our souls, and to capture our minds. Because it will transform our lives as God wants them to be transformed.
"Without cost, you have received."
All that we have, all that we are, even the salvation and its completeness that we long for in the glories of heaven, all of it is gift. We have done nothing to merit it, nor is there anything we can do to merit it. It is pure gift given to us. No payment needed. Without cost, we have received.
I'm going to ask you a couple of questions, then. What did you do, how much did you pay for your life, and how much do you continue to pay to have it now? Nothing. It's a gift, a gift from God.
Did you eat today? Will you eat later today? What did you pay, in order for the seed and the animal to grow, which will nourish you? Nothing. You can't do it, God does it. It's a gift from God to us.
Salvation. What did you do to merit salvation?
It's not true, what you're thinking, it's not true. Jesus says, in describing this He says, "You know what, there was a servant. And the servant does exactly what the master wants him to do."
You know what Jesus says about that servant? He's useless. He's useless, he's only done what he's supposed to do. And so when we do what God wants us to do, what are we doing? We're only doing what we're supposed to do! We're not doing anything extra!
When do you normally give someone a merit, a reward? Or as we used to call it when I was working as an engineer, an "Atta boy" or an "Atta girl", "Keep up the good work." Are they not normally given, and indeed, are given when we have done something over and beyond what we're supposed to be doing? That's what merit is about. That's what reward is about.
But when we do what God wants us to do, all we're doing is what we're supposed to be doing, nothing more! We can't go around, "Waaah! Look at me! I did such great things today for God! And now, you know what, God owes me." Wrong, it's not true. We've only done what we're supposed to do.
So we're not useless in the sense of, well you know, we didn't do good. But we're useless in the sense, that we haven't done anything more than we are supposed to do, and need to do.
And so salvation, also, is a wondrous gift from God. "Without cost, you have received." It's been given, and it has been accepted. And all of that, in the giving, and in the accepting, it is done without cost. In the giving and in the accepting, it has been done without cost. What you have received, you have received without cost.
Now think about this along the terms of our human relationships. Think of those people in your life, and I'll think about the people in my life, that really are incredible givers, if you will, in your life - in my life. You know the kind of people I'm talking about. Those people where it's like, wow, if that person wasn't in my life, my life would not be rich, it wouldn't be full. It wouldn't be complete.
And when we think about those people in our lives, what we recognize is they're giving to us and we're receiving those gifts from them, right? It's true, isn't it? And it's not just the matter that they're giving us gifts like material gifts, it's the matter of sharing life, and enriching our life with their presence, most of all. And that's what salvation ultimately is, it's God's presence in our lives.
So when we think about our human relationships, about those people who enrich our lives like that, what is our normal response in those relationships? Don't we want to reciprocate as best we can? Aren't we pulled into the relationship in such a way that we give back, in the way that we can give back, out of gratitude? I think that's what happens, and we do it not expecting anything back. Because we have recognized how incredibly enriched we have been by that person's life, in our lives.
"Without cost, you have received. Without cost you are to give." This, my dear friends, is what stewardship is about in our lives.
Many times we get the proverbial cart before the horse. We think stewardship is about funding projects, like paying for a building in Clearwater. We think that stewardship is about putting in our time, so that the Newsletter gets out. We think stewardship is about using our talents, so the grotto gets built and the plumbing gets put in. That's not what stewardship's about.
Stewardship is a way of living. It's a matter of recognizing that without cost we have received, that everything that we are, we have, everything that we hope to have, is gift from God. And that our God loves us so much, that God will continually, always and forever uphold us and provide for us - through the gift of, yes, material goods, but also through the gift of friends. And most of all through the gift of spiritual goods that are poured into our lives, like this Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - the gift beyond price, so we can't pay for it.
And when we realize, indeed, that without cost we have received, and that means everything, that it moves us to that point of gratitude so we do things out of thanksgiving. We do things to express how much we are grateful to God.
We live our lives in accord to God's Word, according to God's plan, according to the commandments of God - not because we're fearful of condemnation, and not because we're earning our salvation, but because we are grateful to God and we want to live in accord with the God Who loves us and saves us, out of thanksgiving.
And the reason why we reach into our pocketbooks, and give of our time, and give of our talents, is for the same reason - out of gratitude.
And yes, for some of us it takes on another dimension. It's a matter of giving of our time and our lives in such a way, that they are dedicated in a unique way, in religious life and priesthood. But still lived out of thanksgiving to God, Who has given us all that we have, including life and breath, and salvation, as gift.
And so on this day, let us take some time to ponder more deeply, so that our lives might be transformed more completely. Let us the ponder the fact - without cost we have received, so that we might be invigorated to live our faith-lives in every aspect of our living, in a way that without cost, we give.
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