Weekly thoughts presented by our Pastor, Father Andrew Drapper T.O.R.

Archived lower on this page are the Ponderings of our former pastor, Father Andrew Stanko.

14 July, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – July 14, 2019 – God, Help Me to Believe

2019-07-15T09:22:51-04:00

Anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists, and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.
        [Hebrews 11:6 msg]

You can believe in God, yet lack faith that he cares enough to respond to your heartfelt prayers.

Many people have been disappointed when past prayers weren’t answered, and have come to believe that God doesn’t usually involve himself with people today. They basically believe that God has already done as much as he is ever going to do, and that from here on, it’s up to us to work hard, seize opportunities, and take care of ourselves.

Small wonder that we don’t bother to spend time in prayer! We think that we can manage life without God’s help.

Now, God expects you to work hard to provide for your needs, and he expects you to think hard to solve problems, but he’s still active in the world. He still helps the helpless. Yes, he does care. And yes, he responds to those who earnestly seek him. But you have to continually seek him and not give up.

God, help me to believe not only that you’re there, but that you’re there for me. Help me to diligently seek you and not give up when you don’t answer immediately.    Amen.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – July 14, 2019 – God, Help Me to Believe2019-07-15T09:22:51-04:00
7 July, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – July 7, 2019 – Prayers are Precious Jewels

2019-07-07T22:23:20-04:00

The Lord sees the good people and listens to their prayers.      ( 1 Peter 3:12)

You and I live in a loud world. To get someone’s attention is no easy task. He or she must be willing to set everything aside to listen: turn down the radio, turn away from the monitor, turn the corner of the page and set down the book.

When someone is willing to silence everything else so he can hear us clearly, it is a privilege. A rare privilege, indeed.

[Your] prayers are honored [in heaven] as precious jewels. Purified and empowered, the words rise in a delightful fragrance to our Lord….Your words do not stop until they reach the very throne of God. Your prayer on earth activates God’s power in heaven and “God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Your prayers move God to change the world. You may not understand the mystery of prayer. You don’t need to.

But this much is clear: Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – July 7, 2019 – Prayers are Precious Jewels2019-07-07T22:23:20-04:00
30 June, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – June 30, 2019 – It’s Your Choice

2019-07-06T16:28:59-04:00

If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives to follow me.                                   (Mark 8:34)

 

On one side stands the crowd. Jeering. Baiting. Demanding. On the other stands a peasant. Swollen lips. Lumpy eye. Lofty promise. One promises acceptance, the other a cross. One offers flesh and flash, the other offers faith.

The crowd challenges: “Follow us and fit in.” Jesus promises, “Follow me and stand out.”

They promise to please. God promises to save. God looks at you and asks, “Which will be your choice.?”

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – June 30, 2019 – It’s Your Choice2019-07-06T16:28:59-04:00
23 June, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – June 23, 2019 – Loss of Those We Love

2019-06-22T23:01:48-04:00

      “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

I recently read of a woman who lost three sons in a fishing accident; the tragedy happened off the coast of Alaska. The boat was lost in a storm, and neither the boat nor her three young sons were ever found.

She told the writer that the years following the tragedy were years of more terrible loss: there were times when she thought she’d lose her faith. Her surviving sons and daughters lovingly encouraged her to believe that her sons were with God and would never again be lost.

She said that she finally found peace through her faith. Faith in Jesus does not mean that we can expect shelter from life’s deepest pains. But when those pains come our way, something can awaken in us, a realization that Jesus is a healing and living part of our loss, our sufferings.

He lives in our ashes and will lead us to a place where we can learn–and love from–the loss of those we loved and who are now in paradise.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – June 23, 2019 – Loss of Those We Love2019-06-22T23:01:48-04:00
16 June, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – June 16, 2019 – A Daily Blessing

2019-06-22T23:00:24-04:00

I ask the Father in his great glory to give you the power to be strong inwardly through his Spirit.    [Ephesians 3:16]

Here is a scene repeated in Brazil thousands of times daily…

It’s early morning. Time for young Marcos to leave for school. As he gathers his books and heads for the door, he pauses by his father’s chair. As he searches his father’s face, Marcos asks, “Blessings Father?” The father raises his hand and assures his son “God bless you, my son.” Father and child part for the day, a blessing requested, a blessing willingly given.

We should do the same. Like a child longing for the father’s favor, each of us needs a daily reminder of our heavenly Father’s love.

Happy Father’s Day!!

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – June 16, 2019 – A Daily Blessing2019-06-22T23:00:24-04:00
7 June, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – June 9, 2019 – Led by the Spirit

2019-06-07T20:12:00-04:00

Led By The Spirit – The true children of God are those who let God’s Spirit lead them.    (Romans 8:14)

To hear many of us talk, you’d think we didn’t believe that verse. You’d think we didn’t believe in the Trinity. We talk about the Father and study the Son – but when it comes to the Holy Spirit, we are confused at best, and frightened at worse.

Confused, because we’ve never been taught. Frightened, because we’ve been taught to be afraid.

May I simplify things a bit? The Holy Spirit is the presence of God in our lives, carrying on the work of Jesus. The Holy Spirit helps us in three directions–inwardly (by granting us the fruits of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22-24), upwardly (by praying for us, Rom. 8:26) and outwardly by (pouring God’s love into our hearts, Rom. 5:5).

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – June 9, 2019 – Led by the Spirit2019-06-07T20:12:00-04:00
2 June, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – June 2, 2019 – I Choose (continued)

2019-06-02T11:40:50-04:00

I CHOOSE KINDNESS…

I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I CHOOSE GOODNESS…

I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.

I CHOOSE FAITHFULNESS…

Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.

I CHOOSE GENTLENESS…

Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand may it be only of myself.

from Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – June 2, 2019 – I Choose (continued)2019-06-02T11:40:50-04:00
26 May, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – May 26, 2019 – I Choose

2019-06-02T11:36:19-04:00

It’s quiet. It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still dark. The world is still asleep. The day is coming. In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the tracks with the sun rising. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the hustle and bustle of all creation. For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I make a choice. With my morning offering I will choose.

I CHOOSE LOVE…

No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

I CHOOSE JOY…

I will invite my God to be the God of circumstances. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical, the tool of a lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less that an opportunity to see God.

I CHOOSE PEACE..

I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.

I CHOOSE PATIENCE…

I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clenching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

… to be continued next bulletin from Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – May 26, 2019 – I Choose2019-06-02T11:36:19-04:00
19 May, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – May 19, 2019 – St. Rita

2019-05-24T16:00:25-04:00

May 22nd is the feast of St. Rita of Cascia, the patron saint for hopeless causes … and the patron saint of baseball, thanks to the Disney movie, The Rookie.

In the 1920s, a community of religious women in west Texas invested in an oil well that didn’t produce. Unable to get their money back, their bishop advised them to pray to St. Rita, the patron saint for hopeless cases. The sisters did, the oil well began to gush, and they got their money back … and more.

While the workers waited for that well to produce, they built a ballfield nearby and played baseball to pass the time. When St. Rita answered the sisters’ prayers, the ballplayers soon began to wear St. Rita medals whenever they played. The incident was featured in The Rookie.

St. Rita was born in Italy in 1386 to older parents known for they charity. As a little girl, she dreamed of entering the Augustinian convent in Cascia. But her parents wanted her to marry, and promised their 12 year-old daughter in marriage to the local town watchman. Although her husband was abusive and unfaithful, Rita stayed married to him for 18 years, and the couple had twin sons. When her husband was murdered, she tried to prevent her sons from avenging his death. Through her prayers, her sons learned to forgive their father’s killers.

Rita eventually entered the Augustinian convent at Cascia. She died of tuberculosis on May 22, 1457. She was canonized on May 24, 1900.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – May 19, 2019 – St. Rita2019-05-24T16:00:25-04:00
12 May, 2019

Pastor’s Ponderings – May 12, 2019 – Saint Isidore

2019-05-18T08:08:36-04:00

SAINT ISIDORE – FEAST DAY MAY 15

Isidore “the farmer” was born in Madrid, Spain, to a family of poor farm laborers. He and his  wife, St. Maria (Torribia) de la Cabeza, spent their lives working on the estate of Juan de Vergas and  were renowned for their piety, love of animals and generosity to the poor.

After Isidore’s death many miracles were attributed to him, including the cure of King Philip III (1615), who saw to it that Isidore was formally canonized.

St. Isidore is a patron of farmers and rural communities and of the city of Madrid. May we thank God for all the farmers, men and women, who work so hard that we may eat.

As many in the parish and our community prepare to plant their gardens this spring, let us ask St. Isidore to grant us good weather and a good growing season.

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.

Pastor’s Ponderings – May 12, 2019 – Saint Isidore2019-05-18T08:08:36-04:00