Thursday August 30, 2018 Equipped

Posted August 30, 2018 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord, equip you with all that is good, that you may do his will. May He carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever [and ever]. Amen.  Hebrews 13:20-21

I have been praying without ceasing since I heard the news about the abuse by priests in Pennsylvania.  Having been abused as a child and a victim of rape as an adult, myself, I have been grieving for the victims in a profound way.  My prayer today is for them who have now been forced to relive the torture and loss of innocence that happens when someone you trust as a child, commits horrendous acts that change your world view forever.

My prayer then is that God will equip those who are now having to testify and dredge up the hurt and powerless feelings that prevent life from ever feeling safe, a sense of peace.   God and the church that He founded by sending His only Son to die for the sins of all, needs to be a place of refuge and love.  It was not designed to ever be a place of fear or shame.  Those who are blessed to have the faith are angry with the acts of these men and angrier still with those who covered up the horrendous acts instead of demanding justice and protecting the innocence of so many.  No one ever wants to hear about someone being abused or caused pain and our church leaders should have acted swiftly to remove the temptation from these pedophiles.

Today, Catholics and all Christians, are called to support and defend God’s church and all that she stands for… love and compassion.  The two commandments that Jesus gave us, Love God and Love Neighbor as yourself were violated in the worst way.  Safeguards to prevent these actions must be in place and I believe that in most of the dioceses these steps have been taken because of earlier scandals.  We must be diligent to protect and each of us be aware so that nothing done inside the church hurts God’s people.  I know God will equip those who have suffered these atrocities and all of us with everything we need to move forward in faith to preserve our Church to continue another 2000 years and beyond.

Lord you indeed are the only one who is our safety in the storm.  Men, even men called to be Your priests are tempted and will sin.  Equip each of us to live the life that YOU are calling us to live. 

This is a link to the homily my pastor, Father Richard Trout, gave the Sunday after the news broke.  It is a moving and a very real expression of how I hope most priests feel in the aftermath of this terrible revelation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDbBf6HQcds

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Monday August 27, 2018 Endurance

Posted August 27, 2018 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

You know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.  James 1:3-4

I have learned about endurance in life and have always been amazed at the difference it has made.  When I started to swim laps, I could not get across the pool without stopping for air.  Kept at it and I could eventually do two laps and then 12 and eventually 40.  What was most remarkable was that after 40, I felt like I could swim all day but could not afford the time 😊.  I keep pushing through when the chips are down and find that I can do so much more than I ever thought I could.  I love the movie “Facing the Giants” a smart-alecky football player was mouthing off at practice one day about the team being second rate.  The coach blindfolded him and put him on the tackling sled and told him to push it with him on the sled yelling encouragements.  When all was said and done, the teen had pushed the sled the length of the football field and demonstrated to the rest of the young men what was possible.

During the storm, I never know how much I can endure.  It is only when I put my head down and push that I grow stronger.  My passions become honed and clarified during the trials and finally on the other side, I see that I am strong.  No one ever seeks to endure a hardship.  No one seeks out pain or disappointment, but it is in the fire that the gold and silver become pure.  When I live through the battles and I have relied on my God and He has supplemented my weakness, only then do I develop the Godly character and trust in Him that allows me to be complete.

Lord, only You know my breaking point.  When I am with You, I can endure everything that You allow into my life.  Help me to realize that it is only with You that I can sustain and endure to the end.  PLEASE Give me Your strength! 

Sunday August 26, 2018 Subordinate

Posted August 26, 2018 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

Brothers and Sisters: Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.  Ephesians 5: 21-22

Man did I ever struggle with this one.  For years I railed against St Paul for writing this and studied everything I could find to make it more palatable to me.  When I finally read Pope Benedict’s words that said that each of us must “Decide today whom you will serve, your own ideas and preconceptions or the Lord”, I had finally gotten some peace.  God throughout all of scripture asks His people to be subordinate to Him.  Adam and Eve were given everything, and God asked for only one thing in return… obedience.  Obedience, of course, is to subordinate ones will to another.  The Israelites who were brought out of Egypt again were only asked to be faithful to Yahweh.  Being faithful is to subordinate or serve the one to whom you pledge faith.  There is no time when God asked anything less than for His people to serve Him… subordinate their wills to His is service.

Joshua asked the people to decide who they were going to serve as they stood on the brink of entering the promised land.  He proclaimed, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”  Today if asked who you serve… what would be your answer?  What proof could you offer that you have subordinated your life to God?  I was troubled by thinking of subordination to my husband because I thought that meant I needed to be meek or docile.  Staying at home and quietly attending to his every need.  I was blessed to learn that Gary did not expect that kind of wife but instead wanted someone who appreciated him; worked side by side with him and embraced life and service with joy.  Gary and I try to create each day love of one another and our God as part of our subordination to love.  It is never easy but so worthwhile.

Lord, You have every right to ask me to be subordinate to You.  I stand before You as a child who has sinned and now seeks forgiveness.  I apologize for my willfulness and seek to honor You with my life.  Help me to embrace being subordinate, just another word for loving.

Saturday August 25, 2018 Treasure

Posted August 25, 2018 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  2 Corinthians 4:7

When St Paul wrote this verse to his church in Corinth, I imagine the Greeks spent a lot of time mulling it over.  Having a treasure hidden in a clay pot would have been the farthest from what they would have done.  To equate it to right now, it would be like saying to the Kardashians that they wear their best jewelry with a Walmart dress. The Greeks like people of our day thought that they were the center of the Universe in knowledge.  Rome owned the roads and had the military might, but smarts and art were the specialty of the Greeks.  To be told that they were not the best thing since sliced bread… well it gave them pause.

Do you think that anyone likes to be called a clay jar?  It is humbling and that is the point St Paul was trying to make.  Humility is one of the keys to being in right relationship with God.  Indeed, it is God who created all the world’s treasures and we if allowed to touch them must realize that we had nothing to do with creating them.  Our gifts are on loan.   I often marvel at the men who Jesus chose to be His apostles.  Poor uneducated men who changed the world.  I am certain that this was very intentional so that when we look back, it is easy to see that it was ONLY through God’s power that these simple fishermen were able to become the forefathers and trustees of our faith.  God’s all surpassing power changes the world.  It is up to us to allow God to take our humble clay jar and make it into a treasure.

Lord, I am Your humble servant.  How often I am blessed by Your love and amazed that You have given me any notice at all.  A scratched and old jar that could have been discarded except for Your loving ability to turn my brokenness into a testament to You.  Thank You for Your love! 

Friday August 24, 2018 Go

Posted August 24, 2018 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak.  Have no fear before them, because I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.  Jeremiah 1:7-8

There are many times that I have been afraid to move forward.  When I first started in sales, I was convinced that I would be rejected and that held me back.  Then I realized something, “NO” does not kill me.  It does not feel good, but I told myself that they were not rejecting me but were not ready to take advantage of the offer I made.  I learned to ask until someone said… NO.  In retail, I would keep bringing clothing that I knew would flatter my customer and let her pick and choose or take it all.  Which often happened.

When I sold stocks and bonds, I educated rather than sold my clients.  They knew I was honest with them and that I cared about their best interests because of the questions that I asked.  When I began leading young people in Faith Formation classes and bible studies, I was afraid that they would not relate to me, but God blessed me and them with faith and trust to learn together about God’s love.

God wants me to have no fear.  He is with me when I speak or write or create opportunities to help others recognize and achieve what is theirs to do.  If I go when He opens a door or presents an opportunity to be His emissary, I will feel His presence and I will have no fear.  I can go speak in front of strangers, I can embrace friends and give them counsel, I can pray for those who need direction and strength and HE is in all of it.  God can only use me if I say, Here I am Lord, send me… and then I go.  (Isaiah 6:8)

Lord You know that I was shy and lacking confidence as a child.  You have been my rock and my strength as I grew to be the woman I am today.  I seek to serve You in all things.  Guide me when I GO to do Your will.

 

Wednesday August 22, 2018 Shepherds

Posted August 22, 2018 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

Thus says the Lord God: Look! I am coming against these shepherds. I will take my sheep out of their hand and put a stop to their shepherding my flock, so that these shepherds will no longer pasture them. I will deliver my flock from their mouths, so it will not become their food.  Ezekiel 34:10

I am feeling much consternation and anger right now as there is throughout the whole Catholic Church about the terrible sexual abuse by clergy.  When I read this passage in Ezekiel 34:1-11; I knew that it was meant to show me that abuse is nothing new and God is the ONLY one who can deal with it completely.

There are so many opinions about how these abusers used the system and the cover up completely discourages all he faithful Catholics around the world.  There have been BAD shepherds from time and memoriam.  Because all shepherds are human and broken, sinful people save ONE!  Jesus was the only one who was without sin.  He alone was selfless, generous, and completely altruistic.  He alone put the needs of His sheep before His own.  Many are angry that the Pope’s letter to the world did not outline punishments or procedures to prevent this from happening.  In this scripture, God says that He will deliver the flock.  Nothing about slaying the shepherds or locking them up but instead focuses on the flock.  Punishment is God’s job.  He will ask that these sinners be accountable.  Laws of our country will also hold people accountable.  Our job as Church is to protect the flock.  That is all our jobs… being aware of opportunities to support and strengthen one another is crucial to our survival now.

I have been abused by someone I trusted.  I do not ever want anyone else to suffer in this way, but I cannot prevent it by legislating.  Instead, I notice people and try to listen beyond their words to allow them to share a burden.  My job is to protect the flock.

Lord, help me to always be attentive to the needs of others.  Help me to listen and provide a safe place to find solace for those in need.  If I can do something, give me the strength and the wisdom to make a difference. 

Monday August 20, 2018 Refuge

Posted August 20, 2018 by bgovanus
Categories: Uncategorized

Let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Psalm 5:11

There are many animal shelters and protective services for humans too.  When any of us are hurt, alone or in trouble we are looking for help.  The incredible thing to me that God has provided a refuge for all His children.  A safe harbor from all the storms that are a constant in this life.  My friends who have created non-profit organizations provide a refuge for a variety of people and animals who are suffering from the ill effects of sex trafficking, heart disease, cancer, poverty and abandonment.  How important it is to the many that each refuge serves to have somewhere to go to find respite.

Joy during a hard time is often hard to find.  But I have seen the difference that food makes to a hungry family, a wig makes for a woman who has lost her hair due to chemo and a hug from someone who means it only as a supportive and reassuring gesture.  In a spiritual sense the refuge that God provides can never be lost.  Even when I am sad and brokenhearted, knowing that He has overcome the world helps me to understand and embrace the hard times as what they are, a temporary stop on my journey.  The joy will come.  God heals me when I am hurting.  His refuge has no limits or boundaries.  Being able to live within His grace knowing His love makes all things more palatable.  Just like the safety provided by any refuge for animals or human beings, safety and a place to heal are a respite from life’s difficulties.

Lord, I am so blessed by the refuge that I have found in Your love and faithfulness.  I am so blessed that your refuge lasts through eternity.