Steph Curry and Lent

I just watched an ESPN video on how bad Steph Curry’s ankles used to be. (http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/14750602/how-golden-state-warriors-stephen-curry-got-best-worst-ankles-sports) I guess there was some question about whether or not he would ever reach his full potential due to his bad ankles. He ended up having two surgeries on his right ankle within two month. In his rehab, he worked hard to increase his core strength so that he didn’t have to rely on his ankles. He could rely more on his hips and other parts of his bodies to break other people’s ankles with his moves. At one point the journalist notes that Curry would rather have had bad ankles than good ankles. Why? Because without the bad ankles, he would not have remade, re-sculpted his body into arguably the best player in the NBA.

Which brings me to Lent. In the Exsultet that the priest sings at the Easter Vigil, there is a line that says, “O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the Death of Christ! O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!” Does God want us to sin? No, never! But God used Adam’s sin to send us Jesus. I love these lines. There is so much to ponder and pray about. So much mystery and love contained in these events. Again, did God want Adam to sin? No. But did God use this evil for a greater good? Infinitely so!!!!! As I tell people when I go over Genesis, when I go over Salvation history, God gave Adam and Eve eternal life in the Garden of Eden. Awesome, right? But after Adam and Eve sin, God kicks them out of the Garden. Why? Because the Tree of Life was there. God wanted to spare Adam and Eve the conundrum of living in world filled with evil, disease, and discord for an eternity. Instead God kicks them out of the Garden of Eden, away from the Tree of Life, and allows them to die. But before He does, He promises to send someone who will strike the Serpent (the Devil) in the head. (Genesis 3:16) Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, Adam and Eve, and all of us, now have the opportunity not for just eternal life on earth, but enteral life in heaven, face to face with God, living in the midst of the Trinity, Love Itself.

Because of Original sin, because of our own sins, our own faults, we have received a Redeemer. Yes, we are sinners. But if we let Him, God can use our sins, our faults, to make us into even better sons and daughters of God. We can reach the supernatural potential God created us for. As Father Mike Schmitz said in his Ash Wednesday video (http://ascensionpresents.com/video/the-significance-of-ash-wednesday/), “The ashes remind us that we are sinners. The cross (of the ashes) remind us that we have a Savior.”

Like Steph Curry, in Christ, our greatest weaknesses can become our greatest strengths. That is the hope and promise that Jesus gives us during this time of Lent. That if we face our great weaknesses with God’s grace, He can turn them into our greatest triumphs.

Bulletin Article for the Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (February 7, 2016)

Hello, hello. It’s that time of year again. This coming Wednesday, we get burnt blessed palm branches on our foreheads. You probably already knew that, but yes, the ashes we use on Ash Wednesday are made from burning the blessed palm branches from Palm Sunday. Ash Wednesday services will be: St. Casimir’s at 8:30 AM, Our Lady of Mount Carmel at 12 noon, and St. John the Baptist at 6:00 PM.

There are two parts to being Catholic and living through Lent: abstaining from meat and fasting. Fasting is done on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting means that one is permitted to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may also be eaten, but combined, they must not be equal to or greater than one full meal. And no snacking. Fasting, unless for medical reasons, is binding on Catholics who are between the ages of 18 and 59. Fasting trains our will to be stronger. Instead of our body being in charge of us, by fasting, we train our wills to be in change of our bodies. Plus, it puts us in solidarity of those who have nothing or very little to eat. Also, we can spend the time we would have spent eating in other ways, such as praying for the souls in Purgatory. Abstaining from meat means just that, not eating meat. Fish and other sea food is okay. Abstaining from meat should happen on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Fridays of Lent. This is binding on all Catholics ages 14 and up. Abstaining from meat again puts in solidarity with those who do not have enough to eat an extravagant meal. So I think you should make a steak from the little ones on Fridays while the parents eat tofu. Just kidding.

Stations of the Cross will take place at 2:25 every Tuesday at St. Casimir’s. We will also have Stations every Wednesday at 6 PM. This will move around so check the bulletin.

We will have our Lenten Communal Reconciliation service at 6:30 PM, Wednesday, March 16th.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of James Hefner of Minnesota Lake.

Also, next weekend I will be gone on Saturday for a friends wedding in Cedar Rapids, IA. You can pray for them too. Father Stenzel will be worshiping with you in Minnesota Lake. I will be back to worship with St. Casimir and Our Lady of Mount Carmel communities on Sunday morning.

I pray you have an awesome blessed week,
Father Vogel

Bulletin Article for the Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (January 31, 2016)

Since I’m at Mass, you can see that I survived my trip out east. What a glorious adventure! We left Wednesday evening after having Mass with Bishop Quinn in Winona. We had a charter bus full of people, mostly high school kids. Along the way, we ran into some people from Ohio who decided to turn around and go back home because they were afraid of the storm. However, we soldiered on. We arrived in Washington, D.C. Thursday afternoon. We went out to eat and then went to the Life is Very Good Rally in Arlington, VA. The Sister of Life were there. What an awesome group of holy, young nuns. They are so beautiful! They just radiate God’s love and joy. Afterwards we got some much needed rest in a real bed. Friday morning came and we went to the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. We had some great talks and Mass with the Cardinal Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, D.C. After Mass, we marched with the other people at the Mass down towards the Mall. However, we never reached the Mall. We never reached the other marchers. We took a left turn before the Mall and headed east towards Union Station. We got on the bus and were leaving Washington, D.C. by 12 noon. I was all for staying and marching with the hundreds of thousands of other people, but Ben Frost, the director of youth ministry for the diocese was wiser than I am. Our leaving at 12 noon made all the difference. We were able drive straight back to Minnesota without any problems. However, some who stayed for the whole March and left later were not so lucky. I’m sure some of you have heard that some of the marchers got stranded on the interstate in Pennsylvania. You may or may have not seen pictures of the Mass they had in the ditch while they were waiting. Here is a picture of the snow Mass.

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I was kind of bummed that the Storm Jonas had kept marchers away, including us. However, the positive publicity that the Snow Mass and other things have received, even in the secular media, was a gift from God that could not have been foreseen. Our God is good. All the time. You can read an extended version of my experiences on the March for Life trip on my blog: http://www.fathervogel.wordpress.com.

As I mentioned last weekend, this week is Catholic Schools week. Please support and pray for our school.

I pray you have a blessed week,

Father Vogel