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Wednesday, 12 April 2017 14:23

Lord, If You Had Been Here

Lord If You Had Been Here

While on vacation in Florida, I had a chance to talk with one of the neighbors, also a vacationer. We talked briefly about baseball, the beach, and getting away from the winter snow, but then the conversation became serious.

She shared with me that she had lost her son to heroin only months before. He was in his early 20’s and you could immediately tell that he was the love of her life.

“I will never get over his loss,” she quietly confided. “This trip is the first time I have left my house since his death.” 

“I’m so sorry for your loss,” I replied. “I know that it is something that will always be with you.”

“Thank you!” she blurted out, “for not telling me that I will get over this. I will never get over this! Why does God let this happen?”

Haven’t we all heard that question before? Where was God in the massacres in the Middle East? Where was God in the shootings at the mall, in schools, and movie theaters? How could God let this happen?

During Lent, we heard the gospel story of the death of Jesus’ dear friend Lazarus. There is an answer to this tough question to be found in John’s Gospel. (11:1-44)

Both Martha and Mary confronted Jesus with that same question. When Martha went out to meet Jesus, you could tell by her voice that she was deeply saddened by her loss.

“If you had only been here,” she offered. “Lazarus would not have died.” It was almost as if she was blaming Jesus, even if just in the inflection of her voice.

Jesus then asked her a profound question, one that he is asking each of us, especially when we have suffered a loss:

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:23-26

Good question, right? Do we really feel that by believing in Jesus we will never die? Do we believe that death is not the end, that we shall have eternal life?

Truth is we all will die. Some at childbirth, some after a long life, but we all will die one day. We certainly can’t resent that loss and blame God for that fact.

Mary too, asked this question.

And, what did Jesus do? Jesus, not only divine but fully human as well, did what we all do, Jesus wept! Jesus loved his friend Lazarus, and He loved Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha, as if they were his own.

Jesus was moved to tears. Jesus mourned the loss of his friend. It is OK to morn. It is OK to cry. It is normal, natural, and expected to have a deep sense of loss.

But, if we honestly believe that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, and that if we truly believe we shall never die, then we understand that our relationship and bonds with Jesus are not severed at death. Death is not the end of Jesus’ bond with Lazarus and death is not the end for us either.

The scene at the tomb has much to teach us as well.

Jesus asks Lazarus to come out of the tomb and when he did, Jesus instructed his disciples to untie him and let him go.

And, my friends, that is what we must do when we suffer a great loss. Remember it is OK to cry, to weep and to mourn. After all, Jesus did.

We understand that we are never going to get over the loss. We believe that our loved one is still united with Jesus. And, we must untie our loved one, releasing the blame and guilt and let them go to Our Lord.

For those of us that remain, there is a question in the reading for us as well.

What is the tomb of your life? What has us separated from eternal life promised by Our Lord?

Is it drugs, alcohol, sex, resentment, anger, or ego?

Then, listen to the words of our Lord and take away the stone and come out of your personal tomb. Walk away from what separates you from God and walk toward Jesus, who loves you just like he loved Lazarus, Martha and Mary.

When my conversation with my neighbor ended she felt as if a burden had been lifted. She had suffered a great loss. She knew it was OK to cry, to weep as Jesus wept and that the loss would always be with her. But, she also realized that she needed to untie her son and herself from the guilt, resentment and blame and let him go from her loving arms to the loving arms of Jesus.

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Wednesday, 12 April 2017 13:10


How does one go from the best of friends to the best of enemies? How does one go from the wedding toast of the perfect couple to the bitter divorce and custody battle? How does one go from 50/50 business partners to rivals for the buyout? Maybe the simple answer is just plain frail humanity. Look at scripture, on Palm Sunday the people sing: “Hosanna to the Son of David, blessed is the King” to the Good Friday cries of “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” That was a 180-degree change in a few days. So, if they did it to Jesus do you think that we are exempt? 

It is not a case of will it happen, just when. The thing is how do we handle it. How did Jesus handle it? He said, “Father forgive them.” He didn’t seek revenge. He only returned hatred with love. That is a tall order for a lowly human to do, but if we follow the Master then that is the example that he gave us. He prayed to his Father to have the cup pass. Well, you know how that turned out. Jesus was hung on the cross and tortured. The up side of all this is that Jesus rose from the dead. We too will rise. Yes, we will rise as Jesus did, but also after our “crucifixion” our life will go on. Jesus wants us to be the example of his resurrection in the world. Despite the evil that befalls us Jesus asks us to forgive and live the truth. We must go on as he did.

Bible Vs: Lk. 24: 5-7 “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise.”

Prayer: Dearest Jesus I could never really imagine all the pain that you endured on the cross, but I would think that it must have matched the pain that you felt when the people that you loved betrayed you. You forgave them. That is really hard for me Jesus. When someone that I counted on lets me down or causes evil to befall me I want revenge. Help me Lord to be more like you. Help me to come to the point where I say and mean “forgive them.” Amen

Spotlight: Happy Easter!! Come and visit Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine. We will be having a Pasta Dinner on Thursday, April 20th from 4:30 PM until 6:45 PM. The tickets are $8.50. Come for some good food, company and helping the Shrine with its repairs. Also, don’t forget the “Outdoor Season” begins on Sunday, May, 7 with the 9:30 AM Outdoor Mass followed by breakfast in the St Ann Dining Room. At 3:00 PM we have Stations of the Cross followed by 4:00 PM rosary and benediction.

Monday, 03 April 2017 10:12

Christian Spoiler Alert!

A few years ago, there was a science fiction television program called Lost. It was so popular that all kinds of computer sites sprang up trying to explain what happened in the last episode and what might happen in the next or even further in the program’s universe. Two phrases that really became popular were “spoiler alert” and “Easter eggs.” Folks would compare what “clues” the writers would intersperse in the story. Those clues might be “Easter eggs” or “red herrings.” The “Easter eggs” would lead to the spoiler alerts. If you made a mistake in your identification of the clues your interpretation of the program would be way off. If one reads scripture regularly then one can identify the “Easter eggs” or the coming spoiler alert. God really wants to make it simple for us. Our universe is not as complicated as the one in Lost, really it isn’t. Easter eggs is a really appropriate term for a Christian spoiler alert. In Lent, if we read the clues correctly, all the action points to Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection. The symbol of Easter eggs is the new life that Jesus brings, BUT (there always is one) Jesus must die before those eggs hatch. The complicated part of this is after Easter. Jesus goes back to heaven and He tells us that He has left us everything we need for a grace filled life and salvation. We, on the other hand have very short memories. We follow him on his journey and forget that we must continue with ours. We must find the Easter eggs in our life so that we can also come to life with Him. Spoiler alert: No matter what, Jesus wins in the end. Godspeed with your search for Easter eggs!

Bible Vs. Acts 1:8-11 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking in to heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Prayer: Lord, I praise you and thank you for your sacrifice for me. Help me to not forget that in order to rise I too must die. Die to sin, selfishness and all evil. Let me allow your Sprit to live in me so that I may love others as you did. Most importantly help me to find the strength to be faithful and remember that you give everlasting life.

Spotlight: Remember to visit Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine. Located at 21281 Chardon Rd. Come to pray Holy Week Services are: Holy Thursday, April 13th Mass and Washing of the Feet 7:00 PM, Good Friday, April 14th Communion Service and Veneration of the Cross 2:00 PM, Saturday, April 15th Easter Vigil Mass 9:00 PM. Our last Fish Dinner is Friday, April 7th 4:30 PM- 6:45 PM. Tickets are $8.50. Come to our Gift Shop if you would like to give someone a religious gift for Easter.


Learn more about Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine Here. 

Monday, 03 April 2017 08:55

Monday Motivation

The Daily Motivator message for
Monday, April 3, 2017

What makes life good

by Ralph Marston

Get good, valuable rewards for your time and effort. Invest your life in what makes life good.

Resentment doesn’t create value, nor do anger, envy, spite. Prompt yourself, when the negative urge comes up, to turn to more positive pursuits.

Love, effort, commitment, kindness, perseverance and integrity, are things that make a life worth living. You already know this throughout your whole being, and it never hurts to be reminded.

The world sometimes can make you feel like a fool for caring so much. But the world at those times is sending a false signal, for caring is always at the heart of who you are.

So let yourself care, and act in the service of all you care about. Keep your life aimed at what is good, what is true, what is right, what you know is best.

Every day you add new substance to your life, to all of life. Make it the kind of substance that truly makes life good.

© 2017 Ralph S. Marston, Jr.
From The Daily Motivator website at
Monday, 27 March 2017 09:36

Monday Motivation

The Daily Motivator message for
Monday, March 27, 2017

Do something with it

by Ralph Marston

Today greets you with opportunity, with frustration, with problems, with possibility. Do something with it, something positive and useful.

Don’t settle for someone else’s idea of what this day should be, or another copy of a day you’ve already lived. Do something unique, original, something that affirms the beauty and value of your life.

Today you have a schedule, a list of tasks, the usual responsibilities, things that others expect of you. Today you also have the chance to go above and beyond all that.

You’ve experienced in the past how well you respond to challenge, and how good it feels to do so. Today, find a meaningful challenge with which you can renew that great feeling through focused action.

You are designed, equipped, driven to achieve. Today, do what you are meant to do.

Dreams, ambitions, skills, experience, wisdom, love and courage all restlessly wait for you to make the next move. Today, do something with it all, and live your life at the highest level.

© 2017 Ralph S. Marston, Jr.
From The Daily Motivator website at
Monday, 20 March 2017 14:55

Quit Your Complaining!

Quit Your Compalining

“If you are not grateful for the things you have, what makes you think you will be grateful for the things you want.”  –Tony Agnesi

Every March, Diane and I are blessed to spend the month in sunny Naples, Florida. We love the nearby Vanderbilt Beach and walk the beach every morning for an hour and a half.  We are so grateful to share this time together. Every year, I comment on how I missed my life’s calling as a beach bum!

Naples is an upscale city and most of the people here are retired successful folks from other parts of the country and seasonal vacationers.  I love everything about the area except for one thing. In the 20 plus years we have been coming here I can’t believe is how unfriendly everyone is.


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Monday, 20 March 2017 14:52

How are your Lenten practices going?

Faith Page Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine March 17, 2017

How are your Lenten practices going? If you gave something up are you being faithful to that or have you “snuck “in a sip of pop or a piece of pie? No, one will ever know. If you promised to say some extra prayers or go to church on more than just Sundays did you get tired and “skip” a day? It’s just one time. I’m only human. If you promised to give a few extra bucks to Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine did you do it or maybe use it for a beer on St. Patrick’s Day? Come on everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, right? Right on all counts. No one will ever know if you ate that pie or drank that pop. Well, you and God will. Yes, you are only human if you sleep in on the day that you were supposed to pray extra. God does know that. Yes, everyone is an adopted Irishman on St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, God does know St. Patrick personally. We all have good intentions, but our human side kicks in and we are weak. But, you knew it was coming, a promise is a promise and we are only as good as our word. God is merciful and all-knowing so the next move is ours. How about an “I’m sorry God,” and I get right back to my Lenten resolutions? Oh, by the way those phrases: “No one will ever know.” “I’m only human, and “Everyone is an Irishman on St. Patrick’s Day.” Those are the whisperings of a guy called Satan. That’s his script and he twists the truth to trip us up. How do we feel when we realize that we broke our promises? We feel like we failed. Well, that’s the devil’s way of working. With God, we feel forgiven, so let’s pick it up and keep on going.

Bible Vs.: Luke 4: 1-3, 12-13 “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” “And Jesus answered him, “It is said, You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.”

Prayer: O, Lord you resisted every temptation that the devil put in front of you. If the devil would try to tempt God, then how much more will he try to tempt us your human children? Lord, help us to see these temptations for what they are and when we fail help us to remember that you, our loving Father, forgive all things. Help us to come running back to you. Lord give us strength. Lord give us light. Lord give us courage. Amen.

Spotlight: During the season of Lent come and visit Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine to pray and if you need input to purchase Lenten materials at the Shrine Gift Shop. Not only can you be spiritually fed here, but we have two fish dinners coming up. They will be Friday, March 24th and Friday, April 7th. We are located at 21281 Chardon Rd. 216-481-8232. Check out our website at for more information. We have a big request. Our chapel roof sprung many leaks right before Christmas and needed to be repaired. As you might have guessed this has been very costly and we sure could use your financial help. We also lost our back kitchen steps due to age and the weather. If giving alms is one of your Lenten practices, please keep us in mind. Thank you! 





Monday, 20 March 2017 09:06

Monday Motivation

The Daily Motivator message for
Monday, March 20, 2017

What you do with what happens

by Ralph Marston

There is what happens. Then there is what you do with what happens.

Helpful, hurtful, caring, indifferent, frustrating, joyful, surprising, predictable things happen to everyone. Each person makes something different out of all those things.

You are not special because you are a victim or a beneficiary of circumstance. You are special because of the unique life, the substance, the richness you carve out of your circumstances.

Pay attention to the situation, to what goes on in the world around you. See each situation not as a locked enclosure, but as a starting point, a stage upon which you can express and fulfill your purpose.

Life is demanding, extremely difficult at times, but life never imposes itself on you. On the contrary, every twist and turn of circumstance provides opportunity for you to more fully become your best.

Welcome that opportunity, in whatever form it may arrive. Every moment carries your best possibilities, ready for you to fulfill.

© 2017 Ralph S. Marston, Jr.
From The Daily Motivator website at

Have you ever been at the airport where you are about to say goodbye to someone that you love dearly and you know that you won’t be together for a long time if ever again? What do you say to each other? Do you measure your words so that you make the most of the moment because a moment is all that you have? Do you say something like: It’s too soon? You can’t go yet. I love you. Do you give the person a hug look into their eyes memorizing their face so that you capture the moment in your heart? When Jesus was on the cross what were his last messages to us, his last words? His mother and St. John as well some of the women were with him. Remember the airport scene and multiply it 1000 times. Jesus promised that he would return, but right there at that moment he was dying on the cross. His mother and St John both knew that Jesus was an innocent man that he died for all of us. While on the cross Jesus forgave the repentant thief. He gave his mother to all of us when he told her to behold her son John, and he gave his mother to John when he told John to behold his mother. Jesus was not concerned about himself on the cross. His last words, like our last words at the airport, are for the other people. They are words of love for everyone else. At the airport, do we risk a look back as we head into the terminal or the security check point? Let us look at Christ on the cross. Let us follow his example and no matter what we suffer to remember to still love all people.

Bible Vs.: Jn. 19:26-27 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son! Then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother! And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

Lk. 23: 32,34,40-43 Two others also, who were criminals, were led away with him. And Jesus referring to his captors said, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.” The condemned man rebuked the other one and said to him, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence as condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Prayer: Lord help me to remember that when I suffer you suffered so much more than I do and you were innocent. Remind me when I complain that you were on that cross for me. Remind me of your last words to your mother, to your disciple and to the repentant thief. You were thinking of taking care of everyone else but yourself. Help me to be courageously selfless just as you were. Let me praise you and give you glory by imitating your actions. Amen

Spotlight: During the season of Lent come and visit Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine to pray and if you need input to purchase Lenten materials at the Shrine Gift Shop. Not only can you be spiritually fed here, but we have two fish dinners coming up. They will be Friday, March 24th and Friday, April 7th. We are located at 21281 Chardon Rd. 216-481-8232. Check out our website at for more information. We have a big request. Our chapel roof sprung many leaks right before Christmas and needed to be repaired. As you might have guessed this has been very costly and we sure could use your financial help. If giving alms is one of your Lenten practices, please keep us in mind. Thank you!

Monday, 13 March 2017 11:12

What is your shroud?


Have any of you ever heard of the Shroud of Turin? It is a burial cloth of a crucified man. The cloth is preserved under glass hanging behind the altar in a cathedral in Turin, Italy. How it got there is an adventure onto itself, but that is a matter for another day. The point is that millions of people believe that the shroud is a relic. That it is the burial cloth of Jesus. The evidence suggests that it really is the burial cloth of Jesus. The shroud shows evidence of a man savagely beaten and killed. It shows the reality of a crucifixion, not the sanitized version that we see in paintings or movies. That being said. What is a shroud? It is a cloth put on a person after they have died. How it is placed and what it is made of should show respect and comfort for the dead person. The question is what is our shroud? We all carry one, yes, even alive we put on our shroud. Do we wear our shroud with respect and is it of the utmost best materials available? Of course, we are speaking of not a material shroud, but of a spiritual one, one that we cannot see with our eyes. What is the spirit that we show people? Is it our true self or do we hide it under our shroud just showing what we want others to see? The shroud of Turin shows all the ugly facts of a first century crucifixion. As a matter of fact, it highlights the truth. It is God wanting us to know what Jesus went through on the cross. During this Lent, do we have the courage to let our shroud show who we really are? If we hesitate then perhaps we need to use the 40 days of Lent to fast, pray and give alms. That will spruce up our shroud. Don’t be afraid to show your true self. I bet it will be better than what you thought.

Bible Vs. Is. 52: 14: As many were astonished at him- his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the sons of men-

Is. 52: 1: Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments.
Prayer: O, Lord in this the season of Lent, help me to follow your example of sacrifice and real love. Help me to put on my shroud as you did, and transform first myself and then the whole world. Help me to make my shroud a symbol of your glory and triumph. Amen

Spotlight: During the season of Lent come and visit Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine to pray and if you need input to purchase Lenten materials at the Shrine Gift Shop. Not only can you be spiritually fed here, but we have two fish dinners coming up. They will be Friday, March 24th and Friday, April 7th. We are located at 21281 Chardon Rd. 216-481-8232. Check out our website at for more information. We have a big request. Our chapel roof sprung many leaks right before Christmas and needed to be repaired. As you might have guessed this has been very costly and we sure could use your financial help. If giving alms is one of your Lenten practices, please keep us in mind. Thank you!


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