Monday, March 31, 2008

Dear Ones,

We just finished the long, marvelous, exhilarating, and exhausting weekend of putting on a Renewal retreat at St. Ann's --we finished at 4:45 PM and I sat and waited in the room we finished in until 6:00 to give a talk on my conversion story with reference to Mary and the Saints. It was such a blessing to have brothers and their families from Teams 28, 30, 40, and one new guy and his wife from 42 come out to be with me. This was my first real public telling of my Conversion story since I stopped public speaking in 2000. The support of my brothers was very wonderful and really allowed me the comfort ability to share without restraint—on both the weekend and in the public talk.

As well, the snippets of conversation stolen with Father Steven during the weekend, his marvelous two homilies, and the visual image of how Christ bends low to serve and to love us-- I will live off of these for the next two months. How wonderful that the Confessions went so well I could hold Father hostage in the small Kitchen for my own private time with him. :)

As I said in the talk and on the weekend--I owe a great debt of love to the CRHP process--my five brothers in BIC ,Sons of Enoch, Team 28 and Team 30 for accepting me and loving me –loving me when I was unlovely and disagreeable and bringing me back to some form of socialization & interaction with believers again, and Team 40 and 42 for shaping and refining that HOPE in me to open up more fully and let God's love flow more freely from me to others--you all have to be resigned to the fact that sadly my social norms and abilities will always be woefully deficient. J Thankfully, I can say I made it through all the talks in one piece--but the Mass and homilies brought me back to my many tears and I want to continue to submit to Our Good and Loving Father that HE may continue to change me into the man he wants me to be--and somehow break through this heart of stone and teach me to love freely all HE has given unto me. Pray for me.

At the bottom I am attaching my Help letter to Team 42 because in reality it is my thanks to all those who have embraced me through CRHP, the Knights of Columbus, and the many wonderful apostolates at St. Ann's parish. I never thought I would be able to plug fully into a local parish--and though my heart will always be restless until united in Eternity--this has become the closest thing to home for me in this life--and to a displaced and wandering orphan, that is a lot. Thank you.
I am also including the bio and Scripture readings we attached in the CRHP 42 binder along with the “modified worship song” from my youth that speaks of my loss, wander-lust and rekindled Fire of God’s love. Amazing how the great moral theologians of our times: Tina Turner—“What’s LOVE got to do with it?” and Chicago…can first sing the TRUTH to us. :)

When the boys and I were counseled to come and start over in Dallas in 2000, I was told--"The Catholic community in Dallas is one of the strongest places of community and networking--they are who you need to be with." You few solid friends who held my heart together with your HOPE bead for us back in 2000-- the CPLC, The White Rose, TOPP and the pro-life activists—you were the guiding star to get us here and keep us here, and you will always be in my daily prayers and Holy Hours. If I still reject more social engagements then I accept know my heart is always glad to be asked to be with you and yours, and you are all very dear to me always.

I suppose it is the emotions released through the weekend, the public talk and the fresh sadness I am about to share—but I wanted to let each of you know how very special you are to me. I have a long way to go before I will be the man God really wants me to be, and I have a lifetime of regrets to serve out my purgative penance for. But, as the raw emotions of my recent loss with Bryan remind me—I do not want to keep missing the opportunities to be a very real living expression of the FACE of LOVE. I want to give freely the LOVE God has so richly given to me. Please know you are in my heart and forgive me for the many times I fail to personally give to you what HE has given to me. Surely, “the Nearness of God has been my Good, HE is the Strength of my heart…I believe that I shall see the Goodness of the Lord in the land of the Living while I yet live.”

Now I ask you to pray for my dear mentor in the faith and ministry—during the weekend I found out he is on life-support and not expected to live. I am not ready to say goodbye to yet one more good friend and yet I find I am already enlisting his prayers in his final hours of suffering:
Jack Locker—my Pastor since I was 17—a spiritual father who made up all that was lacking in my life and helped me embrace a life of grace and joy in believing. He was the first to teach me of Polycarp, the Martyrs of the Catacombs, Brother Lawrence, Fenelon, John of the Cross, Theresa of Jesus, the Early Church Fathers-he gave me my 37 volume set to read and love. Of Augustine, The Confessions, and Thomas Ă  Kempis…I learned as our Renewal weekend was starting that he had a massive stroke and has been on life support while his daughter traveled to get here today and his body is expected to fail this week. I buried his beloved wife Edna and we have remained close and I am missing him already, and yet praying for his helps and mantel to remain with me.

Thank you all dear friends—old and new—for standing with me through so many of life’s recent difficulties. My heart is still tender with the new regrets of the loss of Bryan and your comments, prayers and most importantly masses offered for Bryan have been the greatest source of comfort—that you give your HOPE bead for the whole Vinzant family—those in the Arms of God and those still struggling heavenward here two steps forward and one step backwards—that we remain, all of us on the PATH.

With a full heart, a thankful heart,

“To live without FAITH, without a heritage to defend, without battling constantly for truth, is not to live, but to ‘get along’ we must never just ‘get along.’ “
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassali

Gaudium et Spes n24
Man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.

Bio, song and help letter follow below

New Life in Christ Witness – Spiritual Director
Daniel Vinzant

Family: Andrew – 24, Lewis – 22
In the Arms of God: Emily Katherine (Baby), Sarah Ruth, 21 (October 2000)
Jan Vinzant lives alone in Waco, Texas.

Occupation: Director of Sales for SimCrest, Inc.—a Microsoft Gold Partner selling and implementing Dynamics NAV (ERP software solutions).

Hobbies: Anything my sons involve me in; Church or any conversation about Church; family dinners and intimate Dinner parties; movies with my sons; reading; cooking and new restaurants.

Background: I was born in Waco , Texas – the third of four children, to very godly, activist parents. I attended Howard Payne where I met my wife, Jan. I graduated from Baylor with a BA. I attended Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary in 1980. I graduated from The University of Dallas with a Master of Theology in May of 99’.

Our Family was brought into full-communion with the Catholic Church in Waco, TX on Assumption, August 15, 1998 and helped celebrate Norma McCovey’s (Jane Roe) Confirmation on August 17, 1998 at St. Thomas in Dallas.

My sons and I came to Dallas in May of 2000 and they attended The Highlands School. Jan remained in Waco , having been moved out of the family home in August 1999 by her Baptist pastor/father. Sarah Ruth died in a car wreck on October 14, 2000. We started attending St. Ann ’s in December of 2000. I joined a small BIC group in October of 2002 and these 5 men were the only people I knew at St. Ann’s until my CRHP weekend April, 2005.

I began being invited to CRHP by my realtor, Bruce Umstead in 2001 and said no to the weekend twice and signed up and then dropped out twice, before making the 2005 weekend.

Biggest change in my life since CRHP weekend: I have HOPE again – Our Lord broke my heart during the weekend and made me realize my hope was almost gone. I am beginning to come back to HIM in the Church and see my place in discipleship and fellowship though the new relationships with my brothers in CRHP.

Scripture Readings for New Life in Christ Witness

Luke 2: 52
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and if favor with God and man.

2 Timothy 3: 16
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

1 Timothy 3: 14-16
I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

Mark 4: 39
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them, just as he was, in the boat….And a great storm or wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But, he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

Isaiah 43: 1-2
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior….I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

1 Peter 4: 7-8
The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all hold unfailing your love—keep fervent in love-- for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another-- without complaint.

Song for New Life in Christ Witness
“I Don’t Want to Live Without Your Love” ChicagoThought it wouldnt matterIf we didnt stay together,And if it was over,Maybe it was for the better.I was thinking Id be alright,til I thought it all through.Now I know that I aint really livingIf I have to live without you.I dont wanna live without your love,I dont wanna face the night alone.I could never make it through my lifeIf I had to make it on my own.I dont wanna love nobody else,I dont wanna find somebody new.I dont wanna live without your love,I just wanna live my life with you.Guess I had to go away,So much I had to go through.Guess I had to lose YOUTo realize how much I love YOU.Can we make the fire burn again,Burn a little stronger? cause Ive been alone, and,I can’t be alone now any longer.I dont wanna live without YOUR love,I dont wanna face the night alone.I could never make it through my lifeIf I had to make it on my own.I dont wanna love nobody else,I dont wanna find somebody new.I dont wanna live without YOUR love,I just wanna live my life with YOU.Oh, if I had to make it on my own,My life would never be the same,My love would never be the same.I dont wanna live without YOUR love.

Dear Brothers in Christ,

By now you have come to the point in your weekend where hopefully you are coming to terms with why you were called by God to be here as a member of the CRHP 42 weekend at St. Ann’s. Perhaps you were like me and someone in your life has nagged you for so long to make a weekend that you finally broke down and just said yes. Perhaps you have been trying to make one of these weekends for a long time. It does not matter—what matters is that you did say yes and now you are here—and in some way you are hearing God’s voice speak to you. A wise friend who tried to get me to attend the weekend for 3 years said, “Daniel it does not matter where you are in your spiritual journey—if you open your heart to the Holy Spirit, there is something for each person to experience—it is not the same for every man, but there is something here for everyone who opens their hearts.

I am sure you are not like me—I had gone through three boxes of Kleenex by this point of the weekend. Father Steven still refers to CRHP 30 as the “Crying Team". :) You have heard a small, very real part of my testimony by this point—remember our confidentiality clause. :) Tonight at 6:00, for the first time, I am telling my story to a larger audience at St Ann’. The fact that I am speaking again at all is my testament to the CRHP experience. Hopefully you are not as wounded as me. But, if you missed it in my quick talk—hear it here. I found myself at a place where I thought I should be alone and that I did not deserve to be loved by others. These men of CRHP wrapped their arms around me and helped me once again run to Jesus, “Draw me and we will run together unto You, O Lord.” They have shown me love, support, and given me the confidence to take up the gifts and calling of God fresh, anew, and to share what HE has given unto me. I owe CRHP a great debt of love.

If you will give yourself to the full experience of the weekend and what comes after—I believe you too will say that God uses CRHP in your life. You have the benefit of Team 30 and Team 40-because I was not there with them, but am with you—it took them a long time to break through and show me their love and patiently wait on me to be able to return that love—I hope they all now know how much I love them—and you too I want to know that I love you-each of you, and if I can be of some help to you do not hesitate to call on me. “O, how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.”

YBIC, Daniel Vinzant
Spiritual Director Team 40
Dear Ones of my Hearts—how can I not share with you the few sweet words of Christian comfort and HOPE. Thank you for the many MASS cards and if you feel lead to offer others, thank you in advance.

This is certainly not the hardest, but almost the most bitter embrace of the Cross I have experienced in this Valley of Tears. Thank you so much for continuing to pray for the entire Vinzant family on your HOPE bead when you pray your beads—my HOPE is in the NAME of the LORD Who made Heaven and earth—though the earth tremble and the mountains shake—my HOPE will be in the NAME of the LORD—when my heart was bitter within, my reason had gone and there was NO HOPE –then the Lord of MY Heart took hold of my hand—now He is the strength of my Heart—The Lord God is the Strength of my Heart. Pray for me as I spend the rest of my life not failing others and loving them more surely and steadfastly through the pain of not being able to be more for Bryan in this life—as I pray for him and to him for help for the rest of my life as I learn to give away the love of Jesus Christ in a very troubled world.

Guest Book for
Bryan Keith Vinzant

March 31, 2008
Dear Vinzant Family,I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved Bryan. My deepest sympathies to Michael for the loss of his father. You and your father are in our thoughts and prayers. May God give Michael peace as you grieve the loss of your father and may God give your father eternal love and peace in heaven. Respectfully and with our Deepest Sympathies.

Stephanie & Randall Mardell (Irving, TX) Contact me

March 25, 2008
Daniel, we are very sad to hear about your brother. It is only compounded by the fact that it happened at the same place of your daughter's death. You and your family are in our prayers. May Jesus hold you tight and help you through this.

Anthony, Alicia, Valincia (The Paul Family) (Dallas, TX)

March 25, 2008
Our prayers are with you and your family, Daniel. God Bless.

Tim & Denise Taylor (CRHP 24,28) (Coppell, TX)

March 25, 2008
Our Deepest Sympathies. We have you in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless.

Michael & Jo Ann Talkington (Coppell, TX)

March 24, 2008
Please accept my deepest sympathies and condolences. Bryan was and is one of my dearest friends. We mutually enjoyed each other's company and friendship very much! I will miss him and his presence greatly. It was a wonderful comfort to know he was only a phone call away. He looked out for those he loved with vigor and respect without desire for gratitude. May his soul rest in eternal peace...Chuck McDonald

Charles W. McDonald (Waco, TX) Contact me

March 24, 2008
Daniel and Boys,Lisa, the girls, and I are so sorry for your losses and we will keep all of you Vinzants in our prayers. Daniel, my dear friend, I do not understand why you are given all these challenges nor how you manage with such dignity and grace. We feel so blessed to be your friend. God Bless.

Bill Stuart (Coppell, TX) Contact me

March 24, 2008
The thoughts and prayers of the Ryan family are with you in this difficult time.

Denis Ryan (Flower Mound, TX) Contact me

March 24, 2008
Alicia, Mike & Danny,I was saddened to hear about Brian. I will be thinking of you all in your time of sorrow.

Tom Lee (Coldwater)

March 24, 2008
Our prayers go out to the entire Vinzant family and all those who knew Bryan.

Dauty and Lucie F (Irving, TX)

March 24, 2008
Daniel,Our condolences on the loss of your brother. Our prayers are with you and your family during this time of mourning. May God's presence permeate your being and flow through you to all those whom you encounter granting them peace. We were so very blessed to have shared Holy Mass with you on Holy Thursday. Your soulful singing and depth of love for our Lord was strongly evident. May this love carry you over the troubled waters into a place of peace and comfort. We thank you for your incredible witness, and will pray for the repose of your brother's soul.In His Love and Mercy,

Eddy and Denise Koch (Flower Mound, TX) Contact me

March 24, 2008
We're going to miss you, Bryan.

Jen Russell (Waco, TX)

March 24, 2008
Alicia, Mike and Danny:Mama (your Aunt Odessa) just told me yesterday about Bryan. I can't tell you how much my heart goes out to you at this time. It's really difficult to lose a sibling - I know when Andy died we felt we couldn't go on. But God, in His mercy, sent peace and understand as He will for y'all as well. I've thought of you so often over the years and will keep you in my prayers. My love to all of you.

Teresa Lee Miller (Ontario, CA)

March 24, 2008
Vinzant Family,Please take comfort in knowing that your extended family is with you during this sorrowful time. May the Lord cradle you in his loving arms.

Bob Kleam (Lake Dallas, TX)

March 24, 2008
May the peace of Christ, which is beyond all understanding, be with your family as they grieve the loss. And may you be graciously be welcomed by Our Lord for your heavenly inheritance.

Greg Novitsky (Flower Mound, TX)

March 24, 2008
Brother Daniel,My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I will pray for the repose of your brother's soul.Your Brother In Christ,Robert Romero

Robert Romero (Irving, TX) Contact me

March 24, 2008
Dear Daniel & Family:My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of great loss.

tim moore (Carrollton, TX) Contact me

March 24, 2008
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends.

Darald Nathan (Lewisville, TX) Contact me

March 24, 2008
Daniel and Family,Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with you and Bryan. May God bless and watch over all of you now and always.

Michael, Julie & Ian Maley (Coppell)

March 24, 2008
We are so sorry for your loss! Our prayers and thoughts are with you during this time.

Robert Keith and Mandy Spikes (Eddy, TX) Contact me

March 24, 2008
Mike and Family - We are so very sorry for your loss. We pray that you will be comforted during this difficult time. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." - 2Cor1:3-5

Randy Simonds and Family

March 24, 2008
Mike, Alicia and Danny,I was so sorry to hear about Bryan from momma. I know that y'all will be glad to see her today, and I sure wish I could be there for you as well. Know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers.

Cecila King (Ackerman, MS) Contact me

March 24, 2008
Our prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. If there’s anything Vicki and I can do to assist, please let me know.Thanks,Bob and Vicki Fox

Bob Fox (Fort Worth, TX)

March 24, 2008
Daniel,The greatest gift God gives, besides his Son, is free will -- but, it's double edge works in ways we do not emotionally understand. I am so sorry for your loss and pray Jesus, whom you love and serve so incredibly well, wraps your family in his arms and comforts you.

Jeff Vaughan (Dallas, TX)

March 24, 2008
Our prayers are with all of the Vinzant family. May God have mercy on Bryan and all of us.

Bill & Beverly Deville (Carrollton, TX) Contact me

March 23, 2008
You will be missed but you know that I will contune to watch out for you son. My door has alway been open to you and Mike and they will always stay open. My heart go out to you family I know the pain they are going though. You were here when I lost my wife a year ago. I will be here for your family Your lost hurts but I know that you are walking with God now.

Lawrence (POPS) Akard (Bellmead, TX) Contact me

March 23, 2008
Uncle Burl and Aunt Sandy,You and your family are in my prayers

Tammy Rodgers (Marlin, TX) Contact me

March 23, 2008
Mike and Family,My deepest sympathies for your loss - it's never easy to lose a loved one, but when they leave us so unexpectedly it seems even more difficult. God bless and comfort your family in this time of sorrow.

Aileen Barr (Coppell, TX) Contact me

March 23, 2008
he will always be missed in our hearts. and we will keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers. i hope all gets better for his family and friends.

thomas and anna davenport (bellmead, TX) Contact me

March 23, 2008
we will all miss the knocks at the doors and the frequent scares he had for us.he will be missed and thought of always

mary & jody bond (bellmead, TX) Contact me

March 23, 2008
I am sorry to hear about your loss my thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of sorrow.

brenda Walker (Waco, TX) Contact me

March 23, 2008
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.

Charlene Ricketts (san marcos, TX) Contact me

March 23, 2008
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Don and Betty Cone (Flower Mound, TX)

March 23, 2008
You are all in my prayers.
Mel and Ellona Rodgers (Waco, TX) Contact me

Monday, March 24, 2008

Hi Wayne,

I am wondering if you are ready to share OLS with us for a bit? We are having a rough patch and it would be nice to have her comfort.

If you could pass on my sadness to Team 30. My younger brother--with whom I have had a bit of troubled relationship was struck and killed by a hit and run driver on Thursday night. We did not know until Friday evening when people stared calling because they released his name on the TV without contacting any next of kin---our name is so uncommon and we are all related had they called any Vinzant in Waco we could have told them....

And to compound the horror--which I have not yet gotten my head around yet. He died exactly the next on- ramp from where my precious daughter Sarah Ruth died in 2000--SR and Bryan both between mile marker 317 and 316 on the North bound side of I 35 at Bruceville Eddy before you get to Waco. We do not know why he was there, where his truck is, what had happened to him that night prior to his being hit--he was throw 150 feet and left for dead, alone...

The funeral is tomorrow in Waco at the Pecan Grove Funeral Home--it is a Baptist funeral and the preacher intends to "reach the unsaved" that might be there...I have already endured a very uncomfortable one hour tirade from a grieving relative on the evils of the Catholic church in the Third World where it is full of witchcraft and idolatry and the evils of the Pope for not dealing with it because we make money off them....I refuse to make the day of burring my brother about religion, or a Baptist pastors attempt to save the lost including the family who turned to the Catholics...Pray for us all, but more than all pray for Bryan Vinzant, 50. Pray for my sons--they experience the pain of confusion of the amount of sadness and unpredictability in the world...They have been so good to me and are trying to protect me--they did not want me to find out where he died...

We do live in a Valley of Tears but this Easter season reminds of fresh and a new of the Hope of new life...Our Lady, Mother of Sorrows is a great comfort. The Eastern Church has a beautiful song we sang on Holy Thursday preparing for Good Friday----"Wahabeebee, Wahabeebee"--"Oh my son, Oh my beloved" It is a mournful song sung by Mary to her dying has been a source of comfort to me.

Team 40, I will not make the last Monday meeting and will talk to Jeff Tuesday. I will be available Thursday to go to Confession and the weekend Friday, but after missing Monday and Tuesday of work, will probably need to work Friday....we will catch up after Monday--i was going to let Wayne and Jeff forward this, but once I started typing I got through this so will bcc a lot of you to get this partial message out and will catch up with many of you after the weekend.

The word of this sadness has trickled to many already and the prayers and promises of masses have been a great source of comfort. Jan has been here the whole weekend and is doing the music tomorrow and has been a great comfort. We are burying Bryan very near Sarah Ruth in our family plot.

Please pray for grace to endure the misunderstood--this is another tragedy in/near Waco and unfortunately there are actually those there of such fundamental faith who believe all these things happen because I became Catholic...that the "cup of God's wrath" is a deserved punishment for "turning from truth"...

I more than ever believe that the best evidence of God is that only God can bring Good out of Evil. I cannot imagine such a death, but do look forward to seeing the glimmers of God in the midst of this Sorrow and Tears. God is God and though He slay me, I will trust in God...My family was very blessed to be taken out of the sorrow for 5 hours by Doug and his family hosting us with an extended lunch with Fr. Mitch Pacwa who ministered such incredible comfort to not only me, but especially my sons and Jan. All three have mentioned him and how much they loved being with him Saturday and again for Easter Mass today. He offered Mass today for Bryan too which was such a comfort.

When I saw my sweet, misunderstood little brother's life reduced to 5 sentences and dwell on the fact that he died alone and had been whisked to Dallas for autopsy and was back in the Waco morgue before I even knew he was dead------I thought deeply of the incredible and undeserved gift of your friendships and your love to me--who can be far more disagreeable to love than someone like him. Thank you each that I have bcc'd as you came to mind--forgive the rambling as I throw out an update or your first hearing--for your kindness to me and my family, your prayers of faith, and your HOPE bead for my family...pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen...
your brother in Christ,

View/Sign Guestbook
Bryan Keith Vinzant
Bryan Keith Vinzant, 50, of Bellmead, passed away Friday, March 21, 2008. Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Monday, at Pecan Grove Funeral Home, 3124 Robinson Dr. in Waco ,with Mark Dallalio officiating. Burial will follow at Stanford Chapel Cemetery in Hewitt. Bryan was born July 18, 1957, in Waco, to Burl and June Vinzant. He attended Midway schools. He worked many years as a millwright for Commercial Contracting in Rockdale. He was a member of Local Carpenters and Millwright Union. He was preceded in death by his parents; and a niece, Sarah Ruth Vinzant. He is survived by a son, Michael Vinzant of Waco; sister, Alicia Bell of Waco; two brothers, Michael Vinzant and wife, Sandra of Carrollton, and Daniel Vinzant of Coppell, Texas; seven nieces and nephews. July 18, 1957 - March 21, 2008 Sign the Guest Book at

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Written in love to a hurting Mom I give Spiritual helps to as we enter Holy Week—I share with you as a small reflection for part of your Holy Week.

You have been in my heart since I first read your email--but I have needed to find some time to really respond. I was gone for one week to Orlando on business with bad connections to the Internet and then have been feeling poorly with travelers cough since returning home. But, my prayers are intact for those I carry deep in my heart and your family is always safely tucked there.

So often for us as parents it is two steps forward and one step backwards--particularly if there is more than one child in our heart. We cannot really ever chose--we have to love them all, and yet we love the lost more deeply it seems. And we so want to see them walk in success--and more than all we want to see them overcome our defects. And harder still is when we see them wallow in excess in the very slight things we took as hardly worth working on in our own lives. But, hardest is to see them cling so desperately to a world we were so easily able to reject and we cannot for the life of ourselves understand how they find the allure so appeal ling for so long. The truth is that all of this world and its passing glory is nothing more than lipstick on a pig--and as long as the piglet has the least bit allure to the shinny objects, or the reflecting objects, or the wallowing holes of emptiness--they will not long for the comfort and real warmth that HOME has to offer.

This is why there is such comfort in the Church--and in her liturgical year, her seasons, and her Traditions--she is HOME--and she ever calls us HOME--like a Mother--like THE MOTHER of us all that she always is. I have always taken great comfort in the fact that the Catholic Church alone, as in so many of Her Truths--is the Church that has never definitively pronounced that Judas is in Hell--we leave as Jesus Commands the judgment of hell to only ONE and HE alone makes those definitive judgments. More the Catholic Church in Jesuit like sensibilities continues to call out the tenuous Truth--as long as you are alive--there is Time--and yet, it is later than you think...Like the two thump heart-beat of humanity:
save the lost, strengthen the believer
there is time, it is later than you think
evangelize the world, build the Church
all may enter, narrow is the way
today if you hear His voice, harden not your heart
Come unto me, I will give you rest
and yet the bottom echo of that two heart-beat of all humanity is the resounding Choirs of HOPE in the Beatific Vision:
You Have Not Seen The End of All Things YET.

So having been comforted from the time of a small boy that Judas and his fate belongs to God Alone, I have often had the story book like dream of two women in Heaven--one comforting the other--the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God, Mary the Mother of us All--with her arms of love holding tightly and giving comfort to the mother of Judas...I can only Imagine....such love, such forgiveness, such HOPE. If my small boy dream could be true---how much more love and compassion does the most loving Queen of Heaven have not only for us, but for those we hold up to her for aid when we are almost without hope to pray for them?

I suspect you are very much like me-- I believe the Word of God and the Doctrines of the Church-I believe in the three theological virtues and I accept that of this faith, hope, and love that the greatest is LOVE. And I find more and more, that I am lacking in the greatest of these--look forward to the Day that it alone remains and us hopefully with it-- world without end in the Beatific Vision of Heaven with the Holy Family and the Saints of God--including all those we love, hold dear, and live and breathe to get to Heaven.

For now--in what I so often in the Sighs of my heart refer to as the "until" --this in our understanding of time--undetermined, but from Eternities side all so very determined--this very real Valley of Tears...Until..."Until the Son of God be Revealed"...."Mary, kept all these things and pondered them in her heart Until"...

I take such comfort that even the FATHER says to Our Lord Jesus after HE has done so much--can you Imagine as we enter into this lovely Holy Week and we re-experience again that beautiful gift of Saving Grace--the Life, Suffering, Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and now He has established the Church and He has breathed the Breath of the Holy Spirit and He has finally gone back to the Father--gone back to Heaven and what does the Father say to Him?

Psalm 110:1 “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

We think of Heaven as a wonderful and Beautiful place and of course it is more lovely than we can IMAGINE, and we think of the WORK of CHRIST as being Done on the CROSS. Did HE not say It is Finished? And yet, we have this tear in Heavenly history where we are allowed to see a vignette that happened in TIME where the Father speaks to the Son.... Sit...UNTIL...Do you not see that ALL of Heaven is busy with the one DESIRE of the FATHER and the SON--all of the Focus of HEAVEN is "us-ward to those who believe" Heaven is busy praying the will of the FATHER....Until.

Do not let Go of the Light at the end of the Road, we are stumbling Heavenward--two steps forward, and one step backward, but stumbling Heavenward...Until. My dear suffering mother of children here on earth, my friend of so long. We are in the UNTIL--and so longing as I do to get there one day with all I love--for now, Today while it is still called Today---I revel in the virtue of HOPE. Let us hold fast to our HOPE. Let us HOPE and not lose heart, pray and STAND praying and forgiving--pray like the woman in my favorite parable Jesus told on earth.

Let me remind you of my favorite parable--Luke 18: 1-8

“ And he spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint; saying, There was in a city a judge, who feared not God, and regarded not man: and there was a widow in that city; and she came oft unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest she wear me out by her continual coming. And the Lord said, Hear what the unrighteous judge saith. And shall not God avenge his elect that cry to him day and night and yet he is longsuffering over them? I say unto you, that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

Amazing to me-- this is the only time that God promises to do something Speedily. My dear friend--with the Sorrows I myself have endured there is one thing for sure I have let fall to the Ground from my youth, and that is Exclamation points. I no longer believe in Exclamation points--and yet, when I read these words, I almost feel the shout of an Exclamation point in my heart. Can you imagine--Speedily!!! I often grouse to St Theresa of Avila that she was so right when she told Jesus, "Look is it any wonder how few friends you have? Just look how you treat them." And daily I complain to sweet St. Therese of the Little Flower about how Father likes to doll out to us in little bits and never all at once. My Lord and My God, help my belief--Jesus I Trust in YOU--Make me to do thy Will O, Lord---HOPE.

I pray the Psalms often. I learned this from the Early Church Fathers. In fact this is the thing from the very beginning that Christians kept from their Jewish roots--the praying of the Psalms. When I can do no other devotions, I remember to meditate on the Psalms. Here is one of my favorite in times of stress:
Psalms 73: 21-26 "When my heart was embittered And I was pierced within, Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

One day when we are together, if you like I will sing it to you. But, until that day--open your heart and hear the Saints of God sing it over you. I always teach that Truth and sadly Error to are both Sung First--you know so well the importance of Song and good music. Fortify yourself with good music--music that causes that HOPE to spring fresh and anew--that allows you to whisper in faith one more day...we have not Yet seen the end of all things...Until the Son of God appear...Rejoice.

I can promise you--one who has seen the darkness of faith--I can promise you--Jesus will come--Speedily!!! In this blessed Holy Week as we offer our slight wounds and sufferings to His and allow HIM to bring us fresh and anew into that new Springtime of Faith where we Stand with the whole Church and say anew, He is Risen, Alleluia, He is Risen Indeed!
You remain ever in my heart, in my prayers, and in my Holy hours--and knowing that the Vinzant family is ever remembered on your HOPE bead of your rosary is always the great source of comfort to me. Yesterday, I celebrated my 30th wedding anniversary with many of these same thoughts--such as I have I give to you. We cannot change the past. We cannot change the ones we love. But we can live lives of quite HOPE that HE who holds tomorrow holds our hands and never leaves us alone. And that He can take even the broken dreams and scattered promises of our lives and bring Good out of Evil and Shine the Light of the FACE of LOVE even into the darkest darkness. He can bring Good out of our own willful wrongness and sins and bring us into the Love of His Forgiveness.

This is HOPE –that we can believe even from our wounded past that HE has a plan of Goodness and Mercy for our future. I love this old Swedish hymn and I will leave it with you as my prayer for you and yours:

Children of the Heavenly Father
Children of the heav’nly FatherSafely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in HeavenSuch a refuge e’er was given.
God His own doth tend and nourish;In His holy courts they flourish;From all evil things He spares them;In His mighty arms He bears them.

Neither life nor death shall everFrom the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,And their sorrows all He knoweth.
Though He giveth or He taketh,God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solelyTo preserve them pure and holy.

Lo, their very hairs He numbers,And no daily care encumbers
Them that share His ev’ry blessingAnd His help in woes distressing.
Praise the Lord in joyful numbers:Your Protector never slumbers.
At the will of your DefenderEv’ry foeman must surrender.

your friend,