Sunday, June 25, 2017

June 25, 2017
The Second Sunday after Trinity
Today, we are going to talk about sin! Isn’t it exciting? (That was a test to see how many of you would agree!)
Bill Gates took the stage at the 2010 TED Talk session and said that there is no tolerable level of environmentally harmful waste and emissions, and that the human community must "innovate to zero." There's a theological analogy here. Usually, believers think that sin is something that, while not acceptable, is nevertheless inevitable. He called the talk, "Innovating to Zero.” Maybe we need to innovate to zero sin.

In 2010, Bill Gates stood on the TED stage to give one of those famous talks. He spoke not as the co-founder of Microsoft, but as a philanthropist and an innovator. He wanted to motivate some of the best and brightest minds in the world to a particular task.

There are times when zero is a bad number. No one wants to get a zero on a test or performance review. We don't want to see a zero balance in our bank account. We don't want to be stuck in traffic going 0 miles per hour.

Sometimes, however, zero is a great number! Like zero messages in your inbox. Zero payments left on the car loan. Zero balance on a student loan or house mortgage. Zero cancer cells detected. Zero interceptions (if you're a quarterback). Zero mistakes on a quiz, a project or just about anything else.

When we talk about negative things in life, zero is a very attractive number.

On the TED stage that day, Gates shared his dream of finding a way to produce energy for the planet with zero emissions and to eliminate types of waste that is harmful to the environment. Reduction, he said, isn't enough. There are no acceptable, tolerable levels. The goal must be total elimination. We need to innovate to zero, he said.

Soon after his talk, others began to take up this clarion call. Companies are working toward eliminating emissions during production. Take the car industry and our nation's cities, for example. Not only has the auto industry tackled zero emissions; it is also taking on accident fatalities. To achieve zero, it's developing cars with automatic braking and self-driving features. (Just ask me – I have that technology in my car and it was quite unnerving at first!)

As for towns and cities, many are innovating to zero poverty and zero hunger by housing and feeding those in need, and doing it in new and creative ways.

Other such projects exists, such as, zero people without clean drinking water; zero children without access to education; zero cases of preventable illness; zero domestic violence; zero waste; zero crime and zero bullying.

The world would be such a different place if we could eliminate those things that cause harm to ourselves and others.

This includes sin. While the apostle Paul does not use the phrase "innovating to zero" when writing to the Romans, he does say we should be working to eliminate sin from our lives.

Many, however, think differently about sin today. We try to manage it, to control it. We pretend that there is some acceptable, tolerable level of sin allowed within our lives. "We can't be perfect," we tell ourselves. "We're only human." In fact, we don't even like to use the word "sin." Instead we use words like, mistake, misstep, blunder, gaffe, error and so on. Hence, my opening line asking if the topic was exciting.

Sin is a powerful force that sometimes can be difficult to control.  Sin is not just something we do; it's an active and controlling impulse that is deeply rooted in our hearts. In today's epistle text, Paul talks about "the flesh," our sinful selves, and argues that because of this disposition, we'll never be able fully and completely submit to the very high standards expressed in the law set forth from what we understand in the Scriptures.

This means that no matter how hard we try, we cannot control the sin in our lives. This is because our "sin actions" are generated by our "sin nature." To eliminate the former, we must eradicate the latter. Actually, the "sin nature" must be completely replaced with a new nature.

People in Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous know this very well. The first of the 12 steps is to admit to yourself that you are not in control of your addiction. "We admitted we were powerless over our addiction; that our lives had become unmanageable," people in recovery say.
The same is true of our sin.
When sin is in our lives, it takes over and we are powerless. Our lives soon become unmanageable. Yet, even when, as children of God, we embrace our "new nature" as new creations in Christ, the old sin nature lurks. We all know this to be true. It's like malware on our hard drive.
The Bible tells us, all sin leads to death. That sounds dramatic, but it is true.

As Gates talked about the environment on the TED stage that day, he told his audience of the effects of harmful emissions on the world. Even when we do not immediately see them, they are still there, doing harm.

He pointed to the irony that those who produce the least amount of harmful emissions feel their effects dramatically, while those who produce the most feel them hardly at all. The environmental changes Gates attributed to carbon dioxide emissions make it difficult for the poorest in the world to grow their food.

"Crops won't grow," Gates says. "There will be too much rain, not enough rain. Things will change in ways that their fragile environment simply can't support."

Sin in our lives also has unintended and destructive consequences. While we are the ones who most often feel the pain of those consequences, sometimes others are deeply affected by our mess-ups. Like family relationships. Our professional life at the office. Our friends. Our life at school or in the classroom. What we do affects other people. Sin can be dangerous.

The conundrum is this: The Bible says that we're sinners, and that to maintain that we are without sin makes us liars (1 John 1:7). On the other hand, Jesus tells us to be perfect "as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).

So, what other discipline, what other organization, what other religion ... would tell us that we should work hard to achieve a goal which it also admits is impossible to achieve? That's crazy, isn’t it?

Every year, some of us make New Year's resolutions. The conventional wisdom is that these resolutions should be achievable and measurable. Good advice.

Yet the Bible says that we should be perfect, even though the Bible also says that such perfection is impossible. Like I said, it sounds crazy.

Or is it ... crazy? Maybe not.

If we break down our daily lives into sections, events or relationship transactions, we then understand that if we're mindful and "in the moment," we can act in those moments in a sin-free manner. Imagine some situation. You have a choice in terms of how you're going to respond. In that moment, it is absolutely possible for you to be perfect and sin-free!

From 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., let's say, it's possible to live sin-free. In some specific encounter with an employer, employee or co-worker, it's possible to be sin-free.

In truth then, it’s possible in a 16-hour day, therefore, to live sin-free ... i.e. without an unkind thought, or an unkind action. You lived your day one moment at a time, and succeeded every time! You innovated to zero!

Maybe yesterday was not so good. Maybe tomorrow, your sin nature will get the better of you. The miracle is that we have a new nature, and by "practicing," we will find that our "perfect" hours, our "perfect" days, become more frequent.

By honoring our "Spirit" nature rather than what Paul calls our "flesh" nature, we can indeed innovate to zero sin! So, the more we can fill ourselves with the Spirit, the less room there is for the flesh, the sin.
In today’s Gospel reading we read, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
But, before I connect this to the lesson I hope to convey to all of you, let’s look at a couple other passages. From Mark 3:1-6. “He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.”
Matthew 22:35-40 “And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And He said to him, ‘you shall love thy lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ ‘This is the great and foremost commandment. ‘The second is like it, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.’”
What is Jesus trying to tell us in these passages? He’s actually giving us the same type of message in each of them, even though some people at that time did not understand what he was saying in each instance.
Jesus continues to challenge the tendency toward legalism. Should we allow laws to inhibit our treating those with sin (or perceived sin) with love? Mercy should prevail at all times. Jesus tells us that those who are burdened by the laws as expounded by the scribes and Pharisees, need to place upon themselves His yoke - for His yoke is easy and the burden light. In place of the yoke of the law, complicated by scribal interpretation (and I say in the modern age - by those conservative interpreters also), Jesus invites the burdened to take the yoke of obedience to His word under which they will find rest. He was saying that few could live a sinless life even unto today, because of the manner of interpretation and implication of the laws as taught by the scribes and Pharisees. They have made them too difficult to follow.
As Liberal Catholics, we don’t look at some things the way some other more conservative churches would. The reason we don’t is because we believe we follow the true message of Christ. Our understanding of Jesus’s message is that the way we treat our fellow man and the way in which we put God first in our lives, is of far more importance than troubling ourselves with the interpretation of the 613 laws as listed in the original Torah. Jesus essentially says that if we love God with all our hearts and our souls with all our minds and if we love our neighbor as ourselves all of these laws are incorporated into those two commandments and we will be worthy as children of God.
To put it another way, each of us lives here in San Diego. Is there any one of us here present who could list every single law as put forth in the city? The state? How about by the United States Legislature? Very doubtful. Yet, each and every one of us is able to carry on with our lives and not be arrested by any of those authorities. How is that possible if we are not aware and following those thousands of laws that are in place from those three agencies? How is it we are not all thrown in jail for some infraction, fore surely we all have broken some law??!!
It is because, like the situations I have read from the Gospels, if we follow Jesus’ direction of the two most important commandments we cannot go wrong. It is the same in our earthly lives and our various government agencies; we know enough of the most important laws, and by following them, we are compliant with them all. Of course, I’ve simplified it, but I am sure you understand. Makes living a sinless life sound easier, doesn’t it?
All we need to help us live less sinful lives is we need to pray for more Jesus. For more of the Spirit.

As we listen to Jesus and walk in the Spirit, we will find that moment by moment, day by day, we can, indeed, be sin-free!

Zero is a great number!
Let us pray.
That all those who are set apart to preach, to teach, or to minister in the church will witness to Jesus Christ fearlessly and without compromise. We pray to the Lord.
That those who govern nations will protect human rights, further the work of justice, and advance the freedom of those in their charge. We pray to the Lord.
For refugees and exiles; that they may be given welcome and hope to find a new home. We pray to the Lord. (R. Lord, hear our prayer.)
For those who are trapped in lives of sin; that the gift of Jesus Christ will free them from their bonds. We pray to the Lord.
For those who struggle with depression, addictions, or mental illness; that the Lord in His kindness will be their constant help. We pray to the Lord.
For grace and wisdom as we begin and structure our new third order, the Knights of Christ and the Temple. We pray to the Lord.
For those members of our parish and for friends and family of our parish members who are ill in body or spirit; we ask that you give them and their caregivers peace, comfort and healing in this time of need. We pray to the Lord.
For the grace this week to live no longer for ourselves but for Christ. We pray to the Lord.
Loving Father, we offer You our prayers with ardent faith. Strengthen that faith and keep us true to You. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
God Love You +++
+ The Most Rev. Robert Winzens
Pastor – St. Francis
San Diego, Ca.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

June 18, 2017
We're spending less time in the kitchen than ever, certainly not the 30 hours a week that grandma spent toiling over a hot stove. But, we also are spending huge sums on kitchen gadgets that we seldom use. We’re bonkers! Which is also what many of Jesus' listeners said when he started talking about eating and drinking -- his flesh! At this point, they got out of the kitchen fast!

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Apparently, a lot of people are doing just that.

Journalist Megan McArdle, in her article, "The Joy of Not Cooking," reports that the average woman in the 1920s spent about 30 hours a week preparing food and cleaning up. By the 1950s, she was doing this just 20 hours a week. Now, women average about five hours a week in the kitchen. And that's not because men are stepping in to help -- guys give only about 15 minutes a day to kitchen work!

Oddly enough, gourmet kitchens are on the rise at the very same time that people are fleeing the heat. Men and women are spending a ton of money on kitchen equipment that they rarely use.

A Viking stove costs $10,000. A Breville toaster oven runs $250. A Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker retails for $349. And a Shun chef's knife, with its own wooden display stand? $199. This is expensive kitchen equipment, being purchased at a time when more than a quarter of all meals and snacks are being consumed outside the home. Better break out some of those Bed, Bath & Beyond 20% off coupons!!

So, what's going on here?

McArdle believes that each expensive kitchen gadget "comes with a vision of yourself doing something warm and inviting: baking bread, rolling your own pasta, slow-cooking a pot roast." Gourmet kitchen equipment promises a warm and wonderful feeling, even if you rarely touch it.

Cooking has become a leisure activity for many Americans, instead of a daily job. And Helen Rosner, the online editor for Saveur, speaks of "the dudification of cooking." Guys are getting into cooking as a leisure pursuit, and buying a lot of high-end equipment for the relatively small amount of time they spend in the kitchen. Dude cookery, says Rosner, is all "fire, blood and knives."
In the gospel of John, Jesus uses a number of kitchen-based images to describe Himself and His mission from God. "I am the living bread that came down from heaven," He says, offering a warm, inviting and nourishing image of himself as the bread of life. But then His language changes: "Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

In a flash, the pleasant image of enjoying fresh-baked bread takes a turn toward the eating of human flesh. We're suddenly in the world of fire, blood and knives.

John has already told us that Jesus is the Word of God in human form, having said that "the Word became flesh and lived among us.” And we know that this Word made flesh was not destined to live a long and happy earthly life, because "just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

Jesus is going to have to be lifted up on the cross, sacrificing his own flesh to bring us forgiveness and everlasting life, to which he alluded in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."

Living bread. Word made flesh. Lifted on the bloody cross. Given for the life of the world.

In Jesus' kitchen we find God's recipe for everlasting life. But this kitchen gets hot. "The Jews" of our gospel reading begin to dispute among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" When Jesus spoke to them about "living bread," they had a sense of what He was talking about because they remembered the bread from God -- the manna -- that their ancestors had eaten in the wilderness. But his flesh? That didn't make any sense.

"Very truly, I tell you," says Jesus, "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” His images have shifted from warm bread to something apparently more sinister. There is no longer any doubt that Jesus is going to have to give His flesh and shed His blood, and that His followers will need to eat and drink His sacrifice. Jesus is giving His whole self to us, and inviting us to eat Him up. Just reading or saying that can make one's skin crawl.
Obviously, and we should stress obviously, Jesus does not mean this in any literal sense of the language. There is no cannibalistic Jewish tradition His listeners would have understood. Thus their confusion. And they were not positioned spiritually to understand Jesus' word on any metaphorical level either. So many people, even some of those who were nominal disciples, left Jesus at this point thinking, "This teaching is difficult; who can accept it? This guy is nuts!" They left the kitchen.

Clearly, cooking with Jesus is not easy. This is understandable since kitchens have not always been pleasant places to be. In his book The Warmest Room in the House, Steven Gdula writes that kitchens used to be "as close an approximation to hell on Earth as one could find. They were hot, dirty, smelly, dangerous places, and the work done there seemed interminable."

Kitchens used to be hell on Earth. That's why Jesus entered the kitchen and baked the bread of life. Out of such a hell comes the promise of eternal life.
Consuming Jesus is not a leisure pursuit, one that can be done just a few minutes a day. Taking Jesus into ourselves is a full-time challenge, one that transforms us from the inside out. After all, "you are what you eat." "Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life," promises Jesus, "and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.”

If we take Jesus into ourselves, we are given eternal life. Don't expect to understand it. Believe it and be grateful.
After so much talk of flesh and blood, Jesus returns to the image of bread. He says about Himself, "This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” In the kitchen of Jesus, the ingredients of bread, flesh and blood all mix together. They form an unexpected meal, one that nourishes us spiritually and fills us with everlasting life.

The challenge for us is to stay close to Jesus, receive His nourishment and do His work in the world. This is not a leisure pursuit, one that can be done off and on. Jesus wants us to remain in the kitchen with Him, even when it gets hot.

We can begin by feasting on the words of Jesus. When Jesus asks the 12 disciples if they wish to go away, Peter answers by saying, "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” The words of Jesus remain a source of solid spiritual food for us, whether Jesus is describing Himself as "the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25), or commanding us to "love one another" (John 13:34).

Since Jesus is the Word of God in human form, we can always be strengthened by what He says to us in the gospels. His words are trustworthy and true, and He remains for us "the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).

Next, we can be nourished by communion, the holy meal that includes the bread of life and the cup of salvation. On the night before His death, Jesus took a loaf of bread, broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." After supper, he took a cup also, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me" (1 Corinthians 11:23-25).

Jesus instructs us to eat and drink of the bread and the wine to remember Him, or to honor Him. Receiving communion is an important way of living in Christ, and allowing Him to live in us.

Finally, we can go out to be the body of Christ in the world. Christians who feast on the words of Jesus and nourish themselves with communion become nothing less than the flesh-and-blood presence of Jesus in the world today. We can be the hands and feet of Jesus, whether we are young or old, male or female, white or black, liberal or conservative.

None of this requires a gourmet kitchen, filled with expensive equipment and gadgets. All that we need to do is keep cooking with Jesus, even when things get hot.
(I am changing up the prayer section after the sermon. Some of you are familiar with responsorial prayer, as it is common in some other churches. I want to start using it here also. I am placing it her after the sermon, which does differ in its placement from other churches, however. I decided to do this for a couple of reasons.
First, I want to open up the prayer piece to include more needs than just a long prayer devoted to the topic of the sermon. So, these prayers may only have a small amount of relationship to the sermon.
Second, and I think most importantly, this new form will draw YOU the congregation in more to the prayers and make you active participants in our petitions of our Lord. The Mass is about our worship of the Lord, not solely about the priest’s. So, going forward, feel free to bring to myself or Dc. Koko or Ab. Gentzsch a specific prayer need you may want inserted here, or you may still keep it private and put the need or person in the offering plate for me to offer during the Eucharistic blessing. Your choice.
So, either myself or Deacon Koko will read the petitions one by one (we know how much Abbot Gentzsch likes to read, so we will give him a pass). After each stanza, Dcn. Koko or I will say the words, “We pray to the Lord.” And everyone will respond, “Lord, hear our prayer.” Simple enough, right? Here we go!)
Let us pray.
For the Church, the Body of Christ; that we will deepen our devotion to the Eucharistic sacrifice which gives life to the world. We pray to the Lord.
That the redemptive power of Christ’s Eucharistic sacrifice will extend to the hearts and minds of those who govern. We pray to the Lord.
That Christians will give Gospel witness to what they receive in the most Holy Eucharist. We pray to the Lord.
For a blessing on all fathers on this Father’s day. We pray to the Lord.
For those who live in want; that Jesus the Bread of Life will be their sustenance, and that we will bring the mercy of Christ to all those in need. We pray to the lord.
For the families and the missing people from London’s tower fire; that the Lord will send the Holy Spirit as comfort in this time anguish. We pray to the Lord.
God Love You +++
+ The Most Rev. Robert Winzens
Pastor – St. Francis Universal Catholic Church
San Diego, Ca.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 11, 2017
Trinity Sunday
Sometimes, we are exposed to various things and or have used them for years, but never really know why we do or what they really are. One lady had a collection of vintage kitchen utensils which included one whose purpose was always a mystery. It looks like a cross between a metal slotted spoon and a spatula, so she used it as both. When it was not in use, it was prominently displayed in a decorative utensil caddy in her kitchen. The mystery of the spoon/spatula was recently resolved for her when she went to a rummage sale and saw another one in its original packaging. It was a pooper-scooper. 
Today I thought I would focus on some biblical original packaging or “proofs” of the Trinity. Granted, the word “Trinity” is not in the bible, but neither is “Incarnation” and a few otherwords used to describe Catholic doctrine, but we believe those truths. Even though the word “Trinity” is not in the bible, I wantto show that the doctrine is. So, let’s explore a little. We use the Trinity frequently and even keep Him/Her prominently displayed, but we don’t know where the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity came from.
Some would say that Jesus Christ is not God and that the Holy Spirit is not a person. Other groups believe that Jesus is God, but they believe that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are different modes of the same person.
The Bible teaches that within the nature of the one true God, there exists three separate and distinct persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They are co-equal in nature and co-eternal. The Trinity doctrine is NOT three gods in one. All through the Old Testament and many times in the New, we clearly see there is but one true God; but, nowhere in the Bible does it say that this God that we call the true God, that Christians worship and serve, is just the Father, or a single person known as the Father.
It is difficult to describe the Holy Trinity and no analogy is a perfect example, because the doctrine of the Trinity is a paradox – mystery of faith. However, is one many of you have probably heard – one reasonably good way to illustrate the Trinity doctrine that would be with H2O, which is common water-two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen. You can freeze H2O and you would have water solid, or ice. You can turn on your faucet and you would have the liquid H2O. You can hear the whistle of H2O that comes out of the tea kettle spout which is steam, but it would still be H2O. H2O can and does exist in solid, liquid and gas. The solid is not the liquid; the liquid is not the gas; and yet all three are of one nature: H2O. And that is exactly how it is with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son, the Father is not the Holy Spirit, and Jesus is not the Holy Spirit, yet all three persons are ONE God.
Genesis, chapter 1 verse 26:
   "Then [Elohim (Hebrew)God said, ‘Let us [notice that plural pronoun] make man in our [there's a plural word again] image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'" We see the plural pronoun us and also the plural word ourOur image and ourlikeness.
In the book of Daniel 7:13-14, a plurality in God is again shown.
   "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."
The New International Version reads, "worshiped him." The King James Version of the Bible states that they served him.The word in the Hebrew is worshiped. They worshiped the one that's called Son of Man. And this is Jesus. So not only is the Ancient of Days worshiped, we see that there is someone else that's separate and distinct from the Ancient of Days, according to these two verses that is likewise worshiped.Therefore, there must be plurality in God. There has to be, because only the True and the Living God of the Bible can be worshiped. To worship anything or anyone else would be idolatry. We must remember that much of the bible was written by devote Jews, who only “worshipped” the One True God. 
Deut. 6:4 is a verse that some will bring up to you in their effort to disprove the doctrine of the Trinity, but you can turn the tables on them and show just the opposite. That verse reads:"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [there's that word Elohim again], the LORD is one." 
So, here we find out that Elohim is one. Now this is a very important thing to listen to, because this word one shows compound unity. Echod is the Hebrew word. This word one as used is compound unity. As an example, in Gen. 2:24 there is a verse that certainly most of us are acquainted with: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." 
There's the compound unity. The same exact thing that Elohimis, compound unity, husband and wife become - “one.
Are all three persons defined in the Trinity doctrine really a person? The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. So, the next thing we need to do is to define exactly what is meant by a person. A person possesses intellectemotion and will. The Father possesses intellect, He possesses emotion and He possesses will. And so does the Son, and so do all of us. And the Holy Spirit, like it or not, is indeed a person as is the Father and the Son. 
The Holy Spirit has an intellect. Jn. 14:26 reads: "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." 
For someone to teach, they must possess intellect. So if the Holy Spirit teaches, He has an intellect. And it's also shown that the Holy Spirit does teach in other verses as well such as 1 Cor. 2:13 and Neh. 9:20.
The Holy Spirit has emotion. In Rom. 15:30 Paul is writing and he said to the church at Rome: "I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me." 
So he referred to the love of the Spirit. Love is an emotion, and the Holy Spirit has love. Therefore, the Holy Spirit has an emotion. 
The third and final point that the Holy Spirit is a person is the fact that he has a will. And that's shown in 1 Cor. 12:11: "All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
So the Holy Spirit has intellect, He has emotion, and He has will, just like the Father and just like the Son. And not only that, there are other indications that the Holy Spirit is indeed a person.
Let me cite a few other facts regarding the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides, He speaks and He hears (Jn. 16:13). The Holy Spirit intercedes (Rom. 8:26). The Holy Spirit forbids certain actions (Acts 16:6-7). The Holy Spirit sends into service (Acts 13:4). The Holy Spirit can be grieved (Eph. 4:30). The Holy Spirit may be blasphemed (Mt. 12:31). He can be lied to (Acts 5:3). The Holy Spirit can be insulted or outraged (Heb. 10:29). And the Holy Spirit can be resisted (Acts 7:51). These are all traits of a person. And again, we see from all these verses that the Holy Spirit is indeed a person as is the Father and the Son.
In Acts 13:1, 2: "In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.'" Here we see the personal pronoun I. So this again shows that the Holy Spirit is not merely an active force, but instead a person.
In Acts 5:3, 4 we read this: "Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.'" Verse 3 says he lied to the Holy Spirit. Verse 4 says he lied to God. Therefore the Holy Spirit must be God.
In Exodus 17:2, 7 we read: "So they quarreled with Moses and said, ‘Give us water to drink.' Moses replied, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD [that is, Elohim] to the test?' " ... "And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD [that is, Elohim] saying, ‘Is the LORD [or is Elohimamong us or not?' "
In Hebrews 3:9 the Holy Spirit is speaking and says, "where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did." So the Holy Spirit is the one they tested, but Exodus 17 says it was Elohim. So the Holy Spirit must be Elohim.
A second comparison is found in Jeremiah chapter 31:31-34. This is an Old Testament prophecy about the New Covenant, or the New Testament: " ‘The time is coming,' declares the LORD, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,' declares the LORD. ‘This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,' declares the LORD. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, "Know the LORD," because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,' declares the LORD. ‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.' "
This is a prophecy in the Old Testament regarding the covenant that we're now under. Hebrews chapter 10:15-17 is where we need to go now. The Holy Spirit is speaking again: "The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.' Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.' "
1 Corinthians 2:10-11 teach that the Holy Spirit is all-knowing. He knows everything: "but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."
So how do you go about showing that Jesus is God? In John 20:28, we find out where one of the Apostles called Jesus his Lord and his God. He did not just call Jesus his Lord, but also called Jesus his God. His name was Thomas, one of the original Twelve. Thomas called him God, and believed that Jesus was his God. Now he's a strict monotheistic Jew. He believed in only one God, and yet he thought that Jesus was his God.
Other verses show that Jesus is called God. If you compare Jn. 1:1 with verse 14 of the same chapter, you would find out that Jesus is God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And verse 14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
In Rev. 1:17-18 Jesus identifies Himself as the Alpha and Omega. He said to John: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades." 
In Rev. 22:13. There Jesus said: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."
The only rational thing to conclude is that the Bible teaches the Trinity doctrine even though the word itself is not found in the Bible. 
The Bible teaches that God raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 3:15 and Acts 13:30 and Gal. 1:1). And would you believe that elsewhere in the New Testament, we read that it was the Son who raised himself from the dead (John 2:19-22; 10:17, 18). And finally, it was the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11). So how could it say the Father raised him, the Son raised himself, and the Holy Spirit raised the Son, unless the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the one true God by nature?
Is there a point in time in the Bible when all three appear individually at once? At Jesus' baptism, Jesus was there. The Holy Spirit in dove form was there. And the Father was there when He spoke from heaven.
You can say, that if the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit all have the same attributes of each other, that if it says that God did it, then the three are the one GodFor example, in Isaiah 44:24, and also in Job 9:8, it says God alone created the universe. But yet we have Isaiah 64:8 that says the Father created. Jn. 1:3, Col. 1:16, Heb. 1:2 and Rev. 3:14 says the Son created. It also says the Holy Spirit created (Job 26:13 and Job 33:4). So you have Father, Son and Holy Spirit all active and participating in the creation. 
There you have it; all the bible references you ever wanted to argue with your next door neighbor on. All from the monotheistic Hebrew and Christian Bible. 
Let us pray.
Father God, we ask that You help our finite minds to better comprehend Your blessed Trinity. We ask that the preaching and teaching of the Church will bless all with the desire to share in the life of the Blessed Trinity. 
Father, You have revealed Your innermost secret – the eternal exchange of Love found in Your three persons, and You have destined each of us to share in that love. We ask that You bless our parish with this love and in so doing, that we may be made a more perfect likeness of the Blessed Trinity. 
We further ask that people everywhere will have an unfailing respect for all persons, from conception to death, for we all were created in the image of the Trinity. For those, dear Lord, who do not have faith, we ask that the love of the Blessed Trinity will awaken their minds and give hope to their hearts. 
Lastly, grant us each Your grace this week to live each moment consciously united to God in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. We ask all this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
God Love You +++
+ The Most Rev. Robert Winzens
Pastor – St. Francis Universal Catholic Church
San Diego, Ca.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

June 4, 2017
(Pentecost Sunday)
Today’s message is more of an announcement/lecture than a sermon. So, Yes Abbot Gentzsch, it is long intentionally.
I wasn’t sure what message I wanted to have today. But it soon came to mind when I was out running on Thursday. As some of you know, I used to be an avid runner about 15 years ago and then back surgery happened. I was advised by the doctor not to jog anymore but take up yoga or tennis. But frankly yoga just didn’t seem to be my thing - still isn’t. Maybe it hasn’t been presented in a way that appeals to me possibly. Always loved tennis, but I was horrible at it and I couldn’t help but wonder why the doctor would tell me to stop running to play tennis which is just as jarring on the body. However, be that as it may, about a month ago I decided I needed to get back into running, so I have.
Running for me is always been something more than just the physical benefits it brings. It always used to be one of my best times for inspiration, because running was more like a meditation for me. When I ran, issues and problems seem to melt into understanding and a sense of letting go would take over. I felt that during my runs it was when the Holy Spirit seemed to connect with me the most. It was like I was running through ancient Jerusalem, and our Blessed Lord ran beside me.
Since being laid off from my secular career, I have slowly managed to get myself back into what I am going to call “spiritual sanity.” My secular career would usually be 60 to 72 hours worth of work a week, which of course did not translate for a lot of time for church. And as some of you heard me say recently, I haven’t the faintest idea how I did it all, because looking on what I’m doing now - doing church work virtually all day every day - and I’m still behind on projects. So I have actually no clue how I used to do it when I was away from home 60 - 72 hours week.
However, losing my secular career, although while certainly not a financial benefit, it has afforded me the time to explore what my life has become. It has helped me to sit back and look at where I am now, and where I was 16 years ago before coming to California. I remember my days in Louisiana not being nearly as stressful in my career, nor taking nearly as much time away from my life. My prayer life was so important to me then, and I spent a lot of time in it.
As the years have rolled by, I have severely chastised myself for allowing my spiritual life to somewhat become stagnant. My prayer life was virtually nothing but Sundays and an occasional prayer or two during the week. This bothered me a great deal; and somehow I suspect it hurt the Holy Spirit also.
To reveal little bit about how I became a priest briefly, without going into too many to specifics, I remember vividly God communicating to me. Shortly before starting seminary, I had been craving something in my life for a long time, but the good Lord told me that if I wanted this particular prayer answered as requested, I needed to become a priest as my part of the “deal”. And the good Lord kept His part of the promise, and I did end up as a priest and my petition was also answered as He promised.
So my point to this part of the missive, is that I not only became a priest, but a few years later after doing so, I moved here to California. I was asked to come and take over a small chapel and its ministry. I wasn’t given any grandiose ideas that it was some sort of great Gothic cathedral or anything of this nature, so I had no real vision in my mind, so I wasn’t disappointed when I got here. I merely took how quickly my house sold as a sign that God wanted me to do this. I told the good Lord, if You want me to go, then sell my house. And it was one week later.
And so jumping forward to today, as much as it stresses me that I am no longer working, I really feel very deep down, that the good Lord’s hand is in this. As some of you know, I really hated my job I had, so I was kind of relieved when I was laid off. And I have been praying for some change to be brought my way anyway. I have been fortunate over the years that I’ve never had to actually search for a job; they always came to me. (Obviously I’d like that to happen again but one cannot base their life on this, so certainly I am looking.) But my point is this, 3 or 4 years ago I had started praying in earnest for some sort of job change to come my way. I work so much, that given those number of hours I worked plus trying to keep some semblance of ministry going on at St. Francis, as well as trying to find a little bit of rest for my sanity - it left very little time for me to actually go searching for a job, though admittedly I have many trepidations about doing anyway.
So, I believe 150% that this was God’s way of saying I was working too much for the wrong thing. I feel within my heart that this was God’s way of answering my prayer, but also because He wanted me to focus more on the church especially while we seem to be getting a little more activity. It wasn’t quite the answer in the way I was hoping for, but in some way I feel confident that it’s the answer I needed. I trust in and believe the Lord works in His own time. But in the meantime, I cannot tell you with words the amount of confidence I have and inspiration from the Holy Spirit that all of this is intentional.
Yes the topic of selling the rectory and the church has come up in a few conversations that we’ve had amongst ourselves and with the board of vestry as of late; and though at times my fears tell me I probably should, I know that is not what the good Lord wants me to do right now.
Yes, all this is leading somewhere.
So anyway, as I was jogging Thursday, my sermon came to me. As some of you know, Ramon has been asking me, for some years now, to form a Third Order under my authority. It was all Ramon’s idea, and I was certainly enthusiastic about it, but I never seemed to have time to sit down and really think about it. (Not that I actually needed to do anything anyway, because Ramon has done almost all of the work. These conversations for a Third Order have started as far back as 2012. And Joe, after expressing to him my mutual desire with Ramon’s to one day start this Order, he expressed his interest in it as well; and that was back in 2014. Seems like just yesterday that Joe started coming to our church, so it shows you how I’ve managed to lose track of things and especially our ministry here at St. Francis.
As we heard in today’s Gospel, Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon His Apostles. He gave them great powers, as it were. A bishop acts as Christ’s representative acting as a successor to one of the Apostles. In such, he is meant to be the mystical and spiritual embodiment and presence to the flock assigned to him. So, frankly, given my situation that I have just related to you, I would not have had the energy to be the embodied force creating a Third Order of this kind and what it needed, even if I were not the one doing the “work” as it were, it would take spiritual energy that I wasn’t creating.
So the past few weeks, Ramon has brought up the topic again. It’s interesting that he brought up the topic during a couple of key things.
First, we were in the middle of the discussion on how I had expressed that I wished I could retire from secular work and become strictly just a priest and grow St. Francis, because I feel the Universal Catholic Church has so much to offer to the world today. The world around us feels like it’s almost caving in upon us. After being laid off, I decided to try and pick up some projects that I had ideas on or started typing out for the church. It was then that I discovered that I had so many grandiose ideas; so many that I had started on or at least wrote some notes on what I wanted to do, things I felt we really needed and the lack thereof which I thought was holding us back, but because of my secular career I had absolutely no time to do it. In fact, it was actually frightening how far behind I had gotten on so many things, so many projects, so many promised ministries. And it was thus that I had woke up and realized, that I still haven’t the faintest idea how I managed to keep St. Francis going and work that job I had. It was during this conversation that Ramon, in his usual optimistic manner, said that he believed we would get there and that he thought now was probably a good time to seriously start getting the Order going. He truly felt that this was like a nudging of the Holy Spirit. I couldn’t argue, because it seemed to be complying with what I’ve just described to you.
Secondly, Ramon’s mother-in-law passed away. And of course during this period of time, the last thing I wanted Ramon to be worrying about was the Third Order. And I told him so. Of course, he took a few weeks to grieve with his family as is most appropriate. But, around the time of her funeral, he picked up on organizing the Order again with fury. In some ways I wonder if the Holy Spirit didn’t use his situation to also motivate him as well. Now I don’t mean that the Holy Spirit intentionally had arranged for his mother-in-law to pass away and somehow push Ramon into action – of course not - but merely that in God’s wisdom it did happen, so therefore the Holy Spirit determined that it might be a way to help Ramon in his grieving process. Now I could be wrong, of course, and I frequently am, but that’s what I perceive has been happening the past two weeks.
I know, I know. I am getting there. An occasional long sermon is good for the soul.
So with that, here we are on Whitsunday. The day of Pentecost. So, on Thursday, I’m out running and the Holy Spirit is talking to me. And I came to believe that today would be the best day to make a “formal” announcement creating this Third Order. And so we shall.
The Third Order’s name will be the: Knights of Christ and the Temple. The Patron saint will be Our Lady Mary, under a new title, via my authority, as Our Lady of the Knights of Christ and the Temple! I know she has so many titles already, but it was time our denomination gave her one under our own charter. (The beauty of being a bishop is we get to create these wonderful things!!) I was actually quite surprised when Ramon said he wanted Our Lady as the Order’s patron, but I was very pleased! Of course, we are taking some of this from the Knights Templar, they were Franciscans after all, so we have St. Francis helping us to boot! Woo Hoo!
Obviously I don’t have enough time here, and I’ve already rambled on a lot (I can see Abbot Gentzsch fidgeting over there!), so I can’t give you all the details of the order, why we chose the name we did, specific rules and expectations and a plethora of other things; but I can give you some background.
This Order is intended to be a “brotherhood” of men and women who come together to explore mystical, spiritual, esoteric, ways and means in life. A support group, soldier in arms, or fraternity of sorts. Similar to monasticism, they will be united to each other in prayer and meditation. With discipline of daily prayer, meditation and contemplation with some sets of mandatory prayers.
In John 21:25, it says, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” We all know of larger libraries, and of a very much larger electronic storing systems, then anything a first century author could’ve imagined. Even if it might be technically true that every single deed Jesus ever did could be written down, and that the books though numerous, would ultimately be finite in number, nevertheless the point remains; the world would not be able to contain them. They would be too explosive. It would be like trying to play a wonderful symphony on a broken piano. It would be like trying to serve a gourmet meal at a snack bar. It would be like God’s breath inside an ordinary human being.
And my point is this, from the mystical and spiritual realm from our omnipotent creator God, there is far more to understand, know, explain and articulate, that it’s nearly impossible to understand it all. By creating an order of this nature we are effectively creating a venue for Christians to come together and open themselves up to the mystical nature of the Holy Spirit.
Primarily the order will be for prayer, much like monks in a monastery or nuns in the convent; but also the order will be for exploring anything spiritual, mystical, theosophical, theoretical, or theological openly. For all of these things in some different ways can lead us to God. There is actually no way we could possibly explore all these things merely on Sunday mornings at Mass. The church needs a venue where this can be done and be done freely.
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.”
Obviously, as a Liberal Catholic Rite church, we are open to a broad number of learnings and expressions of faith that some denominations would either not allow at all, or would frown upon. We on the other hand, have our belief in Freedom of Thought, and as such, feel there are many avenues that one can communicate and commune with our divine Lord. Esoteric training and meditation all with a Christian edge, will be presented through the Order.
An opening to inner mystical experiences. Christian enlightenment. Opening ourselves to secret teachings as well as orthodox. Opening ourselves to Sophia – Wisdom – The Holy Spirit. Not the Gnostic god Sophia, but Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) of God. Will all be offered and possibly explored with openness. I, acting as the Grand Master of the Order, will ensure that we keep these experiences grounded as Christians and from straying into negative aspects of the spiritual world.
I liken the new Order similar to a few things some of you may have heard of before.
One, is the Catholic Charismatic Movement. This movement, though Roman Catholics would cringe at hearing me say such a thing, has many similarities to the fundamental and evangelical type churches, because of its big emphasis on having a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. This is just not something that has been common as a description for Catholics over the years; a personal relationship with Jesus. It was always something you heard in other churches; but as of late that is not the case. But, I get a little ahead of myself.
Let’s have a little more background information on some things this Order will emulate, to some degree, and where it is hoped it will go. (I might get some of the intended structure and information slightly off from all that Ramon is hoping for, so Mia Culpa if I goof some of this up. But, it’s his fault. He wanted me to be the Grand Master of the Order, so here you have it.) Some of what I intend for the Order is to emulate two organizations that some of you are probably very familiar with already.
Opus Dei was founded by a Catholic priest, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, on 2 October 1928 in Madrid, Spain. Throughout his life, Escrivá held that the founding of Opus Dei had a “supernatural character.” Opus Dei's mission is a way of helping ordinary Christians "to understand that their life... is a way of holiness and evangelization... And to those who grasp this ideal of holiness, the work offers the spiritual assistance and training they need to put it into practice.” Opus Dei was made into a personal prelature. This means that Opus Dei is part of the Roman Catholic Church, and the apostolate of the members falls under the direct jurisdiction of the Prelate (Bishop) of Opus Dei wherever they are. (Apostolate - The work of an apostle, not only of the first followers of Christ but of all the faithful who carry on the original mission entrusted by the Savior to the twelve to "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). The apostolate belongs essentially to the order of grace. Its purpose is not temporal welfare, however noble, but to bring people to the knowledge and love of Christ and, through obedience to his teaching, help them attain life everlasting.)
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, also known as the Order of Solomon's Temple, the Knights Templar, or simply as Templars, was a Catholic military order recognized in 1139 by  Pope Innocent II. The order was founded in 1119 and active from about 1129 to 1312.
The order, which was among the wealthiest and most powerful, became a favored charity throughout Christendom and grew rapidly in membership and power. They were prominent in Christian finance. Templar knights, in their distinctive white mantles with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades.
The Templars being closely tied to the Crusades; is an aspect we will in not emulate at all. Rumors about the Templars' secret initiation ceremony created distrust, and King Philip IV of France – deeply in debt to the Order of Knights – took advantage of the situation to gain control over them. In 1307, he had many of the order's members in France arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, and burned at the stake. Pope Clement V disbanded the order in 1312 but mostly under pressure from King Philip.
Speculation, legend, and legacy through the ages has plagued the Knights. Legends insist that the Knights were involved esoteric elements and secret rituals. As such, I think it obvious that they chose to be known as the Order of Solomon’s Temple, given Solomon is said to have received a ring directly from God. This ring variously gave Solomon the power to command good and evil spirits, or to speak with animals. Due to the proverbial wisdom of Solomon, his signet ring, or its supposed design, came to be seen as an amulet or talisman. If given to him by God, it would seem apparent that not all that is esoteric or mystical is considered to be bad.
However, we are intending that Knights of Christ and Temple, be of a similar nature. Now, I too, like Opus Dei’s founder, think our Order also will have a “supernatural character”, in that explains why we are starting on the day of Pentecost. Our Order too, for those who choose to join, will hopefully find ways of holiness, evangelization, grasp an ideal of holiness, and work to offer spiritual assistance.
Additionally, like Opus Dei, it will be an Order to meet once or twice a month, not only to discuss the aforementioned spiritual paths, but especially as a group devoted heavily in prayer. As a brotherhood of men and women, this group will be expected to focus energies to the wellbeing of all members of the Order; special prayers for the Grand Master for his needs and so he may help to keep them “safe”; for the needs of the home parish church (later as we grow, for the individual chapter of the order when more than one may exist) and its members and clergy; for our Presiding Bishop; and for the needs of the world that is in need of a cure from negative forces.
The Knights of Christ and the Temple will not be a militant force such as they were in that age, or as government militia are today. We are not being formed for that at all. We have no agenda to infiltrate Islamic faiths or any other religion for that matter, nor to “release them from the chains of their heresies” to quote a source that will remain nameless. We are not in a battle to undo other religions; we seek only to better our fellow “knights” and to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ; if it leads to conversion, great, but this is not our main course of intention.
We will be mystical knights from a spiritual sense, however, and will fight the forces of negativity that are plaguing our culture which seem to be gaining far too much hold on our souls. We will therefore be a “spiritual” militia in a sense that the members will be expected to adhere to a disciplined prayer life and will include some meditations directed to this end.
Having Our Lady Mary as patron of the Order is of great value, because as we know from her apparitions, she always speaks of constant and fervent prayer. I find great value in the Rosary, as many of you know. The Rosary can very much be a contemplative type of prayer. For those who have studied, practiced and mastered the Rosary, I will tell you that enough cannot be said of its spiritual value and rewards from calling on Our Blessed Lady in the Rosary. When you have your mind and soul in the right place, and let go and let Mary in, you will awaken a contemplative conscience that will be of great benefit to you. (At least now you know why I collect rosary beads – I cannot get enough of the prayer. Something my job kind of crushed, that I am striving to get back to is frequent Rosary recitations.)
Now contemplative and centering prayer can be very hard to master. I am very devoted to both, but I am not a good teacher of it. We attempted Centering Prayer a few years ago here, and it did not go well. I guess I take too much for granted that some of the details will be fill themselves in, and thus those I try to teach it to do not get the full benefit from it or going deeply enough to better understand and experience it. Hence, one unintentionally close off the Holy Spirit from entering their sacred place – their soul. So, one of my goals – and I gather it is one of Ramon’s also from what he has communicated – is that those who are part of the Order, and thus as part of this community, will endeavor to learn a deeper form of prayer.
We have a humble website working – that is a work in progress also. I encourage everyone to visit it. We will provide links to such from our Chapel website as well as from our St. Francis blog on Facebook. We are looking for members who want to be a part of such a community, but also for some who are willing to help the order grow to be an instrument for others on their Sojourn to better understanding and experiencing of our Lord.
I want to close this by reading to you a section from St. Faustina’s diary. I read it yesterday and it resonated with me and gave me a feeling that this Order will be good for us – and so I hope. It speaks a message of humility that I want to impose on the members of the Order.
I asked the Lord today that He might deign to teach me about the interior life, because of myself I can neither understand nor conceive anything perfectly. The Lord answered me, ‘I was your Teacher, I am and I will be; strive to make your heart like unto My humble and gentle Heart. Never claim your rights. Bear with great calm and patience everything that befalls you. Do not defend yourself when you are put to shame, though innocent. Let others triumph. Do not stop being good when you notice that your goodness is being abused. I Myself will speak up for you when it is necessary. Be grateful for the smallest of My graces, because your gratitude compels Me to grant you new graces.’

Let us pray.
Father God, we are embarking on a new ministry and we beg Your blessing for it. There is so much more to Your majesty than the mind of man can take in, yet the average man attempts to take so little of it. Let this ministry open minds to Your love and mercy and be open to Your voice.
The Knights of Christ and the Temple aims to open our hearts and minds to You, Dear Father, in mystical ways and as such, to be given spiritual inspiration and enlightenment. We ask that You infuse this Order with Your blessings and speak to our souls that are so in need of You. Let the Esoteric forces of good permeate the Order with great urgency as Your Holy Spirit did upon the Apostles and Our Lady Mary. Let us receive Your power to do so much more in Your name.
Our Lady of the Knights of Christ and the Temple, as you have spoken in your apparitions to your children on earth in previous times, we ask that you speak to us in this Order that we put under your direct protection and guidance. As your children, thru Christ your son, we ask that you bless us with your maternal care and protection from the wiles of evil plaguing our culture today. We ask that you give us inspiration to pray continually and at all times.
St. Francis, as you gave voice and inspiration to the Knights Templar, we ask you to do so to our Knights here now.
We ask all this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
God Love You +++
+ The Most Rev. Robert Winzens
Pastor – St. Francis Universal Catholic Church
San Diego, Ca.