You cannot out give God

Many years ago a pastor friend of mine delivered a sermon titled, “You can’t out give God.” I never forgot it and it’s animated my life ever since. There are many scriptural references around the theme of giving but this one from Malachi 3:10 has stayed with me.

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 

Just got an email from Alice Miller Nation who is the Director of the Warming House which is the oldest student run soup kitchen in the United States. In 2019 The Warming House served 5922 meals for the entire year. This year to date The Warming House has served 5378 in 7 months. That’s an average of 897 meals per month. At that rate The Warming House will serve nearly 11,000 meals this year. You can help put this bread on the table of Olean Area residents by sending a donation to:

The Warming House
Franciscan Center for Social Concern
St. Bonaventure University
3621 West State Road
St. Bonaventure, NY 14778

Language of the heart

Today was a great day. It was a mix of many emotions as we celebrated the life of a good friend and bid him goodbye too. A few days ago Sister Death came to take my friend Paul to his eternal reward. Today we gathered first at the funeral home, later in St. Joseph’s Maronite Catholic Church in Olean, then St. Bonaventure Cemetery and finally a nice luncheon at EB’s Restaraunt in the village of Allegany. I loved Paul. He was a friend, a mentor, and a champion rolled into one.

Today as the bag piper played and we carried his coffin into St. Joe’s and emotion surfaced I thought of my friend and his life that touched so many of us. I met him almost thirty years ago on a street corner in Olean. What happened to the last thirty years. Time is fleeting. In that span I got to know him well and we shared many good times and great insights. A few years ago Paul and his wife Doris joined St. Joseph’s after the Diocese of Buffalo closed their home parish of St. John the Baptist in Vandalia, NY.

I’d never been to a Maronite Catholic Mass until today. I loved listening to Fr. Joseph Akiki as he blessed Paul and us with incense and his words. There were many memorable moments in the service but one of them was the consecration when Fr. Joseph intoned what sounded like Aramaic, the language of Jesus as he blessed the bread and wine. I spoke with him in EB’s Restaraunt later and asked him about the blessing and he assured me it was in Aramaic or more correctly Syriac which he said was the language of Christ. I felt a strong presence of Christ in that church today as we said farewell to our friend Paul and heard the lovely Syriac words from Fr. Joe.

Squirrels in our midst

I drove to Olean, New York tonight for a dinner with my wife at the Beef & Barrel Restaraunt in downtown Olean. It’s one of our favorite stop and perhaps the best beef house in all of New York State. After dinner Diane did some shopping while I watched this year’s Jamestown Community College-Olean Lady Jaguars Soccer team take on Hudson Valley Community College. I made it to a number of their games last year. But, enough of the Jaguars and the Beef & Barrel. All over Olean squirrels like the one pictured here dot the streets. Some look like veterans, some like Santa, others are colorful like this one. Every town and city has its signature and these squirrels are Olean’s.

Lady of the Genesee

I began my day driving to nearby Olean to the Verizon Wireless store. I was returning one phone and exchanging it for another. When I finished it was 10:40 am and I thought with luck I can get to Mt. Irenaeus at least in time for communion.  I did better than that, I got there in time for the Gospel. The chapel was packed today with nearly 60 people, many who had come to celebrate a wedding, some to visit Fr. Dan Hurley, OFM who is aging and ageless. Hurles as he is affectionately known is 88 years old and still going strong. His eyesight is failing but not his vision, his heart nor his appeal to family and friends. Following Mass and a sumptuous bruch I made my way up through the Genesee River Valley to one of my other favorite spots in Western New York. I got to the Abbey of the Genesee in time for Vespers and Benediction. I love the adoration of the Eucharist, it is one of my favorite liturgical ceremonies and combined with vespers it was a beautiful way to spend part of my afternoon.  I used the camera of my new Blackberry Curve to take this lovely picture of Our Lady of the Genesee. I often stop to pray near this statue and today’s weather combined to make a beautiful picture. As I sat near the statue I thought of the Magnificat we’d just prayed as Vespers ended.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed;
the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.
He has mercy on those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm
and has scattered the proud in their conceit,
Casting down the mighty from their thrones
and lifting up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good thing
and sent the rich away empty.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
to remember his promise of mercy,
The promise made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children for ever.