A Disciple’s Journey

For the last four years, on the weekend following Labor Day, our parish has come together to make a Covenant with God.

This past September, our parish Stewardship Team decided to “mix it up” a little.  In the past, you were asked to think about your faith journey and then make a promise to God, write it on paper, and leave it under the altar as a clear sign of your covenant.

This year, you are encouraged to take the Self-Assessment that can be found both on the back page of today’s bulletin as well as here.  You are asked to take your time and discern your response to the statements.  If you are “doing it now”, mark “I am…”.  If you are willing to “give it your best effort”, mark “I will…”.

The assessment has been divided into three categories that mirror our parish’s Stewardship Theme:

 

Getting to Know…

                Each Other

                                Ourselves

                                                The Lord

What can you do this Lent (as a starting point) to make your journey with Christ, as His Disciple, more fruitful in your daily life and your eternal life?

For the next three weeks, I will be addressing each section of the Self-Study.

I pray that your Lenten Journey is a blessing to you.  Just remember that you will get out of it what you put into it.  Challenge yourself this year to do just one more thing that you didn’t do last year.

 

COMMUNAL PENANCE SERVICES (with Private Confessions) in Neighboring Parishes

Sunday, March 4 @ 4:00 p.m. at St. Thomas More, Oceanside

Monday, March 5 @ 7:00 p.m.at St. John, Encinitas

Tuesday, March 6 @ 1:00 & 7:00 p.m. at Mission San Luis Rey

Wednesday, March 7 @ 7:00 p.m. at St. Patrick, Carlsbad

Tuesday, March 13 @ 7:00 p.m. at Nativity, Rancho Santa Fe

Friday, March 16 @ 6:30 p.m.at St. Mary Star of the Sea, O’side

Tuesday, March 20 @ 12 noon at St. Francis, Vista

Tuesday, March 20 @ 6:30 p.m. in English, Spanish, Vietnamese at St. Francis, Vista

Wednesday, March 21 @ 7:00 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Seton, Carlsbad

Thursday, March 22 @ 6:30 p.m.at St. James, Solana Beach

Friday, March 23 @ 6:30 p.m. in Spanish at St. Mark, San Marcos

Monday, March 26 @ 6:30 p.m.at St. Mark, San Marcos

Tuesday, March 27 @ 6:00 p.m. at St. Peter, Fallbrook

Our parish will continue to hear private confessions every Saturday during Lent, beginning at 8:00 a.m.

 

 

DO YOU KNOW THE ORIGIN OF LENT?

In the early medieval years, Lent originated as a period of final preparation for those who would be baptized at Easter.  In the beginning, Lent only lasted three weeks, but then it was extended to a six week period.  It was a period of intense fasting and prayer by the catechumens who had been preparing for baptism for several years.  This reflects the baptismal character of Lent.

Lent also has a penitential character.  In the early medieval church, those who had sinned seriously went through a penitential process and were brought back to the church at Eastertime.  This was the beginning of the different forms of penance that we engage in during Lent.

Since Vatican II, we emphasize both the penitential and the baptismal aspects of Lent.  While we pray, fast and give alms as is traditional, we also support those who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil.  As they prepare for their baptism, we reflect on our own baptismal call and promises and what it means to live them out in the world in which we live.

Next Sunday, February 18, we will  celebrate the RITE OF SENDING with our catechumens at the 10 am Mass.  The parish, who has duly prepared them, will send them forth to be accepted in San Diego by the bishop as the Elect for the Easter Vigil.

Our catechumens this year are  Edgar Bijon, Noelle Brown, James Finks, Maritza Galan, Wendy Galan, Leticia Hernandez, Nereyda Hernandez, Ricardo Hernandez, Greg Martin, Juanita Morales, Esteba Ortiz, Andrew Ramos, Caricia Sixto, Frances Sweeney, Veronica Vidaurri

As we journey through Lent, let us remember them in our prayers and ask God that they be filled with the power of His Spirit as they prepare to become fully initiated Catholics.

(Thank you to Patty Mann, our Director of Faith Formation, for the clarification about Lent.  I hope everyone found it as interesting as I.)

 

Next Sunday, February 18, is the First Sunday of Lent.  Our parish offers many opportunities to support you on your Faith Journey during this time.  Please refer to the back page of today’s bulletin for a full listing of these services and events.

Next weekend, on the back page, you will see a self-study: Reflecting on My Relationship with Christ as His Disciple.   This self-study is broken into three sections, keeping in touch with our parish’s Stewardship theme: Getting to Know Each Other, Ourselves, and the Lord.  For the following three weeks, I will address each of these sections here in Barbie’s Corner.  You will not return this to church.  It is meant to keep at home for your reference throughout Lent (and hopefully the year).

 

COMMUNAL PENANCE SERVICES (with Private Confessions) in Neighboring Parishes

Wed, Feb 21 @ 7:00 p.m. at St. Margaret, Oceanside

Sunday, March 4 @ 4:00 p.m. at St. Thomas More, Oceanside

Monday, March 5 @ 7:00 p.m. at St. John, Encinitas

Tuesday, March 6 @ 1:00 & 7:00 p.m. at Mission San Luis Rey

Wednesday, March 7 @ 7:00 p.m. at St. Patrick, Carlsbad

Tuesday, March 13 @ 7:00 p.m. at Nativity, Rancho Santa Fe

Friday, March 16 @ 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary Star of the Sea, Oceanside

Tuesday, March 20 @ 12 noon at St. Francis, Vista

Tuesday, March 20 @ 6:30 p.m. in English, Spanish, Vietnamese at St. Francis, Vista

Wednesday, March 21 @ 7:00 p.m. at  St. Elizabeth Seton, Carlsbad

Thursday, March 22 @ 6:30 p.m. at St. James, Solana Beach

Friday, March 23 @ 6:30 p.m. in Spanish at St. Mark, San Marcos

Monday, March 26 @ 6:30 p.m. at St. Mark, San Marcos

Tuesday, March 27 @ 6:00 p.m. at St. Peter, Fallbrook

 

Our parish will continue to hear private confessions every Saturday during Lent, beginning at 8:00 a.m.

 

 

SHARING GOD’S GIFTS Annual Catholic Appeal

The following is a letter from Bishop Robert McElroy:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to encounter God’s mercy, love and redemption in the life of the Church, and to build up the Body of Christ within the Church and the world.

It is the call to grace and to stewardship which lies at the heart of our participation in the life of the Church—through our parishes, schools, catechetical programs, services programs for the poor, the unborn and the marginalized.  The diocese of San Diego supports all of these endeavors in the name of Jesus Christ, and in a special way provides for parishes many vital resources and programs which hey could not obtain on their own.

The Diocesan Annual Appeal constitutes an essential foundation for enabling the diocese to carry out these critical ministries in the work of the Gospel in San Diego and Imperial Counties.  And for that reason, I ask you to participate generously in this year’s appeal with the knowledge in doing so you participate profoundly in the work of Christ and the grace of Catholic discipleship.

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS AND TUITION ASSISTANCE

With support from the Annual Catholic Appeal, we strive to make Catholic Education both affordable and accessible to every child and family who desires it, regardless of their background, neighborhood, family income or culture.  Tuition Assistance is provided to families who would otherwise not be able to afford sending their children to a Catholic School.

FORMATION IN THE FAITH

The Annual Catholic Appeal provides funding for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministries, the Diocesan Institute and Youth Ministries.  These diocesan ministries coordinate training for Directors of Catechetical ministries, Youth Ministry Coordinators, catechists and religious education teachers as well as theological formation for adults.

CATHOLIC CHARITIES

Following the example of Jesus who “came not be served but to serve”, Catholic Charities is supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal in its effort to promote the dignity of the human person and its commitment to the Judeo-Christian vision of justice and charity.  The agency assists almost 300,000 people each year through its expansive network of programs and services.

YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY

Young Adult Ministry reaches out and invites this group to responsible participation in the full life and mission of the Church.  Faith filled peer ministries and various social, service and spiritual opportunities strive to connect young adults to Christ and His Church.

PRISON MINISTRY

Chaplaincies at 27 different facilities impact the lives of over 25,000 inmates.  These include eight sheriff’s jails, five juvenile detention centers, three state prisons, and four federal detention facilities.  Ministry supported by the ACA responds to the hunger that many of these inmate have to deepen their relationship with God.

SEMINARIAN SUPPORT

The Diocese of San Diego supports over 22 seminarians who are discerning a call to priestly life and service in the Church.  Tuition and living expenses average around $45,000 per seminarian.  Two new priests were ordained for our diocese this past year.

RETIRED PRIESTS

Fifty-five retired priests of this diocese receive financial support so they can live in dignity, free of anxiety about their means of subsistence.  This support includes providing health and auto insurance, and nursing care when required as well as supplementing their retirement and pension income when necessary.  Retired priests are also invited to the annual convocation of priests at no charge.

OUR RESPONSE AS STEWARDS

There are many ways to respond to the Annual Catholic Appeal:

  • A monthly or quarterly pledge
  • A one-time cash gift
  • A credit card or electronic funds transfer (visit giving.sdcatholic.org)
  • A gift of stocks or bonds

Note that the Annual Catholic Appeal qualifies for many company matching gift programs.

FOLLOWING JESUS

This article was taken from the ICSC monthly newsletter; it was written by Leisa Anslinger, author and cofounder of Catholic Strengths and Engagement Community (CSEC).

We follow all sorts of people and organizations on social media. Friends. Celebrities. A favorite author, athlete, charity, or business. At times, we may think before following: do we want the additional postings or emails? Typically, following a business or celebrity does not require much of a commitment. We may or may not read every post that comes through on our feed. We might respond, or we may not. Even when we do, our response is often as simple as hitting the “like” button.

Following Jesus is a very different sort of thing. To follow Jesus means to enter into a relationship with him and to exercise good stewardship over that relationship.

When Jesus asks us to follow him, we know that doing so is to have an impact in our lives.   As with any friendship, if our relationship with Jesus is to grow, we will have to spend time with and pay attention to him.

At first, this might mean taking a few moments at the beginning or end of each day for prayer.

We may be more attentive during Mass; we may pause in the midst of our day’s activities to notice the beauty of creation, the blessing of family and friends, the gift of kindness and patience shared among co-workers.

The best of friends also influence each other, for the better. Growing in relationship with Jesus will change us, leading us to think of others as well as ourselves, often putting the needs of others first. We learn to be mindful of those who need to know God’s love through our actions, serving them, sharing forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and faith.

Following Jesus is the work of a lifetime. At every step forward, one is challenged to go further in accepting and loving God’s will. Being a disciple is not just something else to do, alongside many other things suitable for Christians; it is a total way of life and requires continuing conversion (Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, p. 15).

How will you follow Jesus now and into the future? How will you learn from and invite him to have an impact in your life? How will your stewardship of this relationship impact the way you live?

 

STEWARDING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS

A Self-Study

Step 1:  How do I spend the time entrusted to me?  Name six to ten things you spent the most time doing regularly this past year.

Step 2: How do I spend the financial resources entrusted to me?  Name six to ten things you probably spent the most money on this past year. 1

Step 3: How high of a priority has Jesus has been in my life this past year (using actual time and money spent as a particular indicator)?

Step 4:  How high of a priority would I like Jesus to be in your life during this coming year.

Step 5:  What are some things I could start, stop or continue that would help me make Jesus a higher priority in my life?

 

Stewardship in the New Year: Making Commitments to the Lord

 

Stewardship is a commitment of mind and heart to the Lord; a way of life that needs constant renewal and transformation.

This time of year has always been one of looking forward to a new year, reflecting on the changes we need to make in our lives and resolving to follow through on those changes. Perhaps those who seek to make resolutions to be better stewards might find inspiration in one or more of the following examples:

STEWARDSHIP OF FAMILY

Resolve to set aside more time to stay connected with your family. Eat dinner together, schedule regular dates with your spouse, plan family outings, and go to Mass together. Practice patience and forgiveness.

STEWARDSHIP OF PRAYER

Resolve to strengthen your relationship with the Lord through prayer. Notice how often you pray and what hinders you from praying. If you are a beginner, commit to short, daily prayer times.

STEWARDSHIP OF MONEY

Resolve to render sacred your annual budget. Reprioritize your financial goals to ensure that the Lord comes first in your spending. Take positive steps to improve your financial health.

 

STEWARDSHIP OF NEIGHBOR

Resolve to be a person of hospitality and mercy. Make time and space for others who enter your life. Be more aware of those times when a neighbor, co-worker, fellow parishioner or stranger, needs a moment of kindness, a little attention or an affirming gesture on your part.

STEWARDSHIP OF WORK

Resolve to be faithful to your daily, work-related tasks and offer them up to the Lord. Cultivate your skills. Deepen your knowledge. Be mindful of how you are building the Kingdom of God.

STEWARDSHIP OF MIND

Resolve to keep your mind active. Commit to being more informed on the issues of the day. Read your Bible. In this presidential election year in the United States, become even more familiar with Catholic social teaching.

STEWARDSHIP OF HEALTH

Resolve to get those medical and dental checkups. Adopt healthier eating habits. Add exercise and other physical activity to your daily routine.

STEWARDSHIP OF PARISH FAMILY

Resolve to serve your faith community in some way this year such as at liturgy, in the parish’s outreach or education and formation efforts. Is it time to enhance your generosity to the parish?

 STEWARDSHIP OF THE POOR

Resolve to live with more compassion and in solidarity with those less fortunate. Remember the poor in prayer, and commit to helping relieve in some way the plight of those who are impoverished or marginalized.

STEWARDSHIP OF POSSESSIONS

Resolve to possess a little more “lightly” this year. Consider ways you can reduce the amount of all that stuff you own. Distinguish between those items that are necessary and those that are considered luxurious and unnecessary.

STEWARDSHIP SAINT FOR JANUARY

Ita of Killeedy, Ireland Ita of Killeedy, Ireland, also known as Ida, is one of the two most famous women saints in Ireland, along with Brigid of Kildare. Born near presentday County Waterford, allegedly of a royal family, she was baptized as Deidre.

She is said to have rejected a prestigious marriage for a life as a consecrated woman religious. She moved early in her life to Killeedy (in County Limerick), where she founded a small community of nuns and resided for the remainder of her life, in community with other consecrated women. She dedicated herself to prayer, fasting, a simplicity of life and cultivating a gift for spiritual discernment. Ita was well known for having the gift of being able to guide people in holiness.

She was much sought after as a spiritual director and confessor. During this period of Christianity, the Celtic Church was more advanced than other churches at the time in recognizing qualities of spiritual leadership in women and in encouraging women in this role.

It is thought that Ita may have been abbess of a double monastery of men and women and that she was a confessor to both, giving difficult penances while maintaining a forgiving and compassionate spirit. Confessing one’s sins to a priest had not yet been established as the normal form for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and ordained priests were not yet regarded as the only members of the Church authorized to hear confessions, forgive sins, and impose penances

She began a school for boys, some of whose graduates became saints in their own right, the most famous of whom was Saint Brendan. She was also known as the “foster mother of the saints of Erin.”

The name “Ita” (“thirst for holiness”) was conferred on her because of her saintly qualities. She believed that the three things God most detested were a scowling face, obstinacy in wrong-doing, and too great a confidence in the power of money. Three things she believed God especially loved included a pure heart, living a simple life and great generosity inspired by gratitude for God’s gifts. Ita died sometime around 570 and was buried in the monastery she founded. It was destroyed by Viking invaders in the ninth century. A Romanesque church was later built over its ruins, but that too failed to survive. The site, however, remains a place of pilgrimage today. Ita’s feast day is January 15. Although not on the Roman calendar of saints, her feast is celebrated as an optional memorial in Ireland.

 

 

 

A Stewardship Resolution for the New Year: Living with Compassion

January is traditionally the time for new beginnings, fresh starts. For the Christian steward, the grace of being given another day, or God willing, a whole new year, stirs our deep gratitude. But it also calls us to ask what a “resolution” should really be.

Our first resolve should always be to involve ourselves more intimately in the life of Christ, and how better to do that than by embracing Christ’s call to be compassionate?

After all, Jesus himself instructed us, “Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate” (Luke 6:36). Clearly, we strive now to live and give compassionately, as we generally understand the term. We try to be kind, considerate and understanding individuals. We share with others. But Jesus’ words challenge us to embrace a compassion that is much deeper, much more radical than our general understanding.

The word compassion, at its root, means “to suffer with.” This goes beyond merely writing a check, offering a prayer or sending a note.

Suffering is not a popular notion in our society and we strive to avoid it. But now we hear Christ instructing us to “suffer with” the poor, the vulnerable, the powerless, the neglected, the weak.

How can we possibly choose such a journey, this challenge to be truly present to those who suffer?

All things are possible with God, and it is through a commitment to a life of discipline, discipline in action and discipline in prayer, that we move towards the goal of true compassion.

The Christian steward is committed to the Eucharistic life, and it is through this life which Christ offers us that we gain the courage and the will and even the need to follow him in his own example of compassion.

Compassion is the doorway to a more responsive stewardship and a committed discipleship. Through our deepening sense of compassion in 2018, may we resolve to be the kind of Christian stewards who bring Christ’s presence to a suffering world.

In our own parish, we have the FEED MY PEOPLE MINISTRY.  This ministry was  started when two parishioners saw a need to feed the homeless. A Catholic Church should always be able to feed the people who come to our door daily, weekly, monthly. They also saw a need within our own community of families.  We have succeeded in feeding the homeless on a daily basis and providing monthly grocery bags for any family in need.  Your generous donations of groceries and/or time have made this a viable ministry.

A number of years ago, we began sponsoring receptions for the RCIA and Confirmation students.  We also coordinated the Thanksgiving Day meal and Fr. G’s installation reception and participated in Fr. Mike’s farewell.

We came to the realization that FOOD is a great catalyst for making community. It brings everyone to the same table.   Breaking Bread together is what we do each week as a community when we gather to celebrate the Mass.

We need your help to keep these wonderful programs going.  We need your help to grow the ministry into whatever God is calling us to do.  Can you join our efforts?  Can you see yourself in any of these events?  Do you see where your gifts can be used? Where they are needed? You don’t have to take it all on. We are just asking you to take a piece of it. Bring your fresh ideas to the program.

We need volunteers in all areas. – making sandwiches, handing them out Mondays and Tuesdays, setting up the PC for the school students who bag the family grocery bags, become part of the planning team for any of the receptions we sponsor.  The list goes on and on – shopping for reception staples, making signs, stickers, filling goodie bags, etc. You choose how much you want to be involved. How big a commitment you can or want to make.  We know together, we can answer God’s call: “Simon son of John, do you love me? Feed my sheep.”  (Jn. 21:17)

email: feedmypeople@stmarystars.org  or call Kim at 760.271.8759

 

 

 

 

Stewardship Reflections at the Turn of the Year

 

This article was written by Teresa Keogh Advisor for Stewardship Archdiocese of Southwark, U.K.

As I write this we are fast approaching Christmas, a time when few of us have time to ‘take stock’ of what and how we are living.

But January is quieter for many of us – a time when we might have a spare moment to assess where and how we are. Many of us try and make New Year resolutions – and they are often ‘all about me’. I need to be thinner, wealthier, more hard working and so on. And they are often doomed to failure.

I would like to suggest something different this New Year. As stewards we talk about and live gratitude; we strive to make that foundational in our lives. We are thankful for all we have received and we have a great desire to give. But do we make opportunities for others to give? Are we receptive to their giving?

Maria Bolding, an English Benedictine nun who died in 2009, spoke of this in her final illness. She describes herself in the prologue to her last book, Gateway to Resurrection, as “…like a helpless child who has nothing to give except its need.” At that stage in her life she was finally able to accept with gratitude the gifts that others offered her.  She was able to receive.

As we enter this New Year, can we pledge to be open to receiving the gifts that others offer to us? Can we be grateful for these too? Having an attitude of receiving as well as giving will mean that a greater number of people will be able to fully use the gifts that God has given them – and allow each of us to be grateful for a greater range of gifts, not just those we recognize and use, but also those that we receive. In this way we can fully live what Saint John Paul II wrote about in Novo Millennio Ineunte (At the Beginning of the New Millennium), when he asserted:

“A spirituality of communion implies also the ability to see what is positive in others, to welcome it and prize it as a gift from God: not only as a gift for the brother or sister who has received it directly, but also as a ‘gift for me’” (#43).

 

From Barbie:

I realize that I am writing this before Christmas and you’re reading it after, but I think it might apply to every day, not just Christmas.

I have been talking with several of my friends in the past few days.  Everyone seems overwhelmed this year.  Each of us has had someone wise in their life who has stepped forward and spoken the raw truth:

Your family and friends make the time to get together with you because they love you.  They want to share in your company.  It doesn’t matter if there’s paper plates or china, gifts of no gifts, bare tree or richly decorated.   (Yes, they do appreciate those things, but they don’t matter!)  Get over it and enjoy.

 

STEWARDSHIP SAINT FOR DECEMBER

Saint Fabiola is the patron saint of difficult marriages, divorced persons, abused spouses and victims of unfaithful spouses.

She was a Christian, born in Rome in the mid-4th century to a powerful and wealthy family. She was married off at a young age to an abusive and adulterous husband.

Saint Jerome, the most famous biblical scholar in the history of the Church, knew her personally, as he was her teacher and spiritual director. He wrote: “So terrible were the faults imputed to her former husband that not even a prostitute or a common slave could have put up with them.”

Fabiola was able to secure a divorce from her husband under Roman civil law, and then she remarried, violating the ordinances of the Church.

While she was still young, Fabiola’s ex-husband died, followed shortly thereafter by her second husband. Upon the latter’s death, she appeared before the gates of Saint John Lateran Basilica, dressed in penitential garb and sought forgiveness for marrying outside the Church.

Her public plea for reconciliation was said to have made a great impression upon the Christian population of Rome, and the pope received her formally again into full communion with the Church.

Fabiola devoted her immense wealth to the needs of the poor, the sick and the homeless of Rome. She became a physician and practiced medicine, treating patients with illnesses other physicians would avoid. She also supported the needs of the Church and parish communities throughout Italy.

In 395 Fabiola made a pilgrimage to Bethlehem, experience which deepened her faith even more dramatically. She lived in a hospice for a time with a religious community, spent hours in prayer, performed menial tasks and cultivated a profound devotion to the simplicity and poverty of the Nativity.

When she returned to Rome, Fabiola sold all her belongings and co-founded what is known to be the first hospital in the Western world.

Saint Jerome later wrote that this innovative institution became famous from Britain to Parthia (modern day Iran). And she continued to work tirelessly to treat patients that no one else would treat.

Fabiola died on December 27, 399, of natural causes, and her death was marked by an enormous procession befitting a state funeral. Roman citizens turned out by the thousands to express their gratitude for the life and ministry she had embraced in the city of Rome. Her feast day is December 27th.

 

 

 

BE PREPARED (A Lesson Learned)

I learned a valuable lesson last week that I would like to share with you.

I live a well-ordered life.  If you know me at all, that would probably come as a surprise to you.  NOT!  I know what’s expected of me, where I am supposed to be at any given time, etc.  I always clean my house before I go on vacation so I can return and not be frazzled by a mess.

So, around noon on the 7th, someone called the office and told us that there was a fire in Fallbrook.  Within a few hours, most our staff had gone home to prepare for possible evacuation.   I was never forced to evacuate my home, but I was on alert, because the fire was moving very quickly.

The first thing I did when I got home was to get my cats prepared to leave.

Next I gathered my important papers—insurance, passport, birth certificate, household inventory.  These items were all in my closet, but scattered here and there.

Next I packed a change of clothes and toiletries, and finally the photo albums.

I guess everyone has a different order as they go through their priorities, but this was mine.

I packed all these items in the car and left it outside in the driveway (in case of loss of power) ready to go.   The small safe, my purse, and the cats remained by the front door.  I stayed up all night, dosing—fully dressed—in the living room.  The tv keep me informed.  I went outside every half hour to look at the sky.  I was able to see actual flames that, for many hours, continued to get closer!

By Friday afternoon, I felt comfortable enough to unpack my car.

I decided that it would be silly to take all the papers out of the box and put them in various locations.  They now will remain together—ready to go.  After all, we should always be ready for an earthquake.  Right?

I also made a list of all the items that were important to me.  Last week I had time to think things through—next time might happen much more quickly.

OK, thank you for your patience.  The lesson I learned was much more important than how to pack my car for evacuation.

It was how to be prepared spiritually.  And how appropriate that this happened during Advent when we are preparing ourselves for the Coming of the Lord?

If you were given one year to live, what would you work on in your faith life to be ready?  Would you go to confession?    Start attending Mass ever week?  Give to charity?

What if you were told that you only had a month?  A week?  A day?

What if you had NO time to prepare.  In the analogy of our recent fires, imagine that you were told to evacuate immediately with only the clothes on your back.   Are you comfortable with that?

I would guess that most of us need a little time to get things in order.  Why not start now?