Faith, Hope, and Love

Faith, Hope, and Love

There is an important theological significance of the number three. Three reserves the number of completion. When we initially learn to write we are taught to have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.  This way of formulating a written idea is the same with all things.  With all things, there is a beginning, where we learn to take our first steps.  Middle when we perfect the craft through diligent practice. And a conclusion at the climax of the event, some would say this is a grand finale.

By no mistake, we have a Trinitarian God, namely three persons with the same divine nature.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are a cohesive unit that guides us through each day, gracing us with the theological virtues at precisely the correct time.

The three theological virtues that are intended to help us live life abundantly by being fully united to our Creator.  This is our purpose in life, the Baltimore Catechism states that we were created to love and serve God.  These three theological virtues allow us to complete our nature’s purpose.  Faith allows us to believe in the message of the Gospels of eternal happiness and love of God.  We hope to have this eternal happiness in the kingdom of heaven in which we can fully and freely love.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 reads “Where one alone may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken.” God has given us a strong three-ply cord to guarantee our salvation.  He has given us Faith, Hope, and Love as supreme graces to strengthen us through our journey.  And today is no different, He is there for you here and now.  He is there to complete you.

How have you been graced with faith, hope or love?

Where in your life can you invite God in to bless you with these gifts today?

Humanae Vitae Reflection

Humanae Vitae Reflection

This July marks the 50th anniversary of an important papal document for healthcare, namely Humanae VitaeHumanae Vitae means “Human Life” in Latin, and the core of this letter addresses humanity’s search for freedom and control.  However, this freedom is not the contemporary thought of doing anything you feel like doing, but freedom as defined as the ability to freely choose virtue.  Or another way of thinking about it is to be a master of your passions and desires.

For example; I personally love ice cream.  Now I do not know about you, but I know that it is not good for me to eat an entire tub of ice cream, even though I want to and I am certainly capable… It is not the best decision for me to do it…  So at times, I have to deny myself of eating ice cream…  This denial of self is a small example of what it is like to have self-mastery and thus be truly free.

Every time you tell your bodily desires “no,” takes a discipline.  And just like other disciplines, we have to start out small and work up to the bigger challenges.  As you can see, I am not a runner, but I have been told, that running a marathon takes a great deal of training.  I hate to break this news to you but if you cannot run a mile, you cannot run a marathon…  You have to start small but dream big.  Self-mastery is not a sprint, it is a marathon.

Just like the discipline required to run a marathon, the spiritual discipline to self-mastery cannot be fixed with the next smartphone app or new pill for that matter.  Sure a smartphone app, can remind you to run just like an app can remind you to pray.  But we still need the discipline to get up and run, to get up and pray.  We cannot abdicate our responsibility to the newest technology or smartphone, you have to put in the time to do the spiritual work and it is work.  But don’t worry we are not alone.  In times of spiritual temptation, God’s love is there to strengthen us.  As Jesus said in the Gospel: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

So I ask you, where in your life do you need God’s graces to attain freedom from your bodily desires?

I would like to leave you with a stanza of a poem by William Ernest Henley:

It matters not how strait the gate
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul

What do angels say to God when He sneezes?

What do angels say to God when He sneezes?

Pope Saint Gregory the First, also known as The Great, was born into a wealthy political family around 540 in Rome.  During his youth, Rome suffered a great disease, and father who was a powerful Senator moved his family to their estate in Sicily.  But St. Gregory always had a fierce devotion to the poor and vulnerable and upon his father’s death, he gave everything away to those in need.  Even to the point of turning his family’s estate in Sicily into a monastery.

St. Gregory was named Pope in 590 at the height of the bubonic plague and is most known for establishing Gregorian chant also known as plainchant, which is the oldest known style of liturgical chant in the Western Church.  He is the patron saint of musicians, singers, and teachers.

However, I bring up Pope Saint Gregory the Great because on this day, February 16th in the year 600, he did something very meaningful to our ministry today.  On this day in history, Pope Gregory recommended that the blessing of God is offered to anyone who sneezes in order to protect them falling ill.  He thus decreed that “God Bless You” is the correct response to a sneeze.

I bring this up because I wanted to reflect on how many times we simply go through the motions, even in times of calling upon God to bless someone after a sneeze.

This is certainly a struggle for me, I will sit in Mass and get sidetracked by the many things on my to-do list and will do mindless catholic aerobics “sitting, standing, kneeling, and standing again.”

It is in these distractions that we need to recognize as Eleanor Roosevelt wrote “Today is a gift.  That is why it is called the present.”  Each moment, each encounter is a divine gift from God which we are called to live to its fullest.  We do that by being intentional with our actions in the present.  And by being aware of God’s presence in each moment, especially when we are sick and sneezing.

Image Citation:
Jeff Keane, 2/5/2018 2-2, Retrieved from: http://familycircus.com/comics/february-2-2013/#respond

Reflection on Gifts

Reflection on Gifts

The Diocese of Wichita defines stewardship as “the grateful response of a Christian disciple who recognizes and receives God’s gift and shares these gifts in love of God and neighbor.” When you look at this picture you see many different symbols for gifts that we each have received from God. You can see the time glass which represents our time, a rosary which represents our prayers, a book, and pen which represents our gift of intellect. My personal favorite is the art that the young child has made represented in the flowers. It is simple but yet a powerful gift for a child. It reminds me of the drawings that my nieces and nephews will give me. I am sure all of you parents remember hanging similar pictures on their refrigerator.

Saint John Paul the second states that “a gift is not a gift until you give it away.” We may think that sounds like an “Indian giver” but there is a deep theology behind it. God has bestowed upon each of us a set of unique gifts, and we are called to share them with others. Treasures are an important piece of this gift, but just like with all things, money is not everything. Your expertise that you bring to skilled based volunteerism, whether on a board or in-kind donations are just as important. The time you spend with the poor and vulnerable in volunteering at the soup kitchens such as the Lord’s Dinner, or outreach projects such as the Medical Mission at Home are equally important.

I ask you to reflect on the gifts God has given you and how you are using them for the greater glory of His kingdom.

Image Citation:
Diocese of Wichita, 1/2/2018 [Stewardship Rotator} Retrieved from: http://catholicdioceseofwichita.org/images/stories/frontpage/rotator/stewardship%20rotator3.jpg

My New Experiment

My New Experiment

Hello world, my name is Paul Wagle.  I am a philosopher who creates, cultivates and communicates ideas that inspire change.

But I have not always been in this field.  I am actually a pharmaceutical chemist by trade.  That career track led me to do research for a couple pharmaceutical companies including Genentech and present my research at a National Chemistry Convention.  However, my research was interrupted when I answered a call to discern my vocation in seminary.

I now work as a Manager of Mission Integration for Ascension-Via Christi in Wichita, Kansas.  In this new role, I work to keep the Catholic identity at the heart of the healthcare culture by enhancing workplace spirituality and forming leaders and associates in organizational and clinical ethics.

This work seems to be the polar opposite of my training as a researcher, but the ability to act experimentally will critical for my success in this position.  There is never a clear solution for an important challenge in our culture.  We must be willing to fail in order to learn and create progress.

When I was looking for a new antibiotic for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, I could not be upset when an experiment failed.  I learned from my failure and adjusted my next attempt to solve the problem.  This same mentality will be critical to making progress to create an authentic Catholic culture in healthcare.

In this blog, I will be sharing some of the experiments and reflections.  It is my hope that you find them helpful and engaging.  I hope that this will be a dialogue, so please comment as you wish.

In Christ,
Paul Wagle, M.A.