As a deer yearns for running streams…

This past weekend I accompanied about 49 young adults longing for Confirmation in the Catholic Church. We 70 pilgrims went on a pilgrimage to Camp Kulaqua near High Springs. We began with Eucharist at the Queen of Peace gym in Gainesville. Twenty-four hours later we ended with our souls afire. We journeyed into our hearts and souls. Confirmation is about confirming the Holy Spirit within us. It teaches us to have the courage to go with Jesus up the mountain and to experience his transfiguration and listen to God say to us, “You are my beloved son! You are my beloved daughter! With you I am well pleased!”

Moses brought the Hebrew people out of their slavery in Egypt. Jesus will bring us out of the slavery of our passions and self-centeredness. During the retreat we were all given an orange. We were asked to be totally silent for about twenty minutes so we could listen to and fall in love with the orange. As we walked around the beautiful spring, we slowly appreciated this gift of an orange. We experienced her bitterness, woundedness and sweetness.

We were like a deer that longs for flowing streams. Our souls were longing for God alone. As Jesus cried out, “I thirst!” on the cross, we also cry out in our Lenten pilgrimage, “I thirst.” We learned so much by taking the time to fall in love with a simple orange and all of God’s creation. We were grateful for those who planted the seeds and nurtured the tree of life giving fruit. We accepted the marks and distinctness of the skin and sections. Just as Jesus gave himself to us to be savored and eaten, we too become fruit for the world. Jesus said that you will recognize the people of our Beloved God by their fruits.

For all of us on the retreat, we went a little deeper into the depths of God’s love. We are aware that the world, the sufferings and all of the crosses are still part of our lives. The difference for us who believe is that we know we do not walk alone. We walk with Jesus above, below, beside, under and within us.

In the Liturgy of Hours this morning all the priests, religious and many laity breathed in the beautiful Psalm 42. It reminds us that our journey and conversion is not complete. The Mass never ends, we take it with us. Thanks be to God!

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, my God.
Psalm 42

Like the deer that years
for running streams,
so my soul is yearning
for you, my God.As a deer that yearns

My soul is thirsting for God,
the God of my life;
when can I enter and see
the face of God?

My tears have become my bread,
by night , by day,
as I hear it said all the day long:
“Where is your God?”"Where is your God?"

These things will I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I would lead the rejoicing crowd
into the house of God,
amid cries of gladness and thanksgiving,
the throng wild with joy.

Why are you cast down, my soul,
why groan within me?
Hope in God;
I will praise him still,
my savior and my God.

My soul is cast down within me
as I think of you,

Deep is calling on deep,
in the roar of waters:
your torrents and all your waves
swept over meMy soul is thirsting for God

By day the Lord will send
his loving kindness;
by night I will sing to him,
praise the God of my life.

I will say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning,
oppressed by the foe?”

With cries that pierce me to the heart,
my enemies revile me,
saying to me all the day long:
“Where is your God”?

Why are you cast down,
my soul, why groan within me?
Hope in God; I will praise him still,
my savior and my God.I wounded my orange


Father in heaven, when your strength takes possession of us we no longer say: Why are you cast down, my soul? So now that the surging waves of our indignation have passed over us, let us feel the healing calm of your forgiveness. Inspire us to yearn for you always, like the deer for running streams, until you satisfy every longing in heaven.

As the deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you my God.
When will I come to the end of my pilgrimage and enter the presence of God?

I pray you have a most wonderful day in this season of lent. Keep begging God for the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, knowledge, counsel, understanding, courage, reverence and a wonder and awe in the presence of God. And then you will bear much fruit:

Love, joy, peace,
Patience, kindness, gentleness,
Generosity, purity, faithfulness,

Father Ron Moses +the face of God?


The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert
where he remained for forty days
tempted by Satan.
He was among the wild beasts and the angels ministered to him.

Jesus fasted and prayed all the time, not just when he was in the desert. When I went to the desert for 40 weeks, I saw things I would have never seen before. When a rare and solitary bird perched in the distressed and pitiful tree while I was praying one morning behind the hospital, my heart and soul made room for the gratitude in my heart. This little bird of God’s creation filled me and sustained me in the desert of my surroundings and the desert of my being. Fallujah Iraq sits between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. This is near where the story of Abraham began his journey and walk with God. Abraham was driven from his home.

I was very reluctant to leave St. Patrick’s behind and serve with the Marines out in the desert. I was literally driven. In my heart, it seemed to be something very sacred calling me into the desert. Before I even agreed to go, I begged God to send someone else since I was so terrified. In the silence, Jesus assured me that he would never ask me to do something he would not do. Jesus would never let me go to the desert without Him.

Lent is like being forced into the desert. Out in the desert we discover things beyond our wildest imaginations. In the Gospel we heard on Ash Wednesday Jesus promises us that prayer from the heart will be repaid:

“But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”

We never go alone into the desert of our fasting and prayer. It will always bring us to an encounter with the burning bush or the voice of God. God, our Creator, will listen to our tiny cries! The prophet Isaiah speaks the Word of God and shares with us the fruit of the true fasting and prayer requested by God:

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Isaiah 58:1-9

Out in the Desert

Out in the desert, God spoke to me no matter what kind of terror or boredom I was wrestling with. God said to me, “Here I am!” as death and violence raged about me. When I was forced to empty myself, God filled my emptiness that sustains me to this day. I shared the attached story this past weekend. This story is for me.

Have a blessed and holy week of Lent.
Love, joy, peace,

Father Ron Moses +

Bring an empty cup

There’s a story about a little country parish. One Sunday a rich man was passing by the church and, as he passed by, he heard the priest giving his homily. The man came in and sat down to listen After Mass, he went to the priest and said, “What can I give or do to become part of this parish? I have a lot of money. I also have power and prestige. What can I do?”

The priest said this: “When you hear about the forgiveness of sins, say to yourself, ‘This is for me.’ When you hear the gospel preached, say, ‘This is for me.’ When you receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, say, ‘This is for me.’

And one more thing. Every time you come to worship, bring an empty cup. Carry this cup with you whenever you come. It will remind you that you can give nothing. It will remind you that you’re really a poor beggar, and that everything is a gift from God.”

And to this day, people see that man carrying an empty cup when he goes to Mass. And not only that, but it seems that some of the other parishioners have started to carry empty cups too. They carry them wherever they go. It reminds them that they can bring nothing. It reminds them that they too, are beggars. And it reminds them that everything – literally, everything – comes by the grace of God.

Empty Vessel

Empty Cup

This is for me