Encounter Jesus in the Power of the Spirit — Fr. Dave Pivonka
On June 1, 2019, Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR came to Portland, OR with the message that “God Loves Us.” Now we already know that, but Fr. Dave showed us how that affects us personally. For instance, we all know that we are adopted children of God. However, did you know that because you are adopted that makes you special? Much more so than a natural child. In the 1st century, a parent could do anything they wanted to a natural child; they could expose them after birth (abortion) they could send them to an orphanage, sell them or keep them. But an adopted child could not be abused in any way. Their reasoning was that they did not have a choice about natural children, but when you adopt a child, you do something on purpose — something that you want — and once you’ve signed on the bottom line, you can never go back. Our Father chose us on purpose to be his children and he will never let us go.
Fr. Dave talked about our encountering Jesus, our life with Jesus, our relationship with Jesus. He told several funny stories and continually brought us back to God’s love for us. Fr. Cantalamessa says that all scripture is in these three words. GOD IS LOVE. There are no degrees of love from God. There is nothing I can do to make it more. There is nothing I can do to make it less.
Father Pivonka told the story of his little niece who would not pay any attention to him. One day she got close, looked him in the eye and said, “I love you”. We oooed and awed over that. Father then asked us, do you and I do same with God’s love? And why don’t we? Have we heard about it too much and not taken time to reflect on it?
Luke 15: Lost Sheep. Fr. Dave’s 12 year old nephew got separated and lost in the New York subway. He ran ahead and got on the train and the door shut before Fr. could get in. Fr. Dave kept going back and forth to different subway stations, never giving up on finding his nephew. He was so worried about what could be happening. When he found his nephew, he was just happy to have him back. There was no condemnation, no angry words of what were you thinking? He was found! God had encountered Fr. Dave, in that situation, letting him know HE was in that situation with him.
Like the Good Shepherd, our God always comes looking for us. He just wants to encounter us with no condemnation. Each one of our stories begins with some type of encounter with God. If we have encountered God before, He wants a renewed encounter. This continuing to encounter God is at the heart of our faith.
A big lie of Satan that most people believe is: Life should NOT be difficult! You must have done something wrong. Jesus said, life WILL be difficult. Pick up your cross, deny yourself and follow ME. Jesus suffered because we suffer.
Then there was the story of Father Dave’s El Camino walk with his backpack being too heavy. His backpack was not regulation size or weight, but he said he needed to take everything in it and could not fit it all in the smaller pack. Little did he realize just how heavy that pack got after walking hundreds of miles with it.
Everyone has a backpack carrying too much weight. But we also carry shame, regrets, anger, frustrations, resentments, remorse. What do I carry as extra weight? (Pause and Reflect)
Watching someone else suffer may be a part of your backpack. Be like Mary — she walked with Jesus thru everything in his life — and she couldn’t change any of His sufferings. Father had an encounter with God about this walk and his backpack. He asked “Did you bring me all this way for this?” The response was “Yes.” The Light came on for Father, but he Can’t explain it.
When we find God in midst of our afflictions such as dementia, HE comes into that with us. We can find God anywhere and in anything. The Crucifix shows Jesus’ presence with us, and that we are not alone.
JESUS IS NOT ENOUGH … His Followers Encountered Him for Three Years. They saw Him do amazing things, but still they hid away in a room with locked doors in fear. They needed the HOLY SPIRIT in the Pentecost event — then they were brought out of dormancy. The experience was like snorkeling, looking under the water and seeing a new world of grace and mercy. This is to be our Pentecost!
Father Pivonka would stop and pray the “Glory Be”. He would pause after sharing something and have us reflect and ask, “SO WHAT!”
Father asked a question. “What animates your life. People are watching us. Is there anything in your life that shows you are Catholic? Are we too much like everyone else. Is there something we should say no to so we can say yes to God?
Fr Dave gave us many things to think about and pray about during his talks.
There were several healings during the ministry at the end of the day. One of them was:
An immediate healing of moderate left lower quadrant pain after Fr. Pivonka prayed for people who had stomach disorders. I was so focused on the huge Spiritual healing, I received, that I forgot about my sharp pain for 8 days prior to June 1st. I received even more healing with my left sided pain the following week through Physical Therapy.
This presentation by Fr. Pivonka was a huge success. There were between 265 and 270 people in attendance. The WOCCR team is really grateful to all who attended and especially for all the volunteers who helped make this wonderful day a reality. We could not have sold books, offered coffee and tea, or lunches without their help. We had help at the registration tables. The day went very smoothly because of all of you.
We would also like to thank our very gifted Music Ministry – Dawn and David Bentz and our Emcee, Dina Marie Hale for pulling everything together.
Fall Day of Renewal
Mark your calendar’s for our Fall Day of Renewal. It will be at Our Lady of the Lake Church, Lake Oswego, OR from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on October 19, 2019. Bishop Peter Smith will be our presenter. Registration at the door begins at 8 am. There will be no registration free. There will be a free will donation opportunity sometime during the day. Please bring your own lunch.