Sunday, December 10, 2017

Advent - Prepare

Image result for advent preparations
It was in 1907, that Baden-Powell, an English soldier, devised the Scout motto: Be Prepared. He published it in Scouting for Boys in 1908. And, two years later, in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America was founded.

In Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell wrote that to Be Prepared means “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.”More than a century later, preparedness is still a cornerstone of Scouting. Through its fun, values-based program, Scouting prepares young people for life. But it is the Advent calling as well. We must always be in a state of readiness in mind and body for the coming of Christ.

Saint Peter encourages us, "You should remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken through your apostles." When we engage in the Scriptures daily, we galvanize our memory of God's Word and more consistently live it out each day.

So, we are asked to pay attention to what it is that masters you. Saint Peter criticizes those false teachers for promising freedom while being "slaves of corruption" and then he makes a poignant statement: "People are slaves to whatever masters them." As we move through the Advent season, that's a great question to ponder: What is it that masters us? To what have we become a slave? Is it money, sex, power or something else? As Bob Dylan once sang, "It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you're gonna have to serve somebody." Who are you serving?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Immaculate Conception

Image result for immaculate conceptionTota pulchra es, Maria. Et macula originalis non est in Te.
Thou art all beautiful, Mary. And the original stain is not in Thee.

Mary is beautiful because God loves her. In love, God her Father created her. In love, God her Son redeemed her. In love, God her Spouse dwelt in her always. The Blessed Trinity delights in Mary and so granted her first the fullness of grace on earth and then in heaven the highest glory.

Mary is also beautiful because she loves God. In childlike hope she trusted the Father and clung to the promises he made to Israel. In motherly openness she conceived and brought forth the Son, the Savior of the world. And in bridal ardor she united herself to the Holy Spirit. By grace, Mary is the true burning bush and tabernacle, the creature in which God becomes present and that burns with God’s love but is not consumed.

In all this, Mary never knew sin. In view of the merits of Jesus, God preserved his Mother totally pure. But why did God choose to make the all-beautiful, the Immaculate? He did so for love of us, to prepare for himself a beautiful and worthy Temple in which to dwell among his people. Mary Immaculate was the way God chose to come to us. As such, she is also the way for us to go to him. If we contemplate and love Mary, we will ever more deeply contemplate and love her Son, Jesus Christ.

Down through the ages, Catholic hearts have loved to contemplate the beauty of Mary as a way to approach her Son. This love moved the Church from early on to celebrate her mysteries in the liturgy. It also led Christian artists to create countless works of beauty. Poets and musicians sang her praises. Painters and sculptors imagined and portrayed her gracious countenance. Love of Mary encouraged saints and theologians to meditate and understand her place in our salvation. As a result, the Catholic patrimony boasts of many rich visual, verbal, and musical meditations on the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In our own day this great inheritance of Marian piety is preserved, promoted, and developed in an exemplary way by the popular prayer aid Magnificat. This month Magnificat celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary since its foundation. To mark the occasion and to thank the Blessed Virgin for her assistance in their apostolate, the publishers have issued a lovely book of art and prayer.

In Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary moves through the mysteries of Mary’s life. It presents forty beautiful, full-page reproductions of icons or paintings of the Madonna that have through these years graced the covers of the magazine. Reflections by Pierre-Marie Dumont, the founder of Magnificat, accompany each image. These provide insight into the images and take their inspiration from them to meditate on the divine realities they represent. In addition the book gives each “mystery” a voice through a traditional hymn from the Church’s liturgy and a brief thought or prayer from various saints and Christian authors.

The book, just like the issues of Magnificat, is attractively laid out and printed. It would make for a lovely coffee table book. More significantly, reading and looking at this book would be an excellent way to gaze on Mary and contemplate her, to get to know her and love her more. Through word and image this work could move those hearts who take it up to share the deep delight that God enjoys in beholding the Immaculate. And in drawing nearer to her, these souls would grow more desirous of that infinitely beautiful Love and Light, the Triune God, from whom she comes to us and to whom she wishes to lead us.

Br. Josemaría Guzmán-Domínguez entered the Order of Preachers in 2014. He is a graduate of Chaminade High School.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception


Mary's parents were Joachim and Anna.

Often confused with the Birth of Jesus, the "Immaculate Conception" is how Mary was conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, through sexual intercourse with Joachim BUT Mary was born without Original Sin, unlike the rest of us.

This is a brief reflection on it by Richard Rohr.

As Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters, he will always love one and ignore the other” (Matthew 6:24). Our first and final loyalty is to one kingdom: God’s, or our own. We can’t really fake it. The Big Picture is apparent when God’s work and will are central, and we are happy to take our place in the corner of the frame.

Because I am a part of the Big Picture, I do matter and substantially so. Because I am onlya part, however, I am rightly situated off to stage right—and happily so. What freedom there is in such truth! We are inherently important and included, yet not burdened with manufacturing or sustaining that private importance. Our dignity is given by God, and we are freed from ourselves!

Today’s often misunderstood feast of the Immaculate Conception is saying that even Mary’s dignity was totally given by God from the first moment of her conception, and all she could do was thank God for it. It was nothing she merited. In that she is a metaphor and archetype for every human life.

Adapted from Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Pope marks Advent


Pope Francis during the Angelus on Sunday - ANSABefore the recitation of the Marian Prayer the Holy Father focused his attention on this first Sunday of Advent saying, it is the time “that is given to us to welcome the Lord who comes to meet us, to verify our desire for God, and to look ahead and prepare for the return of Christ. “

Referring to the Gospel readings of the day, the Pope explained, “Jesus exhorts us to pay attention and to watch, to be ready to welcome him at the moment of his return.”

The person who pays attention, he continued, is the one who, “in the noise of the world, does not let him or herself be overwhelmed by distraction or superficiality, but lives in a full and conscious way, with a concern directed above all to others.”

With this attitude, Pope Francis noted, “we become aware of the tears and needs of others”…

The attentive person, he added, tries to counter the indifference and cruelty in the world and rejoices in the treasures of beauty that also exist in it.

The Holy Father underlined that the vigilant person is the one that welcomes the invitation to watch, and is not overwhelmed by the weariness of discouragement, a lack of hope or disappointment;

Being alert and vigilant, Pope Francis concluded are the preconditions that help us to stop "wandering away from the ways of the Lord", lost in our sins and in our infidelities; “these are the conditions that allow God to break into our existence, in order to restore meaning and value to it full of goodness and tenderness.”


(Lydia O'Kane)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Marianist Monday

December, 2017
My dear graduates of Chaminade, Kellenberg Memorial, and St. Martin de Porres Marianist School,
God comes and, yet God is already and always here. And so, we are both waiting and welcoming God. Let us reflect on God coming in time and beyond time. God comes in time, for we largely exist in time. God has come, is coming, and will come. We speak of the past as God’s coming in history. The Scriptures, particularly the Old Testament, speak of this coming as Salvation History. God 
comes, reveals Himself, in time within the culture of a time. As we read Scripture, we read a revelation that is within a Semitic culture that is three- to four-thousand years older than ours. Despite this cultural fence, the word and Word of Revelation can be heard and pondered. The limitations can be overcome, and the message heard. For God to enter any moment of human history, He must shape His message within the strengths and weaknesses of a particular culture. To speak to and with humans is to speak in and with a particular culture accent. No word is culture-free.

God comes in the present moment. He comes to each of us in the community and culture of which we are a part. He speaks to each of us in the events that make up our personal history. My father’s events are not mine. I carry the consequences of his events and decisions, as the generation after me will carry my events and decisions in all their limitations and strengths. But, the present moment is a moment in which God speaks to me and to you in the signs of the times. Historical events are, yes, the actions of humans, but in a deeper sense of the weave of time and choice, there is a divine hand that nudges all that is human towards all that is divine in design.
God comes in the present. He comes to each of us not only in the community and culture of which we are a part, but He comes to each of us beyond our culture, beyond our communities, beyond the very words we stammer in speech about the divine. The Word comes wordless in the deepest part of our heart. In the silence between the words that rattle through our minds and lives, the wordless Word seeps through. Despite all the noise, the Silence echoes down the corridors and mazes of our hurried lives. Francis Thompson’s “Hound of Heaven” catches the intensity of God’s pursuit of Thompson in the mayhem of his opium addiction and of God’s pursuit of us in the chaos of our own manufactured mazes of addiction and self-absorption. God pursues; we cannot escape. 

A far greater Love chases us than all the loves that we chase in the illusions of our consumer lives.
At the moment of the phase in action, of the moment of silence, come aside and rest and listen. He
is with you every time and everywhere. Listen to the sounds of silence that sing of his love in the
depths of your heart.
If God came in the past, and He has, and if God comes in the present, and He does, God also comes in the future. God is the goal and the end and the fulfilment of all of human history, all of cosmic evolution, all of human desire, all of the secret hopes nearly still-born in our hearts. He is out there, in front of us, beckoning each of us to come, to follow, to trust. The road ahead is His road. He is that road, for He is the Way. We are called to come and to follow Him on that road.

We are called through the words of the Word of God in human words to trust and to move beyond
the limit of our own words. The future is thrown open, wide beyond the measure of the human, into
the infinity of the divine. You, I, all are called to that Way that is Christ into the Heart of His Father. All time rolls into a completion as Jesus beckons each of us to follow Him as the Way and the Truth of our lives.
Advent is the waiting time. God has come, God now comes, God will come. God makes time and completes time in the fullness of time that is Jesus. We have been drawn into Jesus and His Body in baptism. We are washed clean and born anew for all time to the completion of time.

Listen. Listen very quietly, and listen to the word of the Word that echoes though the ways of your own heart. He came, He comes, He will come.

On behalf of all my Marianist Brothers,

Bro. Mark C. Ormond, S.M.

P.S. We look forward to seeing you at Midnight Mass. Also, we hope you will consider attending our annual College-Age Retreat at Meribah. This year’s theme is “It’s Not How Your Planned It,” and it will take place on Tuesday, January 2 and Wednesday, January 3, 2018. Arrive 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday; the retreat concludes at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday. You can register for the retreat by visiting www.provinceofmeribah.com/register, or by emailing Brother Stephen Balletta at SBalletta@chaminade-hs.org.