Monday, August 21, 2017

Marianist Monday

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So where does the name Mary come from:

Mary's name means "beloved" or "cherished." In Hebrew, however, her name has a different meaning. The Hebrew word miryam, from which "Mary" comes, means "rebellion." That may sound cute as the name of an infant, but hardly the name you want for a child in their terrible twos or teens.

In a sense, Mary needs both of those qualities for the work to which she is called. She is the beloved one, cherished of God, who is selected to carry and give birth to the Messiah. When the angel Gabriel first appears to her to tell her about her role in the Christmas story, he calls her "favored one."

On the other hand, that rebellious streak -- the ability to follow her inner voice when others might try to convince her to behave differently -- will come in handy throughout her pregnancy.

Her courage allows her to travel to Elizabeth and Zechariah's when the angel tells her to go. It sustains her through her and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem and Jesus' birth out in a stable. Most importantly, her rebellious nature gives her the ability to say yes to being used by God in this way when she knows the consequences could be dire.

We need to be more like Mary, rebelliously courageous because we know we are loved by God.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

God is God

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Our second reading for this Sunday focuses on the English word “irrevocable.” The word appears nowhere else in Scripture but here in verse 29. 

On one hand, the Scriptures acknowledge that seasons of blessing may be temporary. Rains come and go. Crops boom and bust. Riches can be transient.

But the irrevocable gift of God is here linked to one of his attributes, not merely his actions. Despite disobedience, he still offers his people mercy. “So that he may be merciful to all.”

Perhaps parents can best understand the heart which grants mercy in response to disobedience. It is a heart of love ... despite. A heart that longs for relationship over punishment. A heart that puts more stock in the future than in the past.

Here again this word “irrevocable” comes into play in a different way. The word irrevocable literally means “without regret”; something is given with no claim to do-overs. The only other place the same word appears is in 2 Corinthians: “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret [‘irrevocable’], but worldly grief produces death.”

Bottom line, perhaps pastor Dennis J. Meaker put it best when he wrote us, saying that what we learn here is that “God does not give up on his commitments simply because they do not seem to be working out as planned.”

And that is good news for the world.

Things may not seem to be working out as planned.

Doesn’t mean that God is giving up on commitments made, promises offered.

God is God.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Sunday Word

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It's not too late to begin to prepare for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time by taking a good look at the readings.

The Gospel reading for the day picture the disciples with curmudgeonly attitudes. They continue acting cranky and obstreperous as they encounter the Canaanite woman. This Gentile woman meets Jesus and his followers on her home turf, the district of Tyre and Sidon, and immediately accosts them and cries out, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon."
Jesus does not reply at all, and the disciples sense from his silence that he is blowing her off. So, ramping up their excitement and nastiness, they call out, "Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us."

It's like the disciples are saying, "Hey, lady! Curb your enthusiasm."

The disciples' hearts are in the right place, but their enthusiasm is just a bit overwhelming. These 12 see themselves as the chosen few, the cream of the crop, the entitled elite, the devoted dozen, the Lord's own Dream Team. They are passionate about Christ and don't have much interest in sharing their mentor with the unenlightened masses.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Marianist vocations - alive!

Here is a wonderful sign of God's providence and the blessings of our Bicentennial celebration:

In Dayton, the FMI Sisters welcomed Emily Sandoval (second from left) as a pre-novice and in San Antonio, Leno Ceballos and Jordan Stewert began their aspirancy at the Casa Maria community.

Please pray for these four newest members of our religious family that they may grow in their vocations and in their love of our Marianist life.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Aspirant welcomed into Province of Meribah

The Marianists of the Province of Meribah were pleased to welcome Thomas Terrill as an aspirant into the Marianist community during the Rite of Acceptance.

The ceremony was part of the celebration of the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary on August 15th.

Brother Timothy Driscoll, Provincial, welcomed Thomas. Fr. Thomas, Assistant Provincial, presided at the Mass and gave the homily.

Thomas is pictured above with the novices. (Brother Peter, Brother Patrick, Aspirant Thomas and Brother Andrew)

Welcome, Thomas!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Blessed Jakob Gapp - Marianist

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Blessed Jakob Gapp, SM, was truly an extraordinary person. He was someone with a passionate and unflinching commitment to the Truth. He was passionate about what he believed and his convictions moved him to speak out and to give his life. In the midst of World War II and the darkness of the Third Reich, he witnessed to the Light of Jesus Christ.

What can we learn from him?

Today, wherever we are and in whatever circumstance, we can witness to the same undying Light and Love, whatever the cost.

FEAST DAY - August 13

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Assumption of Our Lady

Today, Catholics and many other Christians celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This significant feast day recalls the spiritual and physical departure of the mother of Jesus Christ from the earth, when both her soul and her resurrected body were taken into the presence of God.

Venerable Pope Pius XII confirmed this belief about the Virgin Mary as a teaching of the Church when he defined it formally as a dogma of Catholic faith in 1950, invoking papal infallibility to proclaim, “that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

Although the bodily assumption of Mary is not explicitly recorded in Scripture, Catholic tradition identifies her with the “woman clothed with the sun” who is described in the Book of Revelation.

The passage calls that woman's appearance “a great sign” which “appeared in heaven,” indicating that she is the mother of the Jewish Messiah and has “the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” Accordingly, Catholic iconography of the Western tradition often depicts the Virgin Mary's assumption into heaven in this manner.

“It was fitting,” St. John of Damascus wrote in a sermon on the Assumption, “that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death,” and “that she, who had carried the creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles.”

In Eastern Christian tradition, the same feast is celebrated on the same calendar date, although typically known as the Dormition (falling asleep) of Mary.