Thursday, October 10, 2019

Divine Adoption

By Br. Francis Mary Day, O.P.

What does it mean that we have been saved? What happened to us when we became Christian? There are many ways to speak about this, many important distinctions can be made, and many consequences can be fleshed out—but my favorite model or “image” of what happens is that of adoption. As St. John tells us, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 Jn 3:1).” What is adoption but a completely gratuitous gift of love, a “becoming part of the family?” This family is nothing less than the Mystical Body of Christ, which is a participation in the Holy Trinity.

Our membership in this family is not natural, not something owed to us, but it is nonetheless real and given to us in baptism by sanctifying grace. The Father sent his Son into the world that we might be sons “in the Son.” “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (Jn 1:12).

When a child enters a family, it does so on terms that are not its own, hoping to receive a love and care that it cannot fully reciprocate. This sense of trust, born in wonder, has often been made a model of Christian life. It is rooted in the realization that we cannot provide for ourselves, our own needs, or own own protection. It can only come from the truth, lived out in our daily lives, that we have a Father in heaven who knows every hair on our head.

It doesn’t make sense by worldly standards, although there have been Christians who have tried to transpose worldly notions of self-sufficiency onto Christianity. The desire to grow in the spiritual life, to be “perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48), can only come out of this childlike sense of dependency. Looking at Jesus, the Son of God, we see someone whose whole existence is caught up in a tender love for his Father, and whose only desire is to do the Father’s will. Our life in Christ, sharing in his sonship, cannot develop without this kind of love. Without its being rooted in filial love, any moral goal can quickly become a list of rules that leads nowhere. Family life has its rules and obligations but these are all accidental to a family’s center: love. We are adopted sons and daughters of the Father and we are called to act as his beloved sons and daughters.

The Christian moral life is really rooted in the dignity of being a part of God’s family. It is not so much a checklist as it is a new sense of honor and value. It is not so much a company code of conduct as a life lived like a son or daughter of God. All our talk about holiness can only come from a profound appreciation of what has been given to us in Christ, and our response to it. This is what it means to say that we have been saved: that we are now sons and daughters of God in Jesus Christ, and that we share in the life and grace of Jesus Christ.

Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P (used with permission)

Monday, October 7, 2019

Marianist Monday

Praying With the Saints
by Bro. David Betz

When those who have gone before us in faith are declared saints or blesseds, the Church assigns them a Feast Day. These Feast Days are usually associated with the days when the saints or blesseds entered eternal life, either by martyrdom or natural causes. This assignment is an acknowledgement that these men and women can be venerated publicly throughout the worldwide Church. Prayers are distributed and used when we need to invite the saints or blesseds into our prayer life. These prayers enable us to ask for the intercession of God’s grace. The prayers usually reflect the perssonal attributes these venerable people were known for during their holy lives.

Here are two prayers that were created, one for Venerable Marie Thérèse De Lamourous and another for the Martyrs of Ciudad Real (Blesseds Carlos Eraña, Fidel Fuidio and Jesús Hita) whose Feasts we celebrated in September:

Marie Thérèse* (September 14)
God, source of all holiness, we thank you for the gift of Marie Thérèse. Her love of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the message of the Gospel inspire us today. We ask that we, like her, will be of service to all our brothers and sisters now and in the future. We pray for the enthusiasm with which she spread the Gospel and love for Christ and His mother. Amen.

Martyrs of Ciudad Real (September 18)
Lord, our God, to Blessed Carlos Eraña , Fidel Fuidio and Jesús Hita, who were influenced with the love of the Virgin Mary, you gave the grace to suffer for Christ; grant that; through their intercession, we may remain firm in the faith which they taught to children and youth, and to which they bore witness with their own blood in martyrdom. We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Bonaventure's Life of Francis

This week we have focused on the customary blessing of animals on St. Francis Day. The following passage from Bonaventure's Life of Francis is worth recalling:

“One day when Francis went out to meditate in the fields he was passing by the church of San Damiano which was threatening to collapse because of extreme age. Inspired by the Spirit, he went inside to pray.

Kneeling before an image of the Crucified, he was filled with great fervor and consolation as he prayed. While his tear-filled eyes were gazing at the Lord's cross, he heard with his bodily ears a voice coming from the cross, telling him three times: 'Francis, go and repair my house which, as you see, is falling into ruin.'

Trembling with fear, Francis was amazed at the sound of this astonishing voice, since he was alone in the church; and as he received in his heart the power of the divine words, he fell into a state of ecstasy. Returning finally to his senses, he prepared to put his whole heart into obeying the command he had received.

He began zealously to repair the church materially, although the principle intention of the words referred to that Church which Christ purchased with his own blood, as the Holy Spirit afterward made him realize....”

For the record, the moment recounted above took place in 1204... yet then as now, the call of the Cross remains the challenge of our time. So as the work continues, and another St Francis' Day has passed, may we all ever just keep on, keep trying and -- flaws, faults, warts and all -- keep building.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Happy Birthday Meribah

Marianist Monday

Since October 5, 1970 Meribah - the Chaminade Retreat House has sponsored retreats and programs to thousands of young and old. Located on 8 1/2 wooded acres in Muttontown, New York, Meribah offers a perfect setting for personal reflection, prayer, service and recreation.

Meribah has undergone many transformations since its earliest days. The one thing that has remained is the flow of youth that continue to walk through the beautiful home to challenge and grow in their faith.
The Meribah chapel houses the one main "table" in the retreat house. Morning, evening and night prayer, private reflection and the celebration of the Eucharist are the hallmarks of this retreat house that celebrates 49 years today.

Happy Birthday Meribah and congratulations to all who have shared the graces of this spiritual home.

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Friday, October 4, 2019


One year ago, Stella Maris Retreat House, was established and has already been used by hundreds of students. A place for spiritual refreshment has been used by many Kellenberg students during its first year.


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Thursday, October 3, 2019

St. Francis

Today, October 4, is St. Francis Day!

This is the day we haul our pets for the annual Blessing of Animals. Perhaps this song with its lyrics below would suffice rather than leading our companions on this road to a blessing.

I look up and I see God
I look down and see my dog
Simple spelling G-o-d
same word backwards d-o-g
They would stay with me all day,
I’m the one who walks away
But both of them just wait for me
and dance at my return with glee

Both love me no matter what
divine God and canine mutt
I take it hard each time I fail
but God forgives, dog wags his tail

God thought up and made the dog,
dog reflects a part of God
I’ve seen love from both sides now
It’s everywhere - Amen, bow-wow

I look up and I see God
I look down and see my dog
And in my human frailty
I can’t match their love for me.

- Song by Wendy Francisco

Any pet offers us the opportunity for companionship. And it’s God who planted this desire for companionship within us and that’s because God desires companionship with us!

The Lord is not only God-with-us (Emmanuel), but also God-who-WANTS-to-be-with-us.]

God desires us - and we are made to desire God.
Every relationship we have, every love that is ours, is a companionship given to lead us to God.