Saturday, June 25, 2016

Lord, I am not worthy

Today's Gospel story centers on a centurion, a man of great faith, who believed that the Lord would cure his servant who was home paralyzed and suffering dreadfully. Jesus assured the centurion that he would come to his home and cure his servant. But, the centurion responded to Jesus with these words “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” 

In response, Jesus was amazed and said to the centurion, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith…You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” And at that very hour his servant was healed. WOW! Really, WOW!!!! 

How can one read this piece of scripture and not be in awe of the greatness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ???? While we may not have walked the actual road with Jesus in His time, he is by our side every single day in every single way.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Sunday Word

This week we celebrate the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Our readings are filled with metaphors.

In the second reading, Paul offers a fundamental rule: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Saint Paul warns against biting and devouring one another.

And then in Sunday’s Gospel from Luke, Jesus encounters someone who enthusiastically states: “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus responds: “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

Jesus uses metaphor to explain that to truly follow him one must be ready to leave the comforts of home.

Along his journey Jesus invites another person to follow him. However, the individual asks if he can first stay and bury the dead. Jesus responds: “Let the dead bury their dead.”

And a third person offered to follow Jesus but first wanted to go to say goodbye to his family. Jesus replies: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Today I pray to hear God’s call to be a true follower of Christ.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Metropolitan Archbishop of Honiara

It’s with great joy that we announce His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Most Reverend Christopher Cardone, O.P., as Metropolitan Archbishop of Honiara in the Solomon Islands. Honiara, located on the island of Guadalcanal, is the capital of the Solomon Islands. The Archbishop of Honiara is the major prelate for the entire country.

The Kellenberg Memorial Family has supported Bishop Chris in his missionary efforts for many years. Our contributions have been primarily in the area of education. This spring we raised funds to purchase engines for the boats that the parish priests use to go from island to island.

We wish him our prayers as he embraces this new mission and ministry!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A New Saint

Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity.Pope Francis has announced the canonization date of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, a Carmelite nun of the 20th century who will be formally recognized as a saint October 16.

In March, the Pope had acknowledged a miracle worked through the intercession of Blessed Elizabeth, paving the way for her canonization.

“The Lord has chosen to answer her prayers for us…before she died, when she was suffering with Addison's disease, she wrote that it would increase her joy in heaven if people ask for her help,” said Dr. Anthony Lilles, academic dean of St. John's Seminary in Camarillo.

Lilles earned his doctorate in spiritual theology at Rome's Angelicum writing a dissertation on Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity.

“If her friends ask for her help it would increase her joy in heaven: so it increases Elizabeth's joy when you ask her to pray for your needs,” he told CNA. "That's the first reason (to have devotion to her): the Church has recognized the power of her intercession."

Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity was born in France in 1880, and grew up in Dijon close to the city's Carmelite monastery. Lilles recounted that when one time when Bl. Elizabeth visited the monastery when she was 17, “the mother superior there said, 'I just received this circular letter about the death of Therese of Lisieux, and I want you to read it.' That circular letter would later become the Story of a Soul; in fact, what she was given was really the first edition of Story of a Soul.” was a lightning moment in her life, where everything kind of crystallized and she understood how to respond to what God was doing in her heart.

“Elizabeth read it and she was inclined towards contemplative prayer; she was a very pious person who worked with troubled youth and catechized them, but when she read Story of a Soul she knew she needed to become a Carmelite: it was a lightning moment in her life, where everything kind of crystallized and she understood how to respond to what God was doing in her heart.”

Elizabeth then told her mother she wanted to enter the Carmel, but she replied that she couldn't enter until she was 21, “which was good for the local Church,” Lilles explained, “because Elizabeth continued to work with troubled youth throughout that time, and do a lot of other good work in the city of Dijon before she entered.”

She entered the Carmel in Dijon in 1901, and died there in 1906 – at the age of 26 – from Addison's disease.

Elizabeth wrote several works while there, the best-known of which is her prayer “O My God, Trinity Whom I Adore.” Also particularly notable are her “Heaven in Faith,” a retreat she wrote three months before her death for her sister Guite; and the “Last Retreat,” her spiritual insights from the last annual retreat she was able to make.

Cardinal Albert Decourtray, who was Bishop of Dijon from 1974 to 1981, was cured of cancer through Bl. Elizabeth's intercession – a miracle that allowed her beatification in 1984.

The healing acknowledged by Pope Francis March 4 was that of Marie-Paul Stevens, a Belgian woman who had Sjögren's syndrome, a glandular disease.

In 2002 Stevens “had asked Bl. Elizabeth to help her manage the extreme discomforts of the pathology she had, and in thanksgiving, because she felt like she had received graces … she travelled to the Carmelite monastery just outside Dijon,” Lilles said. “And when she got to the monastery, she was completely healed.”

Lilles added that a second reason to have devotion to Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity is because she died “believing that she had a spiritual mission to help lead souls to a deeper encounter with Christ Jesus.”

“You could call it contemplative prayer, or even mystical prayer. She said her mission was to lead souls out of themselves and into a great silence, where God could imprint himself in them, on their souls, so that they became more God-like.”

In prayer, he said, “we make space for (God) to transform us more fully into the image and likeness he intended us to become, but which sin has marred. Contemplative prayer is a means towards this transformation, and Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity believed before she died that her spiritual mission would be to help souls enter into that kind of transformative, contemplative prayer, where they could become saints.”

She understood that the way she loved souls all the way was to help them find and encounter the Lord.

During her time in the Carmel of Dijon, Bl. Elizabeth found encouragement from the writings of St. Therese of Lisieux, particularly her “Offering to Merciful Love,” a prayer found in Story of a Soul, Lilles said: “You find references to the Offering to Merciful Love throughout the writings of Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity, it was probably something she herself prayed often.”

“The second way that Elizabeth of the Trinity was influenced by Therese of Lisieux was a poem that St. Therese wrote called 'Living by Love'; in this poem Therese celebrates how the love of Jesus is the heartbeat, the deepest reality of her life, and because he lived to lay down his life for her, she wants to live to lay down her life for human love, which as the poem goes on, means loving all whom he sends her way, without reserve and all the way, giving people the generous love that we have received from Christ, sharing it with others.”

“That idea deeply, deeply influenced Elizabeth of the Trinity and in fact inspired her own way of life and her own spiritual mission to help lead souls into mystical prayer,” Lilles reflected. “She understood that the way she loved souls all the way was to help them find and encounter the Lord.”

“So, the spiritual missions of Therese of Lisieux and Elizabeth of the Trinity coincide: great theologians like Hans Urs von Balthasar recognized that. And these spiritual missions have both greatly influenced the Church in the 20th and early 21st centuries in very powerful ways.”

“I'm so glad that Elizabeth has been recognized for her part in building up the Church in the 20th century.

Vatican City, Jun 21, 2016 / 03:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- 

Monday, June 20, 2016

God's Will

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, the 17th-century lay monk, who wrote the devotional classic The Practice of the Presence of God worked in the monastery's kitchen. He decided to try to pay attention to God's presence even while going about his culinary duties. He reported that working in the kitchen like a common scullery maid was not much different than when he was alone in his cell meditating. He wrote. "That time of business [in the kitchen]does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I enjoy God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament."

Not everybody is capable of that, of course; some, and perhaps most, people would find the hustle of the kitchen or the negotiating of a road on a bicycle just too distracting to promote good thinking.

The main message is this: It's good for us to find whatever means works best for us to ponder not only the issues of life but also the things of God, whether it be on our beds like the psalmist, in the kitchen like Brother Lawrence, or in a lonely place like Jesus.

Good thinking is not enough by itself to do the work of God. But neither is mindless activity unguided by spiritual reflection enough by itself either.

But steered by clear thinking and powered by rich faith, we can be very much the people who do God's will.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Word

Today's reading from Paul is exciting. It is exciting because the text from Galatians tells that Christ has swept away the conditions of the old law. We are all set free from the forced guardianship of the law. Saint Paul calls Christ the true offspring of Abraham, the first heir of the abundance promised to that patriarch. It is through Christ -- through our baptism in Christ -- that we are now Abraham's children. Through Christ, we become descendants of Abraham and full participants in the promised land of abundant life.

WE are heirs to this promise and we must keep faith with Christ. True heirs to the promise of abundant life.

Our participation in this promise means we live as if the kingdom has arrived. We are making the promise to bring in the kingdom a little more fully every day. Making this promise is a public act -- -- witnessing to others about both the kingdom and the Gospel.