Monday, November 30, 2009

Marianist Monday

Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of the Eternal Father,
Son of the Virgin Mary,
we thank you for offering your life in sacrifice on
the Cross, and for renewing this sacrifice
in every Mass celebrated throughout the world.
In the Power of the Holy Spirit
we adore you and proclaim
your living presence in the Eucharist.

We desire to imitate the love you show us
in your death and resurrection,
by loving and serving one another.

We ask you to call many young people to religious life,
and to provide the holy and generous priests
that are so needed in you Church today.
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer.
Our two Marianist high schools have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament beginning at 3 p.m. every Monday.
Blessed Chaminade often lobbied for more silence at his Sodality gatherings and in his religious communities. He said that "the practice of absolute silence is an excellent means of arriving at the constant, active presence of God."
Like faith, silence for Blessed Chaminade involved the whole person: silence of words, of signs, of mind, of emotions, and of the imagination. In silence, the heart is focused only on God and with nothing but God.
Come and pray with us!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy New Year 2010

Today brings us to the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the Year of Grace 2010.

Advent is a time to take a good look at ourselves and ask the questions:

"Am I ready for the coming of Christ?
Am I living the life that would be pleasing to God?
Am I ready to face God and say that I have done everything to serve him and others?"

All of us are sinners and can make changes in our life to become more holy and become more pleasing to our Lord.

Advent is just that time to turn away from bad habits, to make changes in our lives, and for some of us, maybe even make a u-turn.

Don't wait for tomorrow, make the change today, tomorrow might be just too late.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thank You

(Above is pictured the Eucharist celebrated in the Catacombs of St. Priscilla in Rome)

Father William O'Malley offers this thought on gratitude:

Someone(do you remember who?) taught you how to read, and other people challenged you to read more and more complex writing, year after year. How many of us ever thought to thank them for such an inestimable gift?

The word "Eucharist" means thanksgiving. And to appreciate that, one must be humble enough to accept how stunningly blessed and privileged each of us is.

The true question is not what is the Eucharist, but who is the Eucharist.

The Catechism says:We must therefore consider the Eucharist as: thanksgiving and praise to the Father; the sacrificial memorial of Christ and His Body, the presence of Christ by the power of his word and of his Spirit.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Thanksgiving Proclamation

Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day - October 3, 1863

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.
~Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An Attitude of Gratitude

Thanksgiving means so many things to so many people.

For some Thanksgiving means family. It’s when the whole gang comes together from all across the country to give thanks.

But not everyone has a perfect family. And a good percentage of us don't even have a fully functioning family. For many familes, Thanksgiving is just a reminder of past hurts or wounds.

When it comes down to it, Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate what we do have. For some, that’s family; for others, it's simply a roof over their head or food on the table.

But what do we all have in common to be thankful for as Catholics?

Answer, the Eucharist. Wanna know why?

The Eucharist actually means thanks giving. Because no matter what is different about our Thanksgiving Day meals - from eating turkey sandwiches for two to a feast for 40 - the one food we can all be grateful for is the Bread of Life. The feelings we all have during these festive days all start in the heart of Christ, whether we know it or not.

So, this Turkey day, let’s all take a moment between the parades, the pigskin, the leisure and the pies to thank God for a food that’s truly life changing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Long Live Christ the KIng"

Yesterday we celebrated the feastday of Fr. Miguel Pro. On the day of his execution, Fr. Pro forgave his executtioners, prayed, bravely refused the blindfold and died proclaiming, "Viva Cristo Rey", "Long live Christ the King!"

Monday, November 23, 2009

Marianist Monday

Brother Daniel is pictured above with his Latin school class. And below is a reflection sent to me with an adaptation to the Marianist vocation.

Question, "What's a hero?"
Answer, "A man who gives his life for others."

A fireman who rushes into the World Trade Center to save a life but loses his own.
A soldier who walks toward enemy fire to drag his buddy behind the lines.
A pilot who bails out in the Hudson River, keeping his cool and thereby saving lives.

But let's face it: These are moments of heroism, performed on impulse and usually over before the "hero" has a chance to consider the consequences.

What about someone who gives his whole life for his God, his Church, his fellow man and woman? What about someone who takes—and keeps—a vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience forever? For what personal gain? For what ulterior motive?

I'm sorry, this one's a slam dunk:
It takes a special kind of courage to be a consecrated religious.
Pope Benedict explains,

"In our culture today we want to be able to react to new demands, and we hope, by changing jobs fast, to be able to climb the ladder as quickly and as high as possible. But I think there are still callings that demand the whole of a person. Being a doctor, for instance, or a teacher, is not something I can do just for two or three years, but is a calling that requires my whole lifetime. That is to say, even today there are tasks that are not a job that runs alongside my life, so to speak, in order to ensure I have money to live on. For a true calling, income is not the criterion, but the practicing of some skill in the service of mankind. . . .We all stand in a great arena of history and are dependent on each other. A man ought not, therefore, just to figure out what he would like, but to ask what he can do and how he can help. Then he will see that fulfillment does not lie in comfort, ease, and following one's inclinations, but precisely in allowing demands to be made upon you, in taking the harder path. Everything else turns out somehow boring, anyway. Only the man who "risks the fire," who recognizes a calling within himself, a vocation, an ideal he must satisfy, who takes on real responsibility, will find fulfillment. As we have said, it is not in taking, not on the path of comfort, that we become rich, but only in giving."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christ the King

Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Be a leader by following

Yesterday we traveled to the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception for an evening of worship. Twenty two of us attended the Adoration in the overflowing Seminary Chapel followed by food and dodgeball.

The evening focused on a beautiful theme: To be a leader one must be a follower.
Prayer provides us the opportunity to give to God. It is the raising of our minds ands hearts to God or asking good things from God. Let us pray to follow Christ, to learn to pray as Jesus himself prayed often in the Gospels.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Being a Christian Man

Here is a short reflection and video on manhood which you do not want to miss,
When I was a growing up my father would often exhort me to “be a man.” He would summon me to courage and responsibility and to discover the heroic capacity that was in me. St. Paul summoned forth a spiritual manhood with these words: We [must] all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming. Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ.

But today, too many Christian men are passive fathers and husbands. They have not matured in their faith but remain in a kind of spiritual childhood. They are not the spiritual leaders of their home that scripture summons them to be. If they go to Church at all, their wife has to drag them there. They do not teach their children to pray, read them Scripture, or insist that they practice the faith. They too often leave this only for their wife to do.

Gratefully, many men do take their proper role. They have reached spiritual manhood and understand their responsibilities in the Lord. They live courageously and are leaders. They are the first up on Sunday morning leading their family to Church and they insist on religious practice in the home. They intitate prayer and Scripture reading with their wife and children and are vigorous moral leaders and teachers in their family, parish and community. They are willing to battle for the truth and speak up for what is right.

You see the Lord is looking for a few good men. Are you a Christian Man? Have you reached spiritual manhood? This is not the kind of manhood that comes merely with age. It comes when we pray, hear and heed scripture and the teachings of the Chruch. It comes when we couargeously live the faith and summon others to follow Jesus without compromise. When we speak the truth in love and live the truth. It is when we fear God and thus fear no man, for when we are able to kneel before God we can stand before any threat.

If you’re a Christian man or aspire to be one, I hope you’ll find this video as inspirational as I did.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rediscover God

We surely live in “secular” times. If you ask any of our Latin students they cloud tell you the word means “world.” And our modern age is quite worldly. We may think it has always been that way, but such is not the case. While it is the human condition to be a little preoccupied with ourselves, previous times have featured a much more religious focus than our own.

The Middle Ages were particularly known for the way in which faith permeated the culture and our daily experience.

In those days the holidays were the HOLYdays.
The time of year centered around the Church’s calendar of saints and feasts.
It wasn’t Winter it was advent and Christmastide.
The word Christmas was ChristMASS.
Halloween was All Hallows Eve, the evening before All Saints Day.
Three times every day the Church bells rang the “Angelus” calling Catholics to a moment of prayer in honor of the incarnation. The Bells also rang summoning Catholics to Mass and vespers.

Those days were not perfect days but they were sure more spiritual and the Christians everywhere were constantly reminded of the presence of God by the culture in which they lived. Seldom so today.

But the truth is, God is everywhere.

Creation is a revelation of and experience of God’s love and providence.

We are enveloped by God. We are caught up into his presence.

The culture today will seldom encourage us to return to “public displays of affection” for God .
But maybe we can try some things that would intentionally put God in our day.
Maybe we could just give some thanks before a meal. Maybe we could also plan on saying a grace at meals.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A tug in your heart?

The accompanying video is an intriguing vocation video.

Whatever your vocation is the video challenges us to respond to the longing that we have for God. Sister calls her longing that “tug in her heart.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Today we reflect on the close connection between the Eucharist and the Marianist life. Here is an insight to direct our thoughts:

It is impossible to exaggerate the close relation between the Holy Eucharist and vocations to the religious life.

This is only to be expected once we realize that every vocation is a special grace from God, and the greatest source of grace we have is the Eucharist as Presence, Sacrifice, and Communion.

Faith tells us that Christ is really present on our altars, that He really offers Himself in the Mass, and that we really receive Him in Holy Communion. In each case, the Living Christ is now inspiring men and women to give themselves to Him with all their hearts and follow Him in the extension of His Kingdom.

The Eucharist, therefore, is the best way to foster vocations. This means that persons who attend Mass, receive Communion and invoke Christ in the Blessed Sacrament obtain light and strength that no one else has a claim to.

The Eucharist is also the best way to recognize vocations. Show me a man or woman devoted to the Eucharist and I will show you a person who is an apt subject for the religious life.

The Eucharist is finally the infallible way of preserving one's vocation. This is especially true of devotion to the Real Presence. Is it any wonder that saintly priests and religious over the centuries have been uncommonly devoted to the Blessed Sacrament? They know where to obtain the help they need to remain faithful to their vocations. It is from the same Christ Who called them and Who continues to sustain them in His consecrated service.

Vocations begin with the Eucharist; they are developed through the Eucharist; and they are preserved by the Eucharist. All of this is true because the Eucharist is Jesus Christ, still on earth, working through men and women whom He calls to share His Plan for salvation.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Marianist Monday

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade wrote in his Letters,

"How I wish you to become a saint!
Let us count as synonymous the expressions saint and child of Mary!

May the paternal blessing I am giving you here, from a full heart, produce this happy effect!"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

“Do or not do. There is no try.” Or is there?

In the article “How to Discern Elements of Your Personal Vocation” by Fr. Peter Ryan, he says:

“With respect to future possibilities, we cannot discern whether we should do something, but only whether we should try to do it…The real possibility that we could die before we carry something out or that other things could intervene and make something impossible should warn us not to conclude that we are definitely called to do something in the future, but only that we are called to try to do it. Often enough, all God wants is the effort; and if we make the effort, we produce the results he desires.”

Takes a lot of the pressure off, doesn’t it!

Brian doesn’t have to discern whether he will marry Leslie; he only has to try to date her. Cheryl doesn’t have to discern whether she will be a religious sister; she only has to try to live in the community for a time. Tim doesn’t have to discern whether he will be a priest; he only has to apply to the seminary and see if he is accepted. Where these people end up on the other side of their decision to try is in God’s hands.

Young adults are at a point in their lives where they are discerning many things including personal vocations. Personally, I’m often frustrated with the fact that I can’t see the future, and even more frustrated when what I think will happen doesn’t end up happening. (What can I say, I’m a planner.) But as Fr. Ryan says, our effort to try is often what God desires as it shows faith and hope. God wants us to say to him, “I don’t know where this path will lead, but Yes Lord, I’m going to follow you anyway.” We can act within these uncertainties saying and believing, Thy Will be done.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wise Desert Words

Amma Theodora lists these qualities for a teacher:
– Have no desire to dominate
– Have no interest in vanity or pride
– Never be distracted by flattery or gifts
– Be in control of the stomach
– Be slow to become angry
– Be as patient, gentle and humble as possible
– Be properly examined and without political ties
– Be a lover of souls

You, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourselves?
Romans 2:21

Friday, November 13, 2009

First American Citizen Saint

Today we remember the first American Citizen saint: St. Frances Xavier Cabrini.

The following comes from St. Frances was born in Lombardi, Italy in 1850, one of thirteen children. At eighteen, she desired to become a Nun, but poor health stood in her way. She helped her parents until their death, and then worked on a farm with her brothers and sisters.One day a priest asked her to teach in a girls' school and she stayed for six years. At the request of her Bishop, she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to care for poor children in schools and hospitals. Then at the urging of Pope Leo XIII she came to the United States with six nuns in 1889 to work among the Italian immigrants.

Filled with a deep trust in God and endowed with a wonderful administrative ability, this remarkable woman soon founded schools, hospitals, and orphanages in this strange land and saw them flourish in the aid of Italian immigrants and children. At the time of her death, at Chicago, Illinois on December 22, 1917, her institute numbered houses in England, France, Spain, the United States, and South America. In 1946, she became the first American citizen to be canonized when she was elevated to sainthood by Pope Pius XII. St. Frances is the patroness of immigrants.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

God Bless Our Veterans!

Prayer for Veterans Day

God of peace,
we pray for those who have served our nation
and who laid down their lives
to protect and defend our freedom.

We pray for those who have fought,
whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war,
whose nights are haunted by memories
too painful for the light of day.

We pray for those who serve us now,
especially for those in harm's way:
shield them from danger
and bring them home.

Turn the hearts and minds
of our leaders and our enemies
to the work of justice and a harvest of peace.

Spare the poor, Lord, spare the poor!

May the peace you left us,
the peace you gave us,
be the peace that sustains,
the peace that saves us.

Christ Jesus, hear us!
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christian Hope

My name is Nick Vujicic and I'm 25 years old. I was born without arms or legs and given no medical reason for this condition. Faced with countless challenges and obstacles, God has given me the strength to surmount what others might call impossible. Along with that, the Lord has placed within me an unquenchable passion to share this same hope and genuine love that I’ve personally experienced with more than two million people all over the globe. Traveling extensively to over 19 nations, I've been extremely humbled by the continuous opportunities that the Lord has given me to share my testimony along with the hope that I have in Jesus with people in so many nations and situations. My greatest joy in this life is to introduce Jesus to those I meet and tell them of His great desire to get to know them personally by allowing Him to become their Lord and Savior.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Marianist Mondays

Our "alliance with Mary," as Blessed William Chaminade called it, is to be the binding force, the energy that will enable communities to become images of a people of saints -- dynamic images of the Church.

One who seeks counsel of the Mother of God is never disappointed and never without hope. She is the most compassionate and effective of all counselors. The Book of Proverbs says it well, "He that shall find me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord."

Love Mary, then, and all the rest will be given you besides.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

Mr. Richard J. Hughes

Father of Brother Richard

Go forth, O Christian soul, ouf of this world, in the Name of God the Father Almighty, Who created you; in the Name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, Who suffered for you; in the Name of the Holy Spirit, Who sanctified you, in the name of the holy and glorious Mary, Virgin and Mother of God; in the name of the angels, archangels, thrones and dominions, cherubim and seraphim; in the name of the patriarchs and prophets, of the holy apostles and evangelists, of the holy martyrs, confessors, monks and hermits, of the holy virgins, and of all the saints of God; may your place be this day in peace, and your abode in Holy Sion. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Care of the Elderly

Just before All Hallows Eve, over sixty of our high school students traveled to Queen of Peace Residence in Queens Village for our annual Halloween party. Both Marianist High Schools spent the afternoon sharing their costumes and stories with the aged poor.
Our Latin school painted hallowen pumpkins for the event and the high school created hand-made Halloween cards.As Brothers of Mary, we find in Mary a model for our own service to others. Truly, this is the meaning of consecrated life: to serve others as Mary did, with an eager and unselfish love; to minister to human suffering in disregard of personal suffering; and to labor tirelessly for the spread of Jesus Christ and His Gospel, both in our own hearts and in the hearts of all men.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Marianist Martyrs of Madrid


This feast commemorates the the martyrdom of our four Marianists: Miguel Léiber Garay, SM; Florencio Arániz Cejudo, SM; Joaquín Ochoa Salazar, SM; and Sabino Ayastuy Errasti, SM all martyred during the relgious persecution in Spain in 1936.
498 Spanish martyrs were proclaimed blessed and marked the largest number to be beatified simultaneously in the history of the Church. Some fifty thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square for the celebration of the martyrs.
"The message of the martyrs is a message of faith and love," affirmed Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Saints' Causes.
Beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on October 28, 2007

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Prayer for Discerning a Vocation

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know my self,
and the fact that I think am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that, if I do this,you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will not leave me to face my perils alone.
-Thomas Merton

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mary's Fiat: All beginnings start with a yes

Mary’s fiat, as it is called (fiat being not a cute little car but Latin for “let it be done”), was a yes to the Unknown. These are the only yeses that really count.

Is the Lord, perhaps, calling you to the religious life? That was the topic of the Operation Fiat that the Province of Meribah hosted at Kellenberg Memorial last evening. Over 70 young men attended the progam that began with Adoration and Evening Prayer.

Grace was the theme for the talk given by Brother Thomas. There are many great and wonderful gifts God has given us in this world. There are the gifts of life, of family, of friends; of our education, of our talents and opportunities. For all these we own immense thanks to the Lord who arranges all things for those who love Him. But there are far greater gifts than these. Among these many and exceedingly wonderful gifts of grace, one stands in a principle place. It is the grace of a vocation.

Just how important is the grace of vocation? The grace of a vocation is one of the gifts God gives us under a special Providence and care for our salvation. This kind of vocation is the vocation we received in baptism. It is the vocation all Catholics have. And to remain faithful to our baptismal vows is at once both the most prudent course and the most glorious.

There is a special grace of vocation, however, which we call a vocation. It is the vocation to the religious life. This kind of vocation is a calling, a stirring one might say of the the soul, to undertake a special state of life which is ordained to the supernatural good of others. Unlike the "vocation" of marriage, the vocation of religious life is essentially supernatural in origin and purpose.

How can a vocation be so important? The grace of a vocation is the source of many graces. It is an occasion for doing many good works, for having more time to pray, to learn about God, to serve Him by love and sacrifice and fidelity. It is the source of graces for ourselves, for God apportions to each of us grace in the measure to our needs. The greater the vocation, the greater the graces. The greater good we can do for the Church, the greater the graces to help and encourage us to do so. And how great indeed is the good that religious do for God and His Church and for each of us.

St. Bernard tells us that religious live more purely, fall more rarely, rise more easily, live more peacefully, are more plentifully endowed with grace, die more securely, and are more abundantly rewarded. A religious vocation is a magnificent grace from God, but it is only the beginning of a long chain of graces they must cooperate with by serving Him with love and fervor. By fidelity to one’s vocation, a religious is able to a degree to change the world — to win the world for Christ, to restore all things in Christ.

May the Father and the Son be glorified in all places through the Immaculate Virgin Mary. Amen.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sainted Religious Lay Brother

As we celebrate our Feast Day, and recall how our brother St. Martin de Porres lived his life filled with the Holy Spirit, in union with the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, let us reflect a moment on his death.

As we think about our own life of ministry, a part of our active life that we sometimes engage in with a mixture of motives, let us remind ourselves of something that we can surmise about Martin, from what we actually know. I think we can surmise that whatever he was doing, from the moment he woke up each morning, the reality of the "end for which he was created" was never far from his conscious thoughts. I would venture to say that this contributed significantly to the peacefulness of his death.

It was about nine o'clock at night, November 3, 1639, when without a tremor, without a sound, Martin's soul left the body which had been such a docile and heroic instrument of virtue, and entered the kingdom of eternal happiness. . . . There was a moment of silence, while Archbishop Felician de Vega traced the sign of the cross over his friend. Then Father Saldaña (Prior) began the prayers which are recited when the soul has just left the body. . . When the last "Amen" had been said, the archbishop tried to say a word of consolation to the community, but emotion choked him. All he could say was, "Brethren, let us learn from Brother Martin how to die. This is the most difficult and important lesson" (St. de Porres: Apostle of Charity by Giuliana Cavallini, pp. 195-96).
St. Martin DePorres pray for us!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed

Reflection for All Souls Day
At the heart of all our worship as Catholic Christians,
we pause to remember…
We remember Christ, and all he did for us;
we remember how he suffered, died and rose for us;
and in word and sacrament,
we remember what he did at table with his disciples
on the night before he died.

Every time we celebrate the Eucharist, then,
we remember someone who has died: our brother, Jesus.
And every time we celebrate the Eucharist
we remember others who have died, too.
You know the words:
"Remember our brothers and sisters
who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again;
bring them and all the departed into the light of your presence…"

We remember all our brothers and sisters in Christ
and not only them but all the departed-everyone who has died -
and we pray that through the mercy and love of God
every one of them will enjoy the light and peace of God, forever.

Of course, when we pray for those who have died
we remember first those whom we loved the most,
those whom we miss the most.

When I pray the remembrance of the dead,
my heart seldom fails to remember my father:
others, too – but always him.
I’m sure there are names that come to your heart, too.
And we pray for them…

But why do we pray for them?
What do we pray for them?

Our knowledge of human frailty and our faith in God’s mercy
teach us that when we die, God might not be quite yet finished
with fashioning us, making us ready for eternal life.

Our whole life on earth is a journey to the dwelling place
Christ has prepared and reserved for us in his Father’s house.
Sometimes we stay right on the path that leads us home
and sometimes we take short cuts or make detours
or even turn around and walk in the other direction!

We need the Lord to direct us from death into life...
So it might be, it might even be likely,
that at the end of our life our rough edges
might need some buffing and polishing.

And so we pray for those who have gone before us
that God bring to completion the good work begun in their lives
while they were still with us.
Of course, many of those whom we remember on All Souls Day
were long ago perfected by God’s mercy
and welcomed to their places in heaven.
We remember and pray for them, too.
Today, and through November,
we remember those who have gone to their rest
in the hope of rising again and all the departed...
And we remember Jesus, our brother, who died for us and rose
and opened the door to his Father’s house
and prepared for each of us a dwelling place in his peace.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

When the Saints Go Marchin' In

Who needs the saints, what’s the point? A nicely done video by Fr. Jim Martin, author of My Life With the Saints. It’s a good way to spend 3 1/2 minutes.

November starts us off with turning back the clocks for Daylight Savings Time. But we also have the church's great moments -- All Saints' Day and the Commemoration of the faithful departed, All Souls' Day.

Pope Benedict's reflection last year on All Saints is a timely meditation for today and a beautiful preparation for All Soul's Day on Monday:

Dear brothers and sisters!
With great joy, we celebrate today the feast of All Saints. Visiting a nursery garden, one remains taken aback at the variety of plants and flowers, and spontaneously begins to think of the Creator's fantasy that made the earth a marvelous garden. These same sentiments come to us when we consider the spectacle of holiness: the world appears to us as a "garden," where the Spirit of God has sustained with remarkable wonder a multitude of saints, male and female, from every age and social condition, of every tongue, people and culture. Each is different from the others, with the uniqueness of their own personality and their own spiritual charism. All, however, were marked by the "seal" of Jesus, the imprint of his love, witnessed upon the Cross. All now are at joy, in a feast without end as, like Jesus, they reached this goal across toil and trial, each one encountering their share of sacrifice to participate in the glory of the resurrection.

The solemnity of All Saints became recognized in the course of the first Christian millenium as a collective celebration of the martyrs. Already, in 609, Pope Boniface IV had consecrated the Pantheon in honor of the Virgin Mary and All the Martyrs. But this martyrdom could be interpreted in a wider sense, that of loving Christ without reserve, a love expressed in the total gift of oneself to God and one's brothers and sisters. This spiritual measure, to which all the baptized are called, is accomplished in following the way of the evangelical beatitudes, that the liturgy offers to us on today's solemnity. It's the same path traced by Jesus and that the saints pushed themselves to follow, always aware of their human limits. In their earthly existence, in fact, they were poor in spirit, pained by their sins, myths, starved of and thirsting for justice, merciful, pure of heart, peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness' sake. And God himself gave them a share in his own happiness: previewed in this world and, in the hereafter, enjoyed in its fullness. They are now consoled, have inherited the earth, are sated, pardoned, see the God whose children they are. In a word: "theirs is the Kingdom of heaven" (Mt 5:3,10).On this day let us revive in ourselves an attraction toward Heaven that calls us to carry on in our earthly pilgrimage. Let us lift in our hearts the desire to always unite ourselves to the family of the saints, of which we already have the grace to be a part. As a celebrated "spiritual" song says: "When the saints go marching in, oh how I'd want, Lord, to be in their number!"

Let us place, dear friends, our hand in the maternal one of Mary, Queen of All Saints, and let ourselves be led by her toward our heavenly homeland, in the company of the blessed spirits "of every nation, people and language."