Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Door of Grace

Judas forgot just one thing, and that one thing was the difference between life and death. Judas forgot that he was only one in a long, line of failed faithful. So many in Scripture committed grievous acts of betrayal against God. But each one found their way back to God's side through the back door of grace.

And then Judas died, marked as a betrayer. Why?

Because he forgot to try the door. Judas did not want a gift of grace.

The message of today is that God's grace is available to us all, that the back door to God is always open.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Feed - Tend - Feed

Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep.

Now just what is Jesus getting at in this dialogue with Simon Peter? On one level, he is giving Peter the opportunity to cancel out on his three cowardly denials. While Peter had insisted three times that he was not a disciple of Jesus, now he affirms three times that he loves his Lord. What's going on? Three denials, three affirmations. Everything is now wiped clean. He goes from a cowardly lion to a loyal disciple.

But there is even something more significant happening here, and it has to do with the work of tending Christ’s sheep. Jesus is mapping out a sort of job description for disciple wannabes. 

If you love Jesus, you can't sit at the seashore and watch things happen.

No! If you love Jesus you have to get yourself dressed, roll up your sleeves, and get into the work of discipleship if you want to tend and feed the flock of God.

Ya gotta do it! Ya can't just think about it!

Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Embrace the Cross



"True wealth, true glory, true joy is to be found in the cross.
Happiness is necessarily linked with the cross since Jesus Christ declared this truth.
But we look upon such truths as impenetrable mysteries.
This is a temptation of the devil,
to prevent us from pondering over them,
because upon examining the cross of Christ,
we would find it lovable and worthy of our embrace."
(Spirit 1, § 381)

William Joseph Chaminade

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hosanna! Blessed is the King!


Saint Andrew of Crete, was Archbishop of Crete at the end of the 7th century and the beginning of the 8th. He was a  theologian, teacher and hymnographer. Below is his sermon for Palm Sunday.


"Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation. He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of his own free will to make his journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. As the psalmist says: He will not dispute or raise his voice to make it heard in the streets. He will be meek and humble, and he will make his entry in simplicity

Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us

In his humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and he is glad that he became so humble for our sake, glad that he came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to himself. And even though we are told that he has now ascended above the highest heavens - the proof, surely, of his power and godhead - his love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven.

So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the childrens' holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of  Israel."
                                                                                                                      

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Age never matters

For over twenty years the students of Kellenberg Memorial and Chaminade High Schools have travelled with home-made Easter baskets in hand to the eldery of Queen of Peace Residence in Queens Village. Yesterday was no exception to the regular Easter visits. While candy and spiritual bouquets were part of the gifts given, a hug from Peter the Rabbit made the gift a little more special
Before we started our visit we gathered together for in the Country Kitchen.
Above the 15 years olds meet the 103 year old.
A joyful and thankful Geraldine received many gentlemen callers on the eve of her 83rd birthday.
Happy Birthday Gerry!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lent is for Love



This article was just published in the Long Island Catholic by one of our seniors. Lent is for love

For me, Lent seems to be the time of the year when I best become “spiritually cleansed.” This is for a lot of reasons, but mostly due to the atmosphere created in the Catholic Church during this time of year. What is most incredible and so dynamic about Lent is what the Church calls us to focus on: the sacrament of confession, fasting/abstaining, and the Crucifixion. But why all of a sudden must we focus on these specific things? Shouldn’t we be focusing on these aspects throughout the year?

The reason is love.

There is no greater love than that which God has given us, the redemption of mankind through the sacrificing of His only Son. The Church is calling us to take a closer look at this love. I was trying to figure this seemingly theological “love” thing out recently, especially the love that God has for us. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s tough to feel the love. We are told it’s there, but I can’t always get it, ya know?

I was listening to some tunes on my iPod recently and an old favorite of mine came on by surfer/songwriter Jack Johnson. And this is what he has to say:

“Love is the answer for at least most of the questions in my heart, like why are we here? Where do we go? And how come this is so hard? It’s not always easy but sometimes life can be deceiving, I’ll tell you one thing it’s always better when we’re together.”

Connect these lyrics with the Lenten message of the Love of Christ in His sufferings, and we can sort of understand the meaning of love, and even the idea of suffering as well. Through every cross, little or big, we are united in Christ’s sufferings. Also during Lent, we are reminded that Christ did not carry His cross by Himself. What ever is going on in our lives during this Lenten season, know one thing — God loves us and is right next to us, helping us out with that cross of ours.

So focus on your loved ones, and remember that God is with us. As St. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

DANIEL McQUILLAN is a senior at Kellenberg Memorial High School, Uniondale.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What if she said no?

What if she had said No?

The question may strike you as irreverent. How dare I suggest that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven, Co-Redemptrix of mankind, could have left us in the lurch like that?

But what if she had?

Could she have said No? You might say that of course she couldn’t, she was far too holy — but you would be guilty of demeaning and dangerous sentimentality. It is demeaning because it turns Our Lady from a free human being into a sanctified automaton. The whole glory of the Annunciation is that Mary, the second Eve, could have said No to God but she said Yes instead. That is what we celebrate, that is what we praise her for; and rightly so.

This sentimental view is dangerous too. If we believe that the most important decision in the history of the world was in fact inevitable, that it couldn’t have been otherwise, then that means it was effortless. Now we have a marvelous excuse for laziness. Next time we’re faced with a tough moral decision, we needn’t worry about doing what is right. Just drift, and God will make sure that whatever choice we make is the right one. If God really wants us to do something he’ll sweep us off his feet the way he did Mary, and if he chooses not to, it’s hardly our fault, is it?

So Mary could have said No to Gabriel. What if she had? He couldn’t just go and ask someone else, like some sort of charity collector. With all the genealogies and prophecies in the Bible, there was only one candidate. It’s an alarming thought. Ultimately, of course, God would have done something: the history of salvation is the history of him never abandoning his people however pig-headed they were. But God has chosen to work through human history. If the first attempt at redemption took four thousand years to prepare, from the Fall to the Annunciation, how many tens of thousands of years would the next attempt have taken?

Even if the world sometimes makes us feel like cogs in a machine, each of us is unique and each of us is here for a purpose: just because it isn’t as spectacular a purpose as Mary’s, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. When we fail to seek our vocation, or put off fulfilling some part of it, we try to justify ourselves by saying that someone else will do it better, that God will provide, that it doesn’t really matter. But we are lying. However small a part I have to play, the story of the Annunciation tells me it is my part and no-one else can do it.

Faced with the enormity of her choice, how was Mary able to decide? If she said No, unredeemed generations would toil on under the burden of sin. If she said Yes, she herself would suffer, and so would her Son; but both would be glorified. Millions of people not yet born would have Heaven open to them; but millions of others would suffer oppression and death in her son’s name. The stakes were almost infinite.

You might say that Mary didn’t worry about all this, just obeyed God; but I don’t believe it. What God wanted was not Mary’s unthinking obedience but her full and informed consent as the representative of the entire human race. The two greatest miracles of the Annunciation are these: that God gave Mary the wisdom to know the consequences of her decision, and that he gave her the grace not to be overwhelmed by that knowledge.

When we come to an important decision in our lives, we can easily find our minds clouded by the possible consequences, or, even more, by partial knowledge of them. How can we ever move, when there is so much good and evil whichever way we go? The Annunciation gives us the answer. God’s grace will give us the strength to move, even if the fate of the whole world is hanging in the balance. After all, God does not demand that our decisions should be the correct ones (assuming that there even is such a thing), only that they should be rightly made.

There is one more truth that the Annunciation teaches us, and it is so appalling that I can think of nothing uplifting to say about it that will take the sting away: perhaps it is best forgotten, because it tells us more about God than we are able to understand. The Almighty Father creates heaven and earth, the sun and all the stars; but when he really wants something done, he comes, the Omnipotent and Omniscient, to one of his poor, weak creatures — and he asks.

And, day by day, he keeps on asking us.
- from Universalis.com

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Forgiveness


Forgiveness!

The Scribes and Pharisees brought this woman to Jesus.
Just imagine how this woman felt when brought before Jesus.
I’m sure she felt complete and utter shame.
Terrified because the crowd brought her to Jesus for judgment.
Her life was in his hands!
And Jesus does something that the Scribes and Pharisees could have never predicted.
Instead pointing the finger of judgment at the woman, He turns the tables on them and says to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

He is reminding them, that we should never pass judgment on one another.
God is to judge, not us.
The Scriptures tell us that after His words, “they went away one by one, beginning with the elders.”
They knew what He was saying was true.
Jesus was left alone there with this woman.
"Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

“Has no one condemned you?”
She says, “No one”
Then He says to her, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on sin no more.”

How did she feel?
A great act of charity given to her, forgiveness.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Scribbling in the Sand


Lyrics Below

Amidst a mob of madmen
She stood frightened and alone
As hate filled voices hissed at him
That she should now be stoned

But in the air around him
Hung a vast and wordless love
Who knows what loom at his lesson
He was in the middle of

At first he faced the fury
Of their self righteous scorn
But then he stooped and at once became
The calm eye of the storm

It was his wordless answer
To their dark and cruel demand
The lifetime in a moment
As he scribbled in the sand

It was silence it was music
It was art it was absurd
He stooped and shouted volumes
Without saying a single word

The same finger
Of the strong hand
That had written ten commands
For now was simply scribbling in the sand

Within the space of space and time
He scribbled in the sand
They cam e to hear and see as much

As they could understand
Now bound by cords of kindness
They couldn't cast a single stone
And Jesus and the women found that they were all alone

It was silence it was music
It was art it was absurd
He stooped and shouted volumes
Without saying a single word

R.Could that same finger come
And trace my souls sacred sand
And make some unexpected space

Where I could understand
That my own condemnation pierced
And broke that gentle hand
That scratched the words I'll never know
Written in the sand

It was silence it was music
It was art it was absurd
He stooped and shouted volumes
Without saying a single word

The same finger
Of the strong hand
That had written ten commands
For now was simply scribbling in the sand.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Living in the Moment

A couple of years ago, the Brothers of the Province read a book by Eckhart Tolle during our summer Renewal Program. The Power of Now is the sort of book that continues to swirl about in your consciousness even after you’ve read it. It left me permanently changed.

The principle of the book is quite basic — nothing exists outside this present moment. But that’s a very different way of thinking than we are used to. We think of our lives as line segments from birth to death. The present moment was just a single point on the line moving slowly forward. The past was the part of the line behind that point, and the future was the part ahead of it. The Power of Now stopped me from thinking this way.

The Power of Now taught me that there is no line segment. The point is all there is. The past and the future are just illusions. They only exist to the degree we focus our attention on them  right now. We create the past and the future by imagining them in the present. But we don’t even exist outside the Now.

This shift in thinking produced a significant shift in my priorities. I started asking questions like, “How can I experience more joy in this very moment?”

Living in the moment has its graces. Think about living in the moment as you watch this video.


"God speaks to the heart of those who are recollected and silent in order to hear him." (1937 Const., art. 163)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bishop Visit

Our Bishop visited with the many students at one of our schools, Chaminade High School. Bishop William Murphy yearly visits all our schools in the Diocese to meet the young people.

Every visit is an opportunity for the Bishop to share his joy for the youth of the Church. The young men were very enthusiastic about his visit and shared their faith and what Chaminade means to them in their lives.

"We have embraced the cross of Jesus—to disengage ourselves from it by a thousand and one exemptions, indiscreetly asked of those in authority, is to deny the cross of Jesus and not oneself ."(Spirit 1, § 381)
Blessed William Joseph Chaminade

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Lenten Reflection

Father,
I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures.

I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you
with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

Blessed Charles de Foucald

Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Joseph, Guardian of Our Lord

All that we know of Joseph we learn from the first two chapters of Matthew and of Luke. Otherwise he is mentioned only in passing in Luke 3:23; John 1:45; John 6:42 as the supposed father of Jesus. (Mark does not mention him at all.)

In the face of circumstances where a man of lesser character might have reacted very differently, Joseph graciously assumed the role of Jesus' father. He is well remembered in Christian tradition for the love he showed to the boy Jesus, and for his tender affection and care for Mary, during the twelve years and more that he was their protector.

In the face of circumstances where a man of lesser character might have reacted very differently, Joseph graciously assumed the role of Jesus' father. He is well remembered in Christian tradition for the love he showed to the boy Jesus, and for his tender affection and care for Mary, during the twelve years and more that he was their protector. - James Kiefer

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Breastplate

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
-St. Patrick's Breast Plate

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Who art in heaven

Our Father,
who art in heaven...

We pray this prayer at least three times every day and find the words both comforting and challenging. Pope Benedict uncovers a whole new set of insights in what are among the best known verses in Scripture. He writes,

“that the words of the Our Father are signposts to interior prayer, they provide a basic direction for our being, and they aim to configure us to the image of the Son. The meaning of the Our Father goes much further than the mere provision of a prayer text. It aims to form our being, to train us in the inner attitude of Jesus (cf. Phil 2:5)

Philippians 2:5 states: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus”

The Pope goes on to state that we must listen to Jesus’ words and that we must also bear in mind that the Our Father originates in his own praying – the Son’s dialogue with the Father.

“This means that it reaches down into depths far beyond the words. It embraces the whole compass of man’s being in all ages."

He also quotes German author and poet Reinhold Schneider, who offers an even more arresting insight:  "The Our Father begins with a great consolation: we are allowed to say ‘Father’. This one word contains the whole history of redemption. We are allowed to say ‘Father,’ because the Son was our brother and has revealed the Father to us; because, thanks to what Christ has done, we have once more become children of God.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Our Father

+ + +
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Brother Nigel's mother
who entered eternal life on March 11, 2010

Mrs. Barbara Pratt

May she rest in peace

+ + +

Our Father....

I have posted below a beautiful reflection from Pope Benedict on yesterday's Gospel:

"An invitation to meditate on the parable of the "prodigal son", in which we are reflected in "the two children and especially, in which we contemplate the heart of the Father. Let us cast ourselves into his arms and be regenerated by his merciful love.

This chapter of St. Luke, represents a spiritual and literary high point of all time. Indeed, what would our culture, art, and more generally our civilization be without this revelation of God the Father, full of mercy? It never ceases to move us, and every time I hear it or read it, it always suggests new meanings. Above all, this Gospel text has the power to speak of God, let us know his face, better yet, his heart. After Jesus told us of the Father's merciful love, things have changed forever, now we know God, He is our Father who created us free to love and gifted us a consciousness that suffers if we get lost and that celebrates if we return. For this, the relationship with God is built through a story, similar to what happens to every child with their parents: at the beginning he depends on them, then he claims his own autonomy, and finally - if there is a positive development - he comes to a mature relationship based on genuine gratitude and love.

Fortunately, God never fails in his loyalty, and even if we move away and get lost, he continues to follow us with his love, forgive our mistakes and speak to our inner consciousness, to call us back to him. In the parable, the two children behave in an opposite way: the younger son leaves and increasingly falls lower and lower, while the older son remains at home, but he also has an immature relationship with the Father, because, when his brother returns, the older son is not happy as the Father is, indeed, he grows angry and refuses to return home. The two sons represent two immature ways of relating with God: rebellion and hypocrisy. Both of these methods are overcome through the experience of mercy. Only by experiencing forgiveness, recognizing ourselves as loved with a free love, greater than our misery, but also of our justice, will we finally enter into a truly filial and free relationship with God."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Catholic Youth - Way Cool!


Yearly one of our students attended Catholic Familyland and shared stories on her return.
Grace Moran is among the many featured on this video. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Perfection


So many of us have failed. And it is in failing, that we succeed. It is in our failing that we learn.

We always try to improve ourselves, but internal improvement is the source that will make one beautiful.

We have been made in the image and likeness of God - Think about that statement, what do you think it means in respect to God? To us?

What does perfection, at least God's eyes, look like?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lenten Plan III

Well, we are racing through Lent and almost half way towards Easter.

So, how's your Lent been so far? Have you been faithful to exercises of prayer, fasting and almsgiving?

Or did you have a good start and just fizzled out?

The "devil in the desert" would like nothing more than for you to give up on Lent. Well, to hell with the devil!

Life is about second chances. Start Lent right now! No, don't say it is not worth it! Find 10 minutes a day to sit still and remember that God is present... that's called prayer.

Choose some form of comfort (food or Southern?)whose absence for 40 days will create an empty space the Spirit might rush to fill...that's called fasting.

Reach out to the poor on your own or through your a Lenten Program...that's called almsgiving.

Find some way to remind yourself daily that you are living in the season of Lent. Sometimes it is as simple as a post-it on your bathroom mirror with the word LENT on it, It doesn't have to be fancy, just keep it simple. In some way, remember to pray, fast and reach out to the poor everyday.

Lent is a spiritual spring time wherever you live and it is not too late to plant the seeds of Lent in your life.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Yes, Lord!

Sometimes Lent can become such a negative experience. We can place so much emphasis on what we are going to give up for lent. And then when temptations arise we "just say no." But when we say "no" to ourselves, are we saying "yes" to God?

Henri Nouwen once wrote:

God not only says: "You are my Beloved." God also asks: "Do you love me?" and offers us countless chances to say "Yes." That is the spiritual life: the chance to say "Yes" to our inner truth... And at every point of the journey there is the choice to say "Yes" and the choice to say "No."

There are countless areas of our lives when we can say "yes" to God. And when we are trying to discern God's will in our lives we say "yes" to God as well. But how many times during our day are we conscious of saying "yes" to God?

In 1962, the same question was asked, but probably in a different beat...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Humiliations


"You cannot learn humility from books; you learn it by accepting humiliations.

Humiliations are not meant to torture us; they are gifts from God.

These little humiliations -- if we accept them with joy -- will help us to be holy, to have a meek and humble heart like Jesus."

Mother Teresa

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Quiet Call

I am sure that today's blog will in some way pull at your heart. Lent sort of does that to all of us. It is an attempt to put ourselves back together and we cannot do it alone:

"I’ve never gotten anything from confession with a priest that came close to what I’ve gotten from God. I guess I will never understand desiring all these intermediaries, these layers, these mortal substitutes for the real thing. Once you've tasted the real thing, you don't want anything else—you can't want anything else. Nothing less than God will do.

So there’s the question: Why do we need intermediaries?

Because in the end we can’t help ourselves. Think about it. This is even what you say sometimes to the priest (or to yourself) when he asks, “Why do you keep falling into this sin? Why do you keep making this mistake?” Because, Father, I can’t help myself.

Turning our hearts around, the real meaning of repentance, is a big big job. Every year, the Church gives us a whole 46-day period from Ash Wednesday to Easter to call us back to repentance. That’s a long time, with many prayers and sacraments, including confession, hopefully. We need all the help we can get, seems to be the message.

Why do we need intermediaries?

Because here it is Lent again, and the same job of repentance is staring me in the face. Bless me, Father, for I too have sinned."

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Power of Confession

Here is another blog entry from the same student on the topic of Confession:

"Confession is a very powerful and sometimes misunderstood sacrament. Many people find it difficult to confess their sins cause they would have to admit they have done something wrong and tell another person about it. This fear is natural because, well, we are human. We don't like to admit we have messed up once or twice. However to admit we have failed allows us to draw closer to Christ when we acknowledge "yes we are sinners and need to be saved." That was the whole purpose of Christ coming to earth, to free us from sin.

Now back to confession. I know there is a lot of fear when this comes up. Like I said before it is hard to admit we are wrong. Also, can we remember all our sins. Then the really big part, are we truly sorry. Are we truly sorry, and will we do our best not to sin or at least perform that sin again?

Its seems sometimes there is no reason to go to confession. The media and others can make it seem like a big joke. I have seen several times on television a scene where someone enters the confessional and makes a big joke out of it. Reconciliation is a great gift of God's Mercy. Other people say, "I don't believe if a person just says 'o I am sorry' and puff they are forgiven." True confession is not just words, but sorrow for those sins, making a decision to not sin again, and finally doing you penance.

I personally feel confession is a healthy thing to do. Whenever I am going through a rough time or just feel like somethings wrong one of the things I do is go to confession. Now don't worry I am not using confession as a sort of cure all just to talk to someone, sin really can make you feel terrible. I know ever time I have gone to Confession,  it is as though my eyes have been opened to see the world differently. Everything seems right, even for just that small moment.

So take the time and go to confession. If it has been a while that's ok. There is always a chance to change and to be forgiven. Experience the Mercy of God, through this wonderful Sacrament.

John 1: 29

Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

Friday, March 5, 2010

To Whom Shall We Go?


A student of mine sent me something Archbishop Timothy Dolan wrote entitled, "To Whom Shall We Go?"

“Lent is the forty days of preparation for Holy Week and Easter.

Why do we have it ? To accept in a more intense way the invitation of Jesus to be more closely united with Him on the cross, thereby dying with Him to sin, selfishness, Satan, and eternal death, so to rise with Him on Easter Sunday to a more radiant life of grace, mercy, and spiritual rebirth.

How do we do it ? Through the three ancient Lenten practices: prayer, sacrifice, and charity.

A newsman asked me if I have any practical counsel for Lent.
“Yes,” I replied. “Get back to confession.”

This sacrament of penance is most associated with this season of Lent.
There is no better time to approach this sacrament of reconciliation than before Easter.
Last week I made my annual retreat with thirty-five other priests from the archdiocese in Ars, a tiny village in southwestern France.That village had a legendary pastor, or curĂ© — the CurĂ© of Ars – by the name of John Vianney for forty-one years. While there, he converted the town, and, a case can be made, all of France, simply by hearing confessions. By the time of his death in 1859, they had built a new train station to handle the thousands who came weekly to approach the confessional of the humble, holy pastor now venerated as the patron saint of priests.

We priests knelt before that simple wooden confessional a lot last week, preparing for our own confession on retreat, and praying, at my request, for a renewal of the sacrament of penance in our own parishes and archdiocese.

A good friend of mine is pastor of a bustling, prestigious parish in a large city. He loves it, and they, him. A couple of years ago he shocked them one Sunday when, in his sermon he announced that, as much as he enjoyed being their pastor, he had asked the archbishop for a transfer. When the congregation gasped, he explained:

‘Well, I don’t think you need me. See, you must all be saints. I was sent to serve sinners. But, apparently there are none here in this parish, because I sit in the confessional with no customers!”

We’re called to be saints, but we’re sure not there yet. And a great help to get there is the sacrament of penance.

And Lent is a grand time to return to it!
A blessed Lent !

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A forty-day battle


We all know the desert is a lonely and forsaken place. And the devil chooses the wilderness to come against us, just as he chose to confront Jesus. Things you thought were destroyed come back to attack again. The battle intensifies, often at night when defenses are down and weariness sets in. Yet the wilderness is also the place of spiritual discovery. During Lent we are in the midst of a forty-day battle.

The devil is never to be underestimated, nor given an inch. We need to fight all the more when his attacks come. No matter how tired,immediately counterattack with the Name and power of Jesus Christ, who spent forty days in the wilderness and emerged triumphant. Take no prisoners. The devil plays for keeps. We should, too. Our souls are depending upon it.

Last evenving we hosted over twenty-five high school young men interested in exploring the Marianist way of life. Operation Fiat was held at the Chaminade-Mineola Marianist Community. Evening Prayer began the night followed by dinner and dessert in the Comunity dining room. Brother Kenneth gave a presentation that described the development of his vocation. From the early days of St. Joseph grammar school he mapped out the signs of a religious vocation. "A vocation is all about relationship." And he responded with a "Yes!" 

Pray that the grace of a religious vocation may continue to grow in the hearts and minds of those young men last evening.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lenten thought

We distribute the little black book (lenten reflection booklet) to our students every lent. As part of our prayer practice we encourage its use during the forty days of lent.The Scripture verse the other day in my little black book was taken from Mark 14:3 and it is about the Bethany woman who anoints the head of Jesus with expensive oil.

So how would you have felt to anoint the head of Jesus?

Probably you would be like me and would have been really nervous, anointing the head of my Savior.

But maybe the woman didn't know exactly who Jesus was... or did she? She came to him, freely giving a gift that was costly.

Are we willing to bring your treasure to the Lord?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Love = Lent


For me, Lent seems to be the time of the year when I best become “spiritually cleansed.” This is for a lot of reasons, but mostly due to the atmosphere created in the Catholic Church during this time of year. What is most incredible and so dynamic about Lent is what the Church calls us to focus on: the sacrament of confession, fasting/abstaining, and the Crucifixion. But why all of a sudden must we focus on these specific things? Shouldn’t we be focusing on these aspects throughout the year?

The reason is Love.

There is no greater love than that which God has given us, the redemption of mankind through the sacrificing of His only Son. The Church is calling us to take a closer look at this love. I was trying to figure this seemingly theological “love” thing out recently, especially the love that God has for us. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s tough to feel the love. We are told it’s there, but I can’t always get it, ya know?

I was listening to some tunes on my iPod recently and an old favorite of mine came on by surfer/songwriter Jack Johnson. And this is what he has to say:

“Love is the answer for at least most of the questions in my heart, like why are we here? Where do we go? And how come this is so hard? It’s not always easy but sometimes life can be deceiving, I’ll tell you one thing it’s always better when we’re together.”

Connect these lyrics with the Lenten message of the Love of Christ in His sufferings, and we can sort of understand the meaning of love, and even the idea of suffering as well. Through every cross, little or big, we are united in Christ’s sufferings. Also during Lent, we are reminded that Christ did not carry His cross by himself. What ever is going on in our lives during this Lenten season know one thing- God loves us and is right next to us, helping us out with that cross of ours.

So focus on your loved ones, and remember that God is with us. As Saint Paul writes in his letter to the Romans “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Today's blog is written by one of our Marianist high school students

Monday, March 1, 2010

Find Joy

Every Monday we host Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at each of our high schools. Adoration continues until 5:30 p.m. Truth be told, one of my students told me that he had never been good at adoration. Either his mind wanders aimlessly... or he falls asleep. Not a bad place to sleep in the presence of the Lord.

This past year he came with twenty other high school students to a conference in the midwest. And this time he begged God to speak to him in that setting. 250 young men worshipping Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament. He told me he asked Jesus to show him true happiness.
"Please," I begged. "Please, please, please... And Christ spoke to me. And His words were few, but powerful.

"Find joy in me."

"Of course!" I thought. But I kind of knew that. He is the source of all joy. For what seemed like 15 minutes, all I could hear in my head were those four words. Find joy in me. Find joy in me. Find joy in me.

But as I continued to think... and soon became destracted... the phrase (or at least the emphasis) changed. Soon it was: "Find joy in ME." At each distraction, I was "snapped" back to Christ saying, "Find joy in Me." Not in other people. Not in your friends or your family. Over here! Find joy in ME! Not over there. Find joy in ME.

There it was, a true prayer. One that brings focus back to God and not on the distractions of the world. One that holds your gaze, your attention and your spirit.

Finally! I had "found" something in adoration. My attendance at Mass was the most amazing I have EVER attended. I heard speakers who pierced my soul. I talked with people who LOVED God.

I know that our God is an awesome God, and that He has WONDERFUL things in store for those who love Him.

But I know where the source of joy is... was... and always will be.

It is my Lord who strengthens me. "Find joy in me." Thank you, Jesus.