Monday, February 28, 2011


Grace by U2

She takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name

It's a name for a girl
It's also a thought that
Changed the world

And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness
In everything

She's got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She's got the time to talk

She travels outside
Of karma, karma
She travels outside
Of karma

When she goes to work
You can hear the strings
Grace finds beauty
In everything

She carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips
Between her fingertips

She carries a pearl
In perfect condition
What once was hurt
What once was friction

What left a mark
No longer stings
Because grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

Grace finds beauty
In everything
Grace finds goodness
In everything

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Take Heart!

In today's gospel Christ tells us that we cannot serve both God and Mammon?  Did the priest say we cannot serve God and Manna? No, Mammon.

"Mammon is a term that was used to describe greed, avarice, and unjust worldly gain in Biblical literature. It was personified as a false god in the New Testament. The term is often used to refer to excessive materialism or greed as a negative influence."

Jesus is asking us to place our trust in Him alone.  We cannot worship two gods, we cannot be divided, we need to Take Heart!

To totally place all our trust in the Lord is easier said than done.  It requires that we surrender our will to His divine will.  It requires that we truly believe and hope in all that Jesus said.  And ultimately we must take heart that God is truthful, that he is our refuge, that he is our savior, that he is our healer, that he has overcome everything!

Think about it God is bigger than our sin...bigger than our mess... bigger than our lack of faith.  And yet what does he do?  He lavishes us with gifts!  Have no worries, take heart, trust!  He calls us to do only one thing... to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and everyhting else, yes everything else will be given to us!

Talk about a father who cares for his children!  So take heart! Trust!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sunday Sunday Sunday: 02/27/11

Get ready for Sunday by checking out this podcast by Mark Hart.

Readings for Sunday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time: Isaiah 49:14-15; Psalms 62:2-3, 6-7, 8-9; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34.

My Own Little World

Today's Challenge... to love and serve, to move beyond our selfishness and see how God sees.  Father, break my heart for what breaks yours.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Luv vs. Love

LOVE is a word thrown around a lot nowadays and unfortunately we as a society and culture have lost a true understanding of what LOVE truly is.

For the past month has been discussing what is real and authentic LOVE.

"There is no other word more ambiguous, more malleable than ‘love.’ It’s a million things to a million people, and the only thing we can seem to agree on is that we want it. It’s patient, it’s kind… it’s a battlefield, it’s all we need… for thousands of years artists have tried to define love. When you add to that confusion the fact that God is love… things get even more complicated."

Ultimately LOVE is... "Painful, sacrificial, self-giving, uncomfortable, forgiving, humbling, heartbreaking. We die for it, we endure ridicule in it, we turn our cheeks because of it, we abandon our own personal desires to chase it."  That is why the clearest image of LOVE the world has ever seen is Christ on the cross, there is no better revelation of LOVE.

I challenge you to read and pray about the articles below on the 5 counterfeits of LOVE.  Matt Smith "talks about the things that at times might look and feel like love, but are in fact just a counterfeit."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

T Minus 172 Days

World Youth Day 2011 is only 172 days away!  Are you fired up yet?  Check out this awesome video from our friends at Grassroots Films.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Saint Poly...who?

Today is the Feast of Saint Polycarp... do you know who he is?

"Imagine being able to sit at the feet of the apostles and hear their stories of life with Jesus from their own lips. Imagine walking with those who had walked with Jesus, seen him, and touched him. That was what Polycarp was able to do as a disciple of Saint John the Evangelist."

Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey), disciple of St. John the Apostle and friend of St. Ignatius of Antioch was a revered Christian leader during the first half of the second century.
St. Ignatius, on his way to Rome to be martyred, visited Polycarp at Smyrna, and later at Troas wrote him a personal letter. The Asia Minor Churches recognized Polycarp’s leadership by choosing him as a representative to discuss with Pope Anicetus the date of the Easter celebration in Rome—a major controversy in the early Church.

Only one of the many letters written by Polycarp has been preserved, the one he wrote to the Church of Philippi in Macedonia.

At 86, Polycarp was led into the crowded Smyrna stadium to be burned alive. The flames did not harm him and he was finally killed by a dagger. The centurion ordered the saint’s body burned. The “Acts” of Polycarp’s martyrdom are the earliest preserved, fully reliable account of a Christian martyr’s death. He died in 156.

Polycarp was recognized as a Christian leader by all Asia Minor Christians—a strong fortress of faith and loyalty to Jesus Christ. His own strength emerged from his trust in God, even when events contradicted this trust. Living among pagans and under a government opposed to the new religion, he led and fed his flock. Like the Good Shepherd, he laid down his life for his sheep and kept them from more persecution in Smyrna. He summarized his trust in God just before he died: “Father... I bless Thee, for having made me worthy of the day and the hour... .”

“Stand fast, therefore, in this conduct and follow the example of the Lord, ‘firm and unchangeable in faith, lovers of the brotherhood, loving each other, united in truth,’ helping each other with the mildness of the Lord, despising no man” (Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians).


For more information about Saint Polycarp click here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Upon This Rock

By Monsignor Dennis Clark / 
Today the Church celebrates the feast day of the Chair of Peter.  This celebration dates back to at least the fourth century. The Calendar of Philocalus, made in the year 354 and having dates going back to the year 311, marks February 22 for this feast. According to very ancient Western liturgies, February 22 was the date that Christ appointed Peter to sit in His place as the authority over His Church.  What we read in the Gospel of Matthew when our Lord said to Peter, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18) is said to have occurred on this date.
The “chair” of course, is the position, the authority that was given to Peter. This can also be called the Petrine authority or the authority of the pope. Peter, alone among the Apostles, was given the keys to the kingdom. Jesus said to him, “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The Apostles would immediately understand, as would any first-century Jew, what Jesus was referring to when He said “keys to the kingdom”. This was a reference to Isaiah 22 where it refers to a king delegating his special authority over his kingdom to his prime minister. In essence, Jesus was setting up His kingdom on earth (the Catholic Church) and he was delegating His authority to Peter to rule over it until He comes again. In giving Peter the authority to bind and loose, Jesus was essentially stating that He would back up the decisions that Peter would make. Of course, the Church teaches us that this does not refer to all Peter’s actions, but in matters of faith and morals, Peter does have the authority to speak for Christ.
Christ promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide His Church. This promise is made to guide Peter and the popes throughout the ages, in union with the bishops, in shepherding His Church.  Peter, or the pope, however, is the shepherd who watches over the flock until Christ returns. We see this in Scripture also when Christ, after His resurrection and just prior to His Ascension, says to Peter, calling him by his former name (before Christ changed it):
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” (Referring to the other apostles)
Peter replied, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”
He said to him, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My sheep.”  He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”
Peter was distressed that He had said to him a third time, “Do you love Me?” and he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything, You know that I love You.”  Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep” (Jn 21:15-17).
Jesus is our true Shepherd, but He has asked Peter to watch over His flock until He returns to earth.  Christ is the King of Kings and He has delegated His authority to Peter and all those after Peter who would sit in the “Chair of Peter” throughout the ages until He comes again in His glory.  And so Scripture makes it very clear why the Church celebrates this special occasion.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Like An Avalanche

Its snowing at Founder's Hollow today and this song came to mind.

The artist describes it as a "confession and picture of God's relentless grace sweeping over our foolishness and pride, and in response not trying to struggle or fight against it in pursuit of righteousness in and of ourselves, but rather a choice to let go and go with it: completely overtaken. Surrendered."

I just think its a great song!  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A New Start

"A new form of existence driven by love and destined to eternity" is possible through imitation of Christ, said Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday.

Before the traditional noon Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square on Feb. 20, the Pope spoke of the day's Mass readings. He said the readings "speak ... of the will of God to make men participants in his life."
The words, "Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy," from the Book of Leviticus were an invitation to the chosen people to be faithful to the covenant with the Lord, the Pope said. They also "founded social legislation on the commandment 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself'."

"If we listen, then, to Jesus ... we find that same call, that same audacious objective. The Lord says, in fact, 'be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect'."  "But who could become perfect?" asked the Pope. "Our perfection is living as children of God fulfilling concretely his will." Man corresponds to God's paternity by praising and glorifying him through good conduct, he explained.

"In what way can we imitate Jesus?" the Pope asked.
He offered the answer in the continuation of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount found in the Gospel of Matthew. "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father," says Jesus.

Pope Benedict explained that "he who accepts the Lord into his life and loves him with all his heart is capable of a new start. He is able to fulfill the will of God, realizing a new form of existence driven by love and destined to eternity."

The Pope then quoted Paul, who asks the Corinthians in his first letter to them, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"

"If we are truly aware of this reality and our life is profoundly molded to it," said the Pope, "then our testimony becomes clear, eloquent and effective."

Man's entire being is combined with the love of God and "the splendor of his soul" is reflected in all of his life and eternity, he added.

Love, said the Pope, quoting from the book "Imitation of Christ," is a "grand thing," a good that makes all heavy things light, gives man tranquility in difficult moments and allows him to rise above earthly matters. And, "rest," he said, "is born of God and only in God can it be found."

The Pope then looked forward to Feb. 22, the Church feast of the Chair of St. Peter. To Peter, he said, "Christ entrusted the task of teacher and shepherd for the spiritual guidance of the people of God, so that they might raise themselves up to heaven."

He concluded with an exhortation to "all shepherds to assimilate that 'new style of life' which was inaugurated by the Lord Jesus and taken up by the Apostles."

And, he prayed that Mary, the Mother of God and the Church, might "teach us to love each other and accept each other as brothers, children of the heavenly Father."

From Catholic News Agency / EWTN

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fra Angelica

Fra Angelico (c. 1385 – February 18, 1455), Fra Angelico was beatified on October 3, 1982 by Pope John Paul II and in 1984 declared him patron of Catholic artists.

Angelico was given the epithet "Blessed Angelico", because of the perfect integrity of his life and the almost divine beauty of the images he painted, to a superlative extent those of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Remarkably Fra Angelico is among those privileged few who have been beatified without a miracle.

"We, with sound knowledge, bearing in mind the considerable merits in the Church of Fra Giovanni da Fiesole, exclusively for the good of souls, of Our own initiative and with Our apostolic authority, concede as a sign of special grace that his birthday, with the title of "Blessed" in the Liturgy of the Hours and in the Eucharist may be celebrated, with an obligatory degree of remembrance, in the basilica of S. Maria sopra Minerva, where his body is buried, and with a facultative degree of remembrance throughout the Order of Preaching Friars." - Pope John Paul II

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Faith of the heart

Faith of the heart is the foundation for forming the "new self" in Jesus, because it brings about a change in our thinking and in our feeling. To make our faith effective, Blessed Chaminade gave us a method for exercising faith of the heart.

First, I must be clear about the content of my faith. What preciserly do I believe? How do I feel about it?What is in my mind? How are my emotions concerning this particular matter? I will take an example from my own life. Do I really belive that Jesus has called me to be a member of the Society of Mary? If I believe with my mind, my answer is the following: "Yes, I believe God wants me to be a member of the Society of Mary." But I might also find myself saying, "Yes...I think so...but I am not sure..." In such a case, my faith is weakened by doubts. Finally, I must conclude that I do not believe if I answer, "I really don't know." In any case, I need to give a clear answr of what I accept as true.

However, my answer should not only be what I accept with my mind but also how I feel about it.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Meant to be

While doctors can tell us many things, the story of Chase is a medical miracle.

Chase was born prematurely and was legally blind. At one year old the doctors did an MRI, expecting to find mild cerebral palsy. Instead, they discovered he was missing his cerebellum - which controls motor skills, balance and emotions.

That's when the medical doctors said, "That's impossible. He has the MRI of a vegetable."

"There are some very bright, specialized people across the country and in Europe that have put their minds to this dilemma and are continuing to do so, and we haven't come up with an answer," Dr. Adre du Plessis, chief of Fetal and Transitional Medicine at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., told Fox News affiliate WGRZ.

"So it is a mystery."

Chase also is missing his pons, the part of the brain stem that controls basic functions, such as sleeping and breathing. There is only fluid where the cerebellum and pons should be.
Check out this link:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Catholic Apps

With so much talk about the new "Confession"app, it would be easy to overlook some other fine Catholic apps. Jesuit Jack McLain, a self-confessed technophile gives us the lowdown on the best ones.

During a recent discussion with a brother Jesuit about the inherent goodness or badness (I believe the terms ‘Luddite’ and ‘Borg’ were trotted out during the conversation) of smart phones, I asserted that there were plenty of Catholic-centric uses for such devices. In the great Jesuit fashion, my confrere asked me to prove it. So I began combing through Apple’s App Store in order to find the best Catholic apps I could.

From the beginning, I left a few things off of my list, most notably digital rosaries. I am not opposed to rosary apps; I have one actually, but trying to separate the sheep from the goats in this particular instance proved to be a little too bandwidth intensive. Most rosary apps had free versions so you could try them before you invest your 99 cents. My other criterion was one I alluded to above, namely, I wanted to find apps that were applicable to the non-techno person who was looking to use their device to add to their faith life. I focused exclusively on iPhone apps because of its userbase and because I don’t have access to an Android-based phone.

Here are some of the better apps:
iBreviaryPro (Free): This app, which I’ve been using for over a year, can be a life saver. Last year my campus minister, seated next to me at a student Mass, whipped her head around and turned white as a sheet. “I forgot to put the Gospel in the binder!” She whispered during the Psalm. I calmly fished under my alb, pulled out my iPhone, fired up the app and had the Gospel ready by the time I made it to the lectern. It includes the Office readings for the day and, as a bonus, all the parts of the Mass for a presider. Plus, all the readings update automatically when you turn the app on—in five different languages, no less! The only downside is that it requires a data connection. If our chapel had been a signal dead spot, I would have been sunk.

Universalis ($24.99): This is from the super-useful Universalis software house, whose goal is to “harness computer technology to help enrich the spiritual lives of Christians.” The app contains all the readings within the app itself, so it doesn’t matter if you are on top of Mount Everest (although I read recently they have 3G coverage there now), you can get your daily readings and pray the Office with out a wireless connection. Exceptionally well organized and easy to navigate, this is best of the daily reading and Office apps I reviewed. Two caveats about the app: First, the price. In a world of 99 cent apps, $25 will give some people pause, but this is clearly a case of getting what you pay for. The app replaces both a lectionary and a breviary (not to mention being much easier to carry) so the price tag shouldn’t be a sticking point, in my opinion. My second quibble is a priest-centric one: I wish the app also provided the parts of the Mass.

Divine Office ($14.99): This app has all the functions of the apps above, automatically figuring out the date and bringing up the readings for the time of day. The feature that sets it apart is that it will also download audio files of the prayers of the hours so that you can listen to a group of people praying, and pray with them. Ideal for quiet time on a train or bus or even over your car audio system during your commute. Another neat feature: by tapping on a globe icon you see a map showing where other people are using the app around the world. This gives you a real sense of praying with universal church.

iCatholicRadio & Radio Vaticana (Free & $3.99 cents respectively): These apps stream audio from Catholic radio stations. iCatholicRadio streams from Holy Family Communications, which features shows ranging from Catholic call-ins to the recordings of Bishop Fulton Sheen. The user interface needs work—it doesn’t have the buttery smoothness usually associated with Apple—but it works fine. It can also stream the audio in the background so you can listen while you navigate to another app. Radio Vaticana does the same thing, only it offers a direct line to the broadcasts of the Vatican Radio in several different languages. Good for a change of pace.

3-Three Minute Retreat (99 cents): The Irish Jesuits started a Web site several years ago that leads you through a quick reflection for your day. Loyola Press has taken this idea and applied it to the portable world. Each day it supplies you with a brief reflection set to placid music in either English or Spanish. It follows the Ignatian arc of settling down to pray, reading Scripture, reflecting and deciding act. It is a simple, straightforward app that does exactly what it says.

Mass Times (Free): For sheer useful simplicity, this app was probably the best one I reviewed. It uses your location to find the nearest parish and gives you the Mass times at those locations. You can also search for a particular church and bookmark your favorites. A sponsored banner pops up every once in a while, but that’s how they make the app free. This is a must-have for Catholics on the move who like to find a Mass wherever they go.

CatholicTV (Free): This app allows you to watch the Mass of the day along with much of the other programming of CatholicTV from Boston on your iPhone. The catch is that you need to have a WiFi signal. An excellent app for someone in an isolated place who wants to enjoy tons of quality Catholic content.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


For Blessed Chaminade, an act of faith meant not only accepting something as true with our mind but also embracing it with our feelings. This is what is called "faith of the heart." He taught that acts of faith should not only shape our thinking, but they also should affect our feelings. As Blessed Chaminade said, our faith should include "attitudes of the heart. It is faith of the heart that justifies: by believing from the heart you are made righteous. Faith of the mind alone does not sanctify."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Golden Jubilee of Vows

 Fifty years ago on this day Brother David Bruner professed solemn vows of chastity, poverty and obedience as a member of the Society of Mary.
  Brother Robert Fachet also professed vows of chastity, poverty and obedience fifty years ago today.The Marianists gathered together to celebrate their faithful commitment and consecration last evening.
The Province of Meribah rejoices together on their religious consecration and faithfulness for fifty years. May God grant them many years of devoted service to Mary and her Son.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Sunday Word

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I: Sirach 15:15-20
Reading II: 1 Corinthians 2:6-10
Gospel: Matthew 5:17-37

In Sunday's Gospel, Jesus preaches some pretty harsh-sounding warnings to us about the consequences we face should we fail to practice righteousness within every aspect of our lives. Even more graphic are the remedies Jesus prescribes as treatments for our righteousness- deficiency. We are wrong if we read Jesus' words about cutting off our right hand or plucking out our eye as just the reflection of some ancient barbaric code of justice. Jesus' directives are violently vivid metaphors that tell us that we must simply stop doing the things that harm others or ourselves before those old behaviors destroy us.

There is an old saying that suggests if you want to dig a new hole, you don't dig the same hole deeper! Yet that is the technique many of us are trying to use to turn our lives around, to get our relationships back on track. If you are losing touch with your spouse or your children because your work schedule is so busy - don't think scheduling more family busy-ness together is the answer. Don't stop smoking just to start compulsively overeating. If you turn off the TV just to get lost in trashy novels, you are still a flabby couch potato.

- If you want to be healthy, ... stop doing those things that harm you.

- If you want harmony in your life, ... stop doing those things that cause discord.

- If you want peace in the world, ... stop doing those things that lead to war.

- If you want a closer relationship with someone, ... stop doing those things and saying those things that build up walls between you.

- If you want to rekindle the romance in your life, ... stop doing those things that create animosity and boredom.

- If you want to live in a close-knit, caring community, ... stop hiding behind your front door.

- If you want a spiritual life that fills you up, ... stop pouring all your energies everywhere but toward God.

It is possible just to stop bad, destructive behavior. But it is not easy.
You can have a new relationship ... a new body ... a new attitude ... a new spirit ... a new career ... a new community ... a new world - but only by stopping the old destructive, hurtful behaviors you've doggedly recycled for so many years.

The changes we want to come about in our lives will not happen just by wishing them to be so. We must cut ourselves off from our old attitudes and throw them away.

Throw them away for good. For God.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I want to see Jesus

Pope John Paul II on Vocations

"The Lord will always call, and there will always be responses on the part of people who are ready and willing. He needs, and wants to need, your persons, your intelligence, your energy, your faith, your love, your holiness. He wants to speak to the people of today through your voice. He wants to consecrate the Eucharist and forvige sins through you. He wants to love with your heart. He wnats to help with your hands. He wants to save through your efforts. Think about it carefully. The response that you give is given personally to Christ, who is calling you to these great things."

"We turn our gaze to Mary, Mother of the Church and Star of the New Evangelization. Let us call upon her with trust, so that in the Church there will be no lack of men and women who are ready to respond generously to the invitation of the Lord, who calls to a more direct service to the Gospel."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Marianist Spirituality

Blessed Chaminade clearly wanted all Marianists to be formed by a common spirituality. This spirituality forms our outlook and attitudes, and we are profoundly marked by them. Blessed Chaminade considered a Marianist as someone formed and identified by the spirituality he taught.
Marianists were to be recognized as belonging to the same family by similar dispositions, attitudes, and virtues that result from being formed in the same spirituality.
As Marianists we are called to live the virtues of Jesus and do his works collectively.
We are called to be a collective witness to the presence of Jesus in this world and to carry out his transforming works together.
A Marianist spirituality gives us the basis for a common experience of the presence of Jesus among us, and it makes possible a collective witness to Jesus and a united effort in doing his works.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Faith, Family, that

Here are a few pictures of our dance for the elderly on Saturday evening. Itg sure looks as if all enjoyed. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Country Western in Queens?

For 22 consecutive years the Marianist high schools have been associated with the Little Sisters of the Poor. We have shared their prayer, friendship and hospitality without any limits. Each year about 90 Marianist-trained high school students host a dance for the elderly of Queen of Peace in Queens Village. While we come to give energy to the elderly, we walk away far more enriched than anyone can imagine.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Sunday Word

Sunday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Is 58:7-10
1 Cor 2: 1-5
Mt 5:13-16

In all of our Marianist schools we foster the idea of  "modeling" or "mentoring." We spend countless hours encouraging our teachers to follow their mentors when they first begin teaching. Even our students learn the valueable lessons of mentoring from an older and wiser student. But what does it mean for you and me to be model or mentor Christians? Although mentors or teachers may often appear to be elevated to "upfront" positions, genuine mentors do not try to be "stars." The role of the Christian mentor is that of a lamp, helping illumine the pathway that lies directly at his or her student's feet, offering guidance and service in indirect, even pedestrian ways.

As a child, we all loved  to sing "This little light of mine ... I'm going to let it shine ...."? The only problem with that song is that it focused exclusively on the single beam of light emitted by our small singular lights. Jesus wanted us to think corporately about the illuminating power he generates in each of us. The "city built on a hill" is not noticed because one lone light flickers in a window. It is the combined wattage of an array of lights, each burning in its own place, but for a common purpose, that sets the city ablaze in the midst of a dark and dreary night. George Bush may have said more than he realized when he touted the "thousand points of light" theme.

There are no lamps that cannot throw some light on some darkened portion of a fellow-traveler's pathway. Take confidence in the potential power of your lamp, for its light source is truly unquenchable. The psalmist in psalm 119 reminds us that the eternal flame of Scripture is always available to us for additional fuel: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." What is more, "In your light we see light." Don't make the mistake of thinking that you are somehow not "mentor-material." In Luke 6:40, Jesus reminds his disciples that while "A disciple is not above the teacher, ... everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher."

As disciples of Christ, "lights of the world," we have been "fully qualified." Instead, we need only let our lamps shine, that others may see and find the way, the truth and the life.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pope Benedict: Joy in one's vocation

The following comes from the CNA:

Faithful and joyful witness to one's own vocation “has been and remains an excellent way to awaken in young people the desire to follow the footsteps of Christ,” Pope Benedict said on Feb. 1.

The Pontiff's remarks were released in a message to the second Latin-American Continental Congress for Vocations, which is being held in Cartago, Costa Rica from Jan. 31 to Feb. 5.

The first congress was organized by the Vatican and the Latin-American Confederation of Religious 17 years ago, while the current gathering is the work of bishops responsible for the pastoral care of vocations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Pope Benedict opened his message by saying that the “great task” of evangelization requires an “ever increasing number of people to respond generously to the call of God and make a lifelong commitment to the cause of the Gospel.”

Because of this need, the Pope underscored that general pastoral care “must” include specific focus on vocations.

“Experience shows us that, where vocational pastoral care is well planned and constantly practiced, vocations are not lacking,” he said. “God is generous, and our own commitment to vocational pastoral care in all particular Churches must be equally generous.”

The Pontiff went on to say that vocations “are not the result of any human project, or of some efficient organizational strategy.” Rather, he explained, at “the deepest level, they are a gift of God.”

He added that pastoral planning regarding vocations needs to “recall the primacy of the life of the spirit.”

“The young generations must be given the chance to open their hearts to a greater reality: to Christ, the only One Who can give meaning and fullness to their lives,” he said.

“Yet at the same time, the strengthening of our spiritual life must lead us increasingly to identify ourselves with the will of God, and to offer a clearer and more transparent testimony of faith, hope and charity.”

"Faithful and joyful witness of one's own vocation has been and remains an excellent way to awaken in young people the desire to follow the footsteps of Christ,” the Pope stressed. “This must be accompanied by the courage to propose to them, with delicacy and respect, the possibility that God may be calling them too.”

He noted that often “the divine vocation opens its way through human words, or thanks to an environment in which people experience a living faith.”
“The world needs God,” he concluded, “and for this reason it will always need people who live for Him and announce Him to others.”

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade was convinced that communities, similar to those of the early Church, could attract people to the Christian message:

“The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common” (Acts 4:32).

He favored the Pauline image of the Church as the “mystical Body of Christ,” an ecclesiology unusual in the 19th century. He spoke of the real union between the members of the Church, based on the sharing of the life of Christ. The Church is “a union by which all the living members of the Church share whatever they have and by which the riches, strength, and health of one become by charity the (supernatural) riches, strength, and health of another . . . a union which makes the living members of the Church not only members of Jesus Christ, but in a very true sense, Jesus Christ Himself.” The union among members was based also on the reality of Mary’s maternity: she was mother of Christ and of the members of Christ’s mystical body. “Mary has really conceived the true body of Our Savior by the Holy Ghost; she has also conceived His Mystical Body, which is the society of the saints and of all the faithful.”

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

World Day for Consecrated Life honors our men and women religious

The faith, commitment and dedicated ministries of those who have consecrated their life to God and the service of his Church will be acknowledged nationally today on World Day for Consecrated Life, February 2. Established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the annual celebration pays tribute and prayerful support to priests, sisters, Brothers, consecrated virgins, hermits, and members of secular institutes and societies of apostolic life. The entire Catholic community is encouraged to join with the Marianists this evening as we continue our series on the life and mission of Blessed Chaminade. Tonight's presentation will take place at 7:30 p.m. at St. Martin de Porres Marianist School, St. Martha's Church.

Originally, the feast was celebrated on February 14, the 40th day after Epiphany (January 6), because Christmas wasn't yet celebrated as its own feast, and so the Nativity, Epiphany, the Baptism of the Lord (Theophany), and the feast celebrating Christ's first miracle at the wedding in Cana were all celebrated on the same day. By the last quarter of the fourth century, however, the Church at Rome had begun to celebrate the Nativity on December 25, so the Feast of the Presentation was moved to February 2, 40 days later.

When Christ was presented in the temple, "there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel." When St. Mary and St. Joseph brought Christ to the temple, Simeon embraced the Child and prayed the Canticle of Simeon.

Because of the words of the canticle ("a light to the revelation of the Gentiles"), by the 11th century, the custom had developed in the West of blessing candles on the Feast of the Presentation. The candles were then lit, and a procession took place through the darkened church while the Canticle of Simeon was sung. Because of this, the feast also became known as Candlemas. While the procession and blessing of the candles is not often performed in the United States today, Candlemas is still an important feast in many European countries.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Marianist spirituality

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade spent part of the French Revolution in exile in Saragossa, Spain, where he spent many hours in contemplation and prayer at the shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar. Guided by God’s spirit, he envisioned innovative missionary strategies that the signs of the time were urgently demanding.

Upon his return to Bordeaux, France, Blessed Chaminade’s sense of urgency led him to form a diversity of apostolic communities inspired by Mary: first, lay communities, then two religious congregations—the Daughters of Mary Immaculate and the Society of Mary—and finally, schools, teacher formation and other educational institutions. This work took many years. It was guided by and at the same time helped to shape a deepening, distinctively Marianist spirituality. All subsequent Marianist educational work has been inspired by this spirituality with its three characteristic dimensions: a spirit of Marian faith, the building of communities of faith, and a deep sense of mission.