Saturday, December 31, 2011

You Don't Know Jack! about New Year's

Fr. Jack from Busted Halo takes on tourists in Times Square to ask people what New Year’s resolutions are going to be this year, what feast the Catholic Church celebrates on January 1, and if anyone knows about the biggest resolution ever made in all of human history.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Marianist vocations

Marianist Community Growth

During World Youth Day this summer
we were greeted by Blessed Chaminade
when we arrived at Saragossa
Our communities provide
a climate of continuing growth
which fosters fidelity
to the Spirit of the Lord,
develops the gifts God has given each one,
and strengthens the entire body.

To grow in our Marianist vocation,
each of us must be open to the Spirit.
Among the means by which the Spirit guides us
are the Word of God,
the teaching of the Church, our Rule of Life,
the guidance of superiors, spiritual direction,
the suggestions of our fellow Brothers,
and the reflection of the community.

When each member is faithful to the Spirit,
the community as a whole grows
into the full stature of Christ;
each shares his gift in building up the Body of Christ.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Origin of the Flood

January 5th offers us a great opportunity to watch a National Geographic special which guesses as to the origin of flood in Old Testament Noah's times.

There are some scholars that point to texts written thousands of years before the Bible that describe a flood and say that the Bible story comes from those stories.

Archaeologist Jeff Rose says these pre-biblical stories have some merit because the destructive forces of water in a once tropical region, considered by some to have been the Garden of Eden, might have inspired the biblical story of Noah’s Ark and the great flood.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A culture of vocations

Marianist Father Thomas and Brother Michael
Marianist Brother Ryszard and Brother Stephen

As part of the celebration of National Vocation Awareness Week, January 9-14, 2012, The Catholic Answer magazine interviewed Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York on how to build a “culture of vocations.”

Before becoming the Archbishop of New York and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Dolan served as rector of the North American College, the seminary for Americans in Rome, from 1994 to 2001.

The entire inteview is important reading, but here are Archbishop Dolan’s insights as to what a “culture of vocations” looks like:

“What I mean by a culture of vocations is that when our young people grow up in a culture that encourages you to do God’s will and that affirms one in his desire to be a priest, you are going to get priests. I grew up in such a culture. I said to my teachers in grade school, ‘I think I want to be a priest,’ and they beamed and did everything possible to encourage me. My parish priest would. My folks would. My neighbors would. The parish would. I can remember as a kid–I must have been 9 or 10 years old–getting a haircut, and the barber said, ‘Hey shrimp, what do you want to be when you grow up?’ I said, ‘I want to be a priest.’ And he wasn’t even a Catholic, but he said, ‘Hey, isn’t that great?’

“Now that is the culture of vocations that we need in the Church.”

Monday, December 26, 2011

Come to save us!

Christ is born for us! Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to the men and women whom he loves. May all people hear an echo of the message of Bethlehem which the Catholic Church repeats in every continent, beyond the confines of every nation, language and culture. The Son of the Virgin Mary is born for everyone; he is the Saviour of all.

This is the meaning of the Child’s name, the name which, by God’s will, Mary and Joseph gave him: he is named Jesus, which means "Saviour" (cf. Mt 1:21; Lk 1:31). He was sent by God the Father to save us above all from the evil deeply rooted in man and in history: the evil of separation from God, the prideful presumption of being self-sufficient, of trying to compete with God and to take his place, to decide what is good and evil, to be the master of life and death (cf. Gen 3:1-7). This is the great evil, the great sin, from which we human beings cannot save ourselves unless we rely on God’s help, unless we cry out to him: "Veni ad salvandum nos! – Come to save us!

Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us turn our gaze anew to the grotto of Bethlehem. The Child whom we contemplate is our salvation! He has brought to the world a universal message of reconciliation and peace. Let us open our hearts to him; let us receive him into our lives. Once more let us say to him, with joy and confidence: "Veni ad salvandum nos!"


Friday, December 23, 2011

Advent: Mary's Prayer

Here's a video reflection that uses a reading by writer Max Lucado of "Mary's Prayer." It's a great new poem I have not heard before. There are video clips taken from "The Passion of The Christ."

Advent: a time of expectation

"This was her son, but now He was outside of Her: He had a separate heart: He looked at the world with the blind blue eyes of a baby, but they were His own eyes.

The description of His birth in the Gospel does not say that she held Him in her arms but that she "wrapped Him up in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger."

As if her first act was to lay Him on the Cross.

She knew that this little son of hers was God's Son and that God had not given Him to her for herself alone but for the whole world.

This is one of the greatest of all the things that we must learn from our contemplation of Our Lady.

Few mothers realize that their children are part of a whole and that the whole is the family of God, to whom every child born owes all the love and service of a brother or sister.
Many mothers try to shield their children from the common life, to give them a sheltered upbringing, so to shield them from all risk of sickness or pain or poverty that they are shielded from vitality and the vast experience of living. They hate to see them grow or experience anything that will make them independent.
Caryll Houselander

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Advent: Let Christ grow in us

“During those days, Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste in a town of Judah where she entered the house of Zachary and greeted Elizabeth.”

English author Caryll Houselander, in her book “The Reed of God”, reflects and sees the young Mary’s great love for her aging cousin, Elizabeth. Houselander writes: “Many women, if they were expecting a child, would refuse to hurry over the hills on a visit of pure kindness… The Mother of God considered no such thing. Elizabeth was going to have a child too, and although Mary’s own child was God, she could not forget Elizabeth’s need – almost incredible to us, but characteristic of her.

“She greeted her cousin Elizabeth and at the sound of her voice, John quickened in his mother’s womb and leapt for joy.

“I am come,” Christ said, “that they may have life and may have it more abundantly.” Even before He was born, his presence gave life.

Caryll Houselander goes on to ask herself how Elizabeth knew what had happened to Mary. She surmises that “She knew it by the child within herself, by the quickening into life which was a leap of joy.”

She tell us that if Christ is growing in us… if we go with eager wills “in haste” to wherever our circumstances compel us because we believe that He desires to be in that place, we shall find that we are driven more and more to act on the impulse of His love. And the answer we shall get from others to those impulses will be an awakening into life, or the leap into joy of the already wakened life with them.

And so we ask ourselves as we approach Christmas; are we especially aware of the Christ growing within us? Do we go with eager haste to where circumstances call us, believing that Christ wants to be there through our presence?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Advent: Christ dependent on Mary

By his own will Christ was dependent on Mary during Advent: he was absolutely helpless; he could go nowhere but where she chose to take him; he could not speak; her breathing was his breath; his heart beat in the beating of her heart. In the seasons of our Advent – waking, working, eating, sleeping, being – each breath is a breathing of Christ into the world.
The Reed of God
Caryll Houselander

The story of Christ's birth has been passed down from generation to generation. As time has passed, in efforts to relay the story to others, man has perhaps taken some creative license with the events of the Nativity. Though we are unsure of many elements surrounding Jesus' birth, we do know this: Two thousand years ago, a Savior was born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Advent: God seeking us

If you have never read The Reed of God, by British mystic, artist, and philospher, Caryll Houselander, you  have missed one of the most profoundly moving spiritual meditations I’ve ever read. I picked up the book this Advent and it has significantly helped me through the season.

The book is broken into four sections that emphasize the humanity of Jesus’ mother, Mary, through four of the major mysteries of her life: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Birth of Jesus, and the Finding of the Child, Jesus in the Temple. In these meditations are woven poetic tributes to both the human body and soul, and the beautiful significance of the environment, nature, and art. There is also much reflection on the benefits of silence, simplicity, and patience, especially with ourselves and God through all the seasons of mood, enlightenment, and life, itself.

Most important is Houselander’s contemplation on human restlessness and unease. She attributes this to the God in us seeking its source, and emphasizes all the idols we build to fill the emptiness when there is but one way to fill it and complete ourselves.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Marianist Monday

The chorus led us in Evening Prayer during the service.
The Marianist Family gathered at Chaminade High School last evening for the Keep Christ in Christmas Vigil at the Creche. This prayer vigil was in celebration of the 250th Anniversary since the birth of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade.

Shared in the evening's prayer were these words of Blessed Chaminade:

Marianist Father Garrett Long presided at the Candlelight Vigil. 
St. Luke tells us that "When time came for her to have her child, she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and she laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." No sooner had the wonderful and most pure Mary savored the joy of holding in her arms the lovable and divine infant which she had just miraculously brought into the world; no sooner had she offered him to the Eternal Father, no sooner had the heavenly angels and glorious St. Joseph paid him the homage of their adoration than the Blessed Mother, prompted by the most high counsels of eternal wisdom, laid him in  manger,

"And she laid him in a manger."

Blessed Mary knew that Jesus Christ was coming as the spouse of souls, the king of love, the priest of the new alliance, and the teacher of the Church. Our Lady knew that the crib would be simultaneously the nuptial bed, the throne of grave and mercy, the altar of sacrifice, and the chair of truth.

"And she laid him in a manger."

Mary knew that no one would have a share of these chaste and divine espousals, of the graces of this king, of the offering of his sacrifice or the fruit of his wisdom unless her Son Jesus Christ lay in the manger. In her pure heart, the Blessed Virgin knew that only those who imitated the spirit in which Christ accepted the manger would be worthy of the promises of her newborn on. 

"And she laid him in a manger."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

God's love

As we celebrate the fourth Sunday of Advent, we're fully aware of where God's love is leading us. The love might begin in the manger, but it inevitably will lead to the noonday sun reflecting on the Cross. God knows this, of course, but does not shy away from the pain that is coming. God's extravagant love is demonstrated in God's willingness to give sacrificially. God bestows the most precious gift, God's Son, knowing that this offering will not be appreciated, honored, or at times, even recognized.

The price is great, almost beyond measure. The gift of Christmas is that God looks at the cost without blinking. God is willing to give Jesus the beloved on behalf of this fickle, unappreciative world. This is what God would do for love: God will offer that which is most precious.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mary: Ark of the New Covenant

In tomorrow's first reading, King David laments that he lives in a palace while the Lord lives in a tent. Our first reading may seem unusual until you take a look at the selection of Saint Luke for the day. In this selection we have the story of the Annunciation. The angel Gabriel gives Mary the message that she will bear the Christ child in her womb.

While a tent housed the Ark in David's time, Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant: Christ tenting among his people by finding his first home in Mary's womb.

And set below is a video of John Collier speaking about his painting, The Annunciation.

John Collier's "Annunciation" from Carol Reynolds on Vimeo.

Friday, December 16, 2011 you know it?

Advent is now in full swing and Busted Halo's longtime friend Fr. Jack Collins, CSP, hit the streets (and the local ice skating rink) to ask people what they know about the anticipatory season of waiting and preparation… Advent.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Word on the Word

 Fourth Sunday in Advent

This Sunday we ordinarily celebrate Mary.  Mary was "ordinarily sacred."

Who was more ordinary than Mary, a simple, unassuming peasant woman from nowhere-Nazareth? But it is her very ordinariness that provides such a perfect fit for the extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit in her life. It was in her quiet, unremarkable, day-to-day life that Mary "found favor with God."

This is the true miracle of Christmas. Jesus was not some glow- in-the-dark Christ-Child. Jesus, the very God incarnate, was a real, live, ordinary, crying, cooing, sleeping, eating, wetting, pooping baby. And just as with all babies, his greatest need was to be held in human arms, touched by human hands, soothed by human words of love and reassurance.

At Christmas we are all called to birth and cradle Christ in our own lives -- to wrap our arms around our faith. When we birth and cradle Christ in our own ordinary lives by faith, we find our arms wrapping around others who need Christ birthed and cradled in their lives.

Emmanuel means "God with us." But more than that, Emmanuel means God does not keep us at arm's distance. God is with us with open arms and with hands on us.

If Christ is born in us this Christmas, we too will reach with open arms to those in need; we too will have a hands-on relationship with life and love.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dark night of the Soul

December 14
Saint John of the Cross

Christian minister and author Frederick Buechner quotes the late John Updike to explain what is more commonly known as "the dark night of the soul" by Catholics. As Buechner said, “Perhaps God saves his deepest silence for his saints.”

Blessed Mother Teresa’s decades-long "dark night of the soul" was revealed after her death in Come Be My Light. Her bouts with doubt and the distance she felt from God surprised many who considered her the epitome of perfect Christian service and joy. Perhaps God already considered her a saint when he canonized her with his deepest silence during her life.

The greatest saints have battled God’s deepest silence. Even the saint we celebrate today, St. John of the Cross gave it an apt name. It should not surprise faithful Catholics when they find themselves enmeshed in God’s silence, when deep faith and deep prayer yield only deep silence.

Dante expressed the lowest point of Hell as literally the furthest distance from God, where Satan lies encased in ice at the center of nothingness. There are Hells on Earth that we pass before we reach God’s place for us in eternity. When prayer only echoes in the silence without a response, we face our darkest nights. The only comfort we have then is that at least God is listening to the prayers of others who might keep us in their intentions as we experience the darkness.

There’s comfort in knowing that some of His greatest saints had souls that also knew dark nights. In that, we are not alone.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Marianist Monday

December 12 is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The Story of Guadalupe
The feast in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe goes back to the sixteenth century. Chronicles of that period tell us the story: A poor Indian named Cuauhtlatohuac was baptized and given the name Juan Diego. He was a 57-year-old widower and lived in a small village near Mexico City.

On Saturday morning, December 9, 1531, he was on his way to a nearby barrio to attend Mass in honor of Our Lady. He was walking by a hill called Tepeyac when he heard beautiful music like the warbling of birds. A radiant cloud appeared and within it a young Native American maiden dressed like an Aztec princess. The lady spoke to him in his own language and sent him to the bishop of Mexico, a Franciscan named Juan de Zumarraga. The bishop was to build a chapel in the place where the lady appeared. Eventually the bishop told Juan Diego to have the lady give him a sign.

About this same time Juan Diego’s uncle became seriously ill. This led poor Diego to try to avoid the lady. The lady found Diego, nevertheless, assured him that his uncle would recover and provided roses for Juan to carry to the bishop in his cape or tilma. When Juan Diego opened his tilma in the bishop’s presence, the roses fell to the ground and the bishop sank to his knees. On Juan Diego’s tilmaappeared an image of Mary as she had appeared at the hill ofTepeyac. It was December 12, 1531.

Mary's appearance to Juan Diego as one of his people is a powerful reminder that Mary and the God who sent her accept all peoples. In the context of the sometimes rude and cruel treatment of the Indians by the Spaniards, the apparition was a rebuke to the Spaniards and an event of vast significance for Native Americans. While a number of them had converted before this incident, they now came in droves.

According to a contemporary chronicler, nine million Indians became Catholic in a very short time. In these days when we hear so much about God's preferential option for the poor, Our Lady of Guadalupe cries out to us that God's love for and identification with the poor is an age-old truth that stems from the Gospel itself.

-From American Catholic

Understanding the lesson of Gaudalupe
"Where are you going?" asks Mary of Juan Diego. He is stopped in his tracks. He leaves his "important" plans and becomes her messenger:Build a church where the cries of the poor and the oppressed will be heard. The bishop hears these gospel-laden words with shock and disbelief. Signs, tangible signs, to know if this is true: that is his demand.

But the words that the Indian brings are the answer. The church must turn its institutional attention from its own needs to listen to the solitary voice of one poor man. It is a voice caught up in cultural traditions, old Indian ways, unpurified beliefs. Juan Diego's nervous intensity comes not from self-interest but from the faith that this voice and prayer have been heard by God. The words he speaks are the answer to his prayers.

What Mary has asked of the bishop is not meant to cause a division among the servants of the Lord. It is not a condemnation of strategies or theologies. Rather, it is a word of direction to move from the status quo operations of the day and to build up a place where the prayers, the cries, the heartbreak of the people can be heard. The place becomes symbolic of the fact that a mestizo church emerges from these birth sufferings of a conquered people. The temple is symbolic of the age-old, faithful word of God: to be with the people.

Guadalupe's significance is both word and symbol. She provides the answers to the prayers of her faithful people: "God is with you!" Her very appearance, as one of the poor, aligns her with them. Guadalupe's proclamation can be seen as God's option for the poor.

"Where are you going?" echoes in the life of God's people to this present day.

- Arturo Perez

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gaudete Sunday = Change

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the LORD
and a day of vindication by our God.

I rejoice heartily in the LORD,
in my God is the joy of my soul;
for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation
and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,
like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,
like a bride bedecked with her jewels.
As the earth brings forth its plants,
and a garden makes its growth spring up,
so will the Lord GOD make justice and praise
spring up before all the nations.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Sunday Word

John the Baptist
Third Sunday of Advent

Is 61:1-2a, 10-11
Thes 5:16-24
Jn 1:6-8, 19-28

The Gospel writer opens with a remarkable, almost mystical hymn-like prologue. But sandwiched between these lyrical texts about light and creation, are the intrusive, almost awkward verses about John the Baptist. It seems the moment Jesus is first mentioned, the Gospel writer feels constrained to discuss John the Baptist as well. While the Baptist is positively defined as being "from God," the writer's most forceful sentence here is a declaration about who John the Baptist is not. John is "not the light."  The light was still "coming into the world."

In John's gospel, however, recurring references to the Baptist suggest that Jesus and John preached and baptized concurrently for some time. But in all he does and in all he says, the Baptist always witnesses to Jesus and his messianic identity.

John the Baptist refrains from voicing the messianic title at this point. But he clearly alludes to the greatness of this one who is yet to come. John equates his own status before this one to come as that of a slave--even less than a slave. It is one of the slave's duties to untie his master's sandals. But John the Baptist modestly denies that he is fit even to perform this duty.

Friday, December 9, 2011

An Advent Saint

Scupture by Timothy Schmaltz

Usually, for a beatification there must be a miracle which has been deliberately studied and approved by the Congregation for Causes and Saints accepted by the Holy Father. In the case of Saint Juan Diego, John Paul II decided to beatify him without the approved miracle. He had been declared Venerable in 1987.

There was a miracle for his canonization and here it is:

Juan Jose Barragan Silva, of Mexico City, was a drug addict from his adolescence. He and his mother had been abandoned by his father.

On May 3, 990 Juan Jose, after getting drunk and high on marijuana with a friend, went home and started to cut himself on the head with a knife. His mother, Esperanza, tried to get the knife away but failed. She implored him to stop abusing himself and give up the alcohol and marijuana. He shouted that he didn’t want to live any more so loudly that the neighbors came to see what was going on, but the door was locked. Juan Jose threw himself off the balcony of their second floor apartment.

In that moment, Esperanza had a “flash”. Knowing that Pope John Paul was to be in Mexico for the beatification of Juan Diego, she called on Juan Diego to intercede for her son.

Sculpture by Timothy Schmaltz
Juan Jose fell about 10 meters and landed close to a friend of his, Jesus Alfredo Velasquez Ramirez, who saw him land on his head on the concrete pavement. Juan Jose was bleeding profusely from the mouth, nose and ears. They covered him, thinking he was dead. He suddenly sat up, rose and went to the stairs leading to his apartment. On meeting his mother coming down the stairs he asked his mother’s forgiveness. They embraced and remained that way for another ten minutes or so before the ambulance came.

During the ambulance ride Juan Jose said he had lost his vision. On the way to the hospital he prayed the Our Father.

The prognosis was very pessimistic. The doctor explained that it was already unbelievable that he was alive. They did tests immediately and found that he had multiple fractures, large hemotomas to the neck, lacerations of the muscles and air in cranial cavity and in the cerebral ventricals. The Sacrament of the Sick was administed under the impression that he would soon be dead.

He continued to live.

The first days he was sedated. On the May 5th, doctors found that his pupils were symmetrical and reactive and that he could move his arms and legs. The next day he was released from the ICU to a regular ward. On the seventh day his feeding tube was removed. He was released on the tenth day after the fall. Subsequent tests by neurologists and other specialists showed a total recovery. Juan Jose also gave up his drug habit and started school.

It seems that his change of condition came on May 6th, at the very time John Paul II was beatifying Juan Diego.

The decree concerning this miracle was promulgated on December 20, 2001. Holy Father Pope John Paul II canonized St. Juan Diego on July 31, 2002.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Mary's parents were Joachim and Anna. 

Often confused with the Birth of Jesus, the "Immaculate Conception" is how Mary was conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, through sexual intercourse with Joachim BUT Mary was born without Original Sin, unlike the rest of us.

This is a brief reflection on it by Richard Rohr.
As Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters, he will always love one and ignore the other” (Matthew 6:24). Our first and final loyalty is to one kingdom: God’s, or our own. We can’t really fake it. The Big Picture is apparent when God’s work and will are central, and we are happy to take our place in the corner of the frame.
Because I am a part of the Big Picture, I do matter and substantially so. Because I am onlya part, however, I am rightly situated off to stage right—and happily so. What freedom there is in such truth! We are inherently important and included, yet not burdened with manufacturing or sustaining that private importance. Our dignity is given by God, and we are freed from ourselves!
Today’s often misunderstood feast of the Immaculate Conception is saying that even Mary’s dignity was totally given by God from the first moment of her conception, and all she could do was thank God for it. It was nothing she merited. In that she is a metaphor and archetype for every human life.

Adapted from Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Advent hands

Advent Hands
Catherine Alder

I see the hands of Joseph.
Back and forth along bare wood they move.
There is worry in those working hands,
sorting out confusing thoughts with every stroke.
“How can this be, my beautiful Mary now with child

Rough with deep splinters, these hands,
small, painful splinters like tiny crosses
embedded deeply in this choice to stay with her.
He could have closed his hands to her,
said, “No” and let her go to stoning.

But, dear Joseph opened both his heart and hands
to this mother and her child.
Preparing in these days before
with working hands
and wood pressed tight between them.

It is these rough hands that will open
and be the first to hold the Child.

I see the hands of John,
worn from desert raging storms
and plucking locusts from sand ripped rocks
beneath the remnant of a Bethlehem star.

A howling wind like some lost wolf cries out beneath the moon,
or was that John?
This loneliness,
enough to make a grown man mad.
He’s waiting for this, God’s whisper.
“Go now. He is coming.
You have prepared your hands enough. Go. He needs your servant hands,
your cupping hands to lift the water,
and place his feet upon the path to service and to death.
Go now, John, and open your hands to him.

It is time.”
I see a fist held tight and fingers blanched to white.
Prying is no easy task.
These fingers find a way of pulling back to old positions,
protecting all that was and is.
Blanched to white. No openness. All fright.
But then the Spirit comes.
A holy Christmas dance begins
and blows between the twisted paths.

This fist opens
the twisted fingers letting go.
Their rock-solid place in line has eased.
And one by one the fingers lift
True color is returned

And through the deepest of mysteries,
The holiest of holies,
O longing of longings
Beyond all human imagining this fist,
as if awakened from Lazarus’ cold stone dream
reaches out to hold the tiny newborn hand of God. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent Waiting

Waiting. It certainly is not an attractive word. It seems boring. What if... you were waiting for something that would change your life? How would you get ready for it? Would you make yourself busy, filling your life with noise and distraction? Rushing to get gratification. Would you spend all your time doing everything... but slowing down? NO?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Marianist Monday

The seal of the Society of Mary

Marianist Religious Poverty 

Trusting in God alone, we respond
to the call of Jesus
to leave everything and follow him.

The life of poverty frees us
so that Christ can take full possession
of our lives, and through us
reach out to others.

Thus we hope to bear witness
to dependence on the Lord,
the primacy of his kingdom,
Province of Meribah visits Blessed Chaminade's gravesite

and the redemptive character of gospel poverty.

By the vow of poverty,
we submit the use and disposition
of our material goods
to the discernment of superiors.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blessed be God!

For over 25 years the Marianist high schools have gathered together to collect donations for the Little Sisters of the Poor and their elderly in Queen of Peace Residence located in Queens Village. During the Thanksgiving season our students and their families contribute much needed toiletries for the Little Sisters and the elderly poor.

This past year was no exception for generosity from our Marianist families. Lotion, Dove Soap, Body Wash, Clorox or Lysol wipes, Baby wipes, Purell/hand sanitizer, Tooth Paste, and Shampoo were among the thousands of contributions.

At the Thanksgiving Mass in both high schools current students and alumni were present while the Littles Sisters and the elderly gave their simple, "thank you" for our care and contributions.

We are very thankful for the opportunity to share in the mission of their foundress, Saint Jeanne Jugan. Since the first day when she brought an aged poor into her life Saint Jeanne Jugan exclaimed to all these moments of gratefulness with, "Blessed be God!"

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The One Who Cries in the Wilderness

The One Who Cries in the Wilderness

Woe to an age when the voices of those who cry in the wilderness have fallen silent, outshouted by the noise of the day or outlawed or swallowed up in the intoxication of progress, or growing smothered and fainter for fear and cowardice. The devastation will soon be so terrifying and universal that the word "wilderness" will again strike our hearts and minds. I think we know that.

But still there are no crying voices to raise their plaint and accusation. Not for an hour can life dispense with these John-the-Baptist characters, these original individuals, struck by the lightning of mission and vocation. Their heart goes before them, and that is why their eye is so clear-sighted, their judgment so incorruptible. They do not cry for the sake of crying or for the sake of the voice. Or because they begrudge earth's pleasant hours, exiled as they themselves are from the small warm companionships of the foreground. Theirs is the great comfort known only to those who have paced out the inmost and furthermost boundaries of existence.

They cry for blessing and salvation. They summon us to our last chance, while already they feel the ground quaking and the rafters creaking and see the firmest of mountains tottering inwardly and see the very stars in heaven hanging in peril. They summon us to the opportunity of warding off, by the greater power of a converted heart, the shifting desert that will pounce upon us and bury us.
O Lord, today we know once more, and in quite practical terms, what it means to clear away the rubble and make paths smooth again. We will have to know it and do it for years to come. Let the crying voices ring out, pointing out the wilderness and overcoming the devastation from within. May the Advent figure of John, the relentless envoy and prophet in God's name, be no stranger in our wilderness of ruins. For how shall we hear unless someone cries out above the tumult and destruction and delusion?
- Alfred Delp

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Word on the Word

Second Sunday of Advent

John the Baptist 's information was anything but shtick. In the desert, far from the spotlight, John was bringing the Good News that was immediately applicable to and actionable by the people: a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins' in preparation for the real Newsmaker who would be coming up next, the one who John said was more powerful than I ... I am not worthy to stoop down and untie his sandals.
Real news.

John the Baptist was calling for nothing less than a complete change of heart for the whole community. Massive cultural and spiritual change was on the horizon the rough terrain of sin and disobedience was about to be leveled in anticipation of the coming Messiah. This was breaking news of the highest priority not a source of jocularity, but of real and lasting joy.

Advent is a time when we once again share the Good News of the Messiah's coming news that's often buried in the massive crush of holiday hullabaloo. The real focus for us needs to be on the action items of the kingdom, calling people once again to respond to the good news of Jesus Christ instead of just chuckling at another round of Santa jokes.

Advent is a chance to smile at some good news for a change.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Novena Prayer

Yesterday I received an email from a Marianist-school graduate who recommended for our blog a prayer.

The novena prayer would start on the feast of Saint Andrew which we celebrated yesterday. His father would say the prayer daily which he now says in honor of his father.

Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.