Saturday, March 31, 2012

Palm Sunday: Love at work

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on that donkey, he did just that. The little beast bearing the travel-stained, wandering teacher into the city illustrated Jesus' humble obedience. This was no sign of power; it was a sign of love at work. But even as Jesus humbly bowed to the form his messiahship must take, he knew this was a triumphal entry. This was divine love in action and the power which would break the cycle of sin and death.

And when we bow our bodies before God in prayer, we are emptied of any illusions about our power and our importance. A kneeling spirit is no longer full of itself. It is emptied out and opened up for the filling of God's spirit. Only from a kneeling position are we able to receive into our lives the power of God's redeeming love.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Palm Sunday: Celebrity Christ

Palm Sunday takes a Celebrity Christ and gives him the celebrity treatment as he enters Jerusalem. All the expected elements are in place: He makes a royal entrance, in a procession similar to powerful kings and conquering generals. He is escorted by the citizens of Jerusalem and the whole multitude of his disciples. They wave these palm branches, praise him for his deeds of power, and sing hymns of acclamation, crying out, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven." He rides on a colt just as King Solomon did before his coronation, although Jesus' choice of a donkey could also mean that he is a bringer of peace. If Jesus wanted to fight, he would have charged in on a stallion or a war horse.

So Jesus is a superstar, complete with glitter, glamour and gossip. He's got the glitter of a royal entrance, the glamour of waving palm branches and even the gossip associated with his disciples and the borrowed colt. There is a lot of buzz about this celebrity superstar as he enters the Holy City to pick up his prize.

But here is the twist: His prize is a cross and he knew it. 

Like modern celebrities, Jesus is not only idolized, he is also picked apart. He is feelin' the love on Sunday; feelin' the disappointment on Monday and the rage on Friday. The machinery that kills him on Friday begins to operate on Sunday. And the disciples sing praises, the Pharisees begin to shout. .

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Palm Sunday: the donkey

The donkey is a humble beast, right?


In the Hebrew Scriptures, it is kings who ride on donkeys.

That may sound strange — especially in light of countless Palm Sunday sermons we’ve heard. Yet, in 1 Kings 1:32-34, an elderly King David summons the religious leaders, commanding them to make arrangements for Solomon’s coronation. He instructs them to “have my son Solomon ride on my own mule.”

A royal mule? What’s that all about?

David was a hill-country chieftain, and Solomon a hill-country chieftain’s son. Although, years before, this scrappy warrior had become king of all Israel, he never forgot where he came from.

King David’s royal mount was not a horse. A horse is for those who dwell on the plains, who traverse highways broad and straight. A king like David, who got his start leading bands of raiders from cave to cave along rocky trails, preferred a sure-footed mule.

This is why, in later times, those who foretold the coming of a new king, a Messiah, to assume the throne of David, always had that monarch riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.

The Roman overlords might have been amused by this somewhat comical sight — but Jewish zealots who knew their history would not have missed the symbolism.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lent: Answer God's call

It is in this beautiful story of Katie Davis that we see truly see one who "feeds the hungry, clothes the naked and visits the sick and imprisoned."

Katie Davis has found her calling from God. Stories like these inspire us to do something, to do something for those in our world who need help. Particularly those who are right in front of us.

God cals each one of us in a unique way to respond and do good.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lent: Prepare for His arrival

The last week of Lent is a great time to assess our preparation for the King's arrival on Palm Sunday, not only in our individual hearts.

If our King comes to us so gently and humbly, how might we prepare for his return by following his example? Would we be prepared? With what stories would you regale him? With what songs and shouts would you praise him? What would you be proud to show him (or ashamed to show him)? Would you recognize him for who he is or, like the religious leaders, would you mistake him for someone else because his humility doesn't fit the paradigm of a leader?

How would you roll out the red carpet for the King?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Marianist Monday

Father Manuel Cortés, SM, superior general of the Society of Mary, shared his reflections on Marianist spirituality from one of his latest circulars, “The Marianist Spirit, a Response to the Educational Challenges of Our Time.” Father Cortés noted it is impossible to understand Marianist spirituality without grasping the role of Mary in the life of Marianist founder, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade.

The special sensibility of Father Chaminade that shaped Marianist spirituality was two-fold. First, Father Cortés related, was the role in salvation history of Mary, the “woman of faith” God looked for in humanity in order to generate the redeemer within humanity. Father Chaminade could see that once again the world needed Mary and that in a way we must become like her to further her mission in the world. “We Marianists make an alliance with Mary to assist her in her mission,” said Father Cortés.

In the Annunciation, we see a God who does not punish or impose himself, but sends the angel who lovingly tells Mary to rejoice. (“Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.”) God offered himself to humanity through the person of Mary, thus correcting the double error of Adam and Eve. Mary perceived the true face of God and saw herself as she truly was, through God’s loving gesture.

“Inspired by contemplating the Annunciation,” said Father Cortés, “the Marianist educator understands that his task is something divine.” He sees himself reflected in the angel and, like the angel, feels sent by God to help his students discover their dignity and vocation. To do this, he takes care that their first interaction is the same as the angel’s with Mary. “Marianist education,” he added, “flows from the heart and is based on respect and love.”
Father Chaminade cites in the Marianist Constitutions that no teaching method or exercise of piety can inspire religion in children. Only when the teacher’s heart is full of God and in sympathy through charity with the hearts of his pupils can this occur. He also warned not to reject as bad that which is not absolutely good, stating, “We do not all receive the same measure of grace nor the same destiny. It suffices for everyone to be such as God wills him to be.”
Another characteristic of Marianist education is that it is developed in and for dialogue. The Marianist educator not only respects individuals, but loves them and interacts with them, which requires dialogue rather than verbal debate or imposition of will. “In education,” pointed out Father Cortés, “we do not make dialogue our method because we are confused or disoriented and do not know where to find truth; as believers and educators, the truth guides us.” He noted that Marianists do not “own” the truth or the way it is communicated, since the truth is free and “can only be communicated in freedom to the free will of the person who receives it.”
The second great principle of Marianist spirituality is the key role of faith in the development and in the mission of the human person. It was Mary’s genuine faith, “an openness to the OTHER,” that enabled God to work through her. Faith, Father Cortés explained, is the relationship to which we give ourselves when we believe in someone or something. We are the fruits of the relationships we live, and while some relationships may be oppressive, liberating relationships bring out the best of human possibilities. “These are relationships based on mutual love,” he said, “mutual surrender that always seeks the good for the other.”
One of the most important purposes of Marianist education is to educate for faith formation, he related. This also requires educating in and for personal relationship, educating in the family spirit, offering a sound theological formation and promoting Christian integrity as well as emphasizing personal relationship with God and a commitment in service to others, echoing the Marianist mission to educate to service, justice and peace.

A return to Mary in the Annunciation-Incarnation is urgent in our day and age, as is promoting true Christian communities as areas where the love of God is evident, celebrated and served and in which all see themselves as brothers and sisters, children of God the Father.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Common Table

In his address to the Sixth World Meeting of Families Pope Benedict XVI stated,

“The family is an indispensable base for society and for peoples, as well as an irreplaceable good for children, worthy of coming into life as a fruit of love of the parents’ total and generous surrender. The family occupies a primary place in the education of the person.”
With this exhortation about the sanctity of the family, both of our high schools hosted Communion Breakfasts during the Lenten season.

The Communion Breakfast is one of our finest traditions. It is one of the few times during the course of the school year that parents, students, and teachers can gather as a school community and share in faith and friendship. It is precisely this common faith that unites us in “one heart and one mind.”

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Sunday Word

Fifth Sunday of Lent

It's hard to believe that the Fifth Sunday of Lent is tomorrow! And then, come Palm Sunday and Holy Week!

The scriptures for the Fifth Sunday of Lent gives us a beautiful image of the Lord writing upon our hearts.

And the passage from Hebrews hints at the suffering of Christ which will command our attention on Passion Sunday and in Holy Week.

The Gospel from John gives us the hard truth that the seed must fall to the ground and die before it produces much fruit. And that's followed by Jesus speaking of "the kind of death he would die."

The final days of Lent allow us to ponder how our lives might change. How our hearts could bleed like Christ. Perhaps we could learn to walk the way of service, so that our brothers and sisters will not suffer needlessly. To show our love by giving of our lives, even to people beyond our normal circles of family members and friends - to reach the "outcasts" of our world, as Jesus did in his.

The question is: Do we have time? Time to bleed? Time to open our hearts to the struggles of poor and powerless people around us? Time to truly love our neighbors as ourselves?

All Jesus asks of us is time ... and maybe a little blood and sweat.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Father Walter Ciszek & the Marianists

Good news regarding Jesuit Walter Ciszek who preached a Holy Week Retreat at the Chaminade-Mineola Community many years ago. He frequently received the Marianist Brothers while he resided at the Fordham University residence where he stayed for many years later.

The Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints has issued a decree declaring "valid" the Diocese of Allentown's investigation into the life, virtues and reputation for sanctity of Jesuit priest Father Walter Ciszek, who was born in Shenandoah, Schuylkill County and is buried at the Jesuit Center in Wernersville, Berks County.

Monsignor Anthony Muntone, Diocesan Co-Postulator for Father Ciszek's Cause for Canonization said, "The issuing of the decree by the Congregation is a major step forward in the effort to see Father Ciszek canonized a saint of the Church."

The diocesan investigation took more than a decade to complete. In August 1996, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints granted a request for a change in responsibility for pursuing Father Ciszek's cause from the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, NJ, where the Diocesan phase of the cause had begun several years earlier, to the Diocese of Allentown.

Over the next ten years, the Diocese of Allentown completed the Diocesan phase of the inquiry into Father Ciszek's life and reputation for holiness and forwarded all the documents pertaining to the investigation to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome in 2006.

Materials and documentation bolstering the cause included testimony from 45 witnesses, Father Ciszek's published and unpublished works, and transcription of hundreds of his handwritten documents.

The Vatican requested additional documents. In 2011, an additional 4,000 pages of documentation from the Jesuit archives in the United States and Rome, the original store of documents archived at the Father Ciszek Center, Shenandoah, and other important documents obtained from state records in Russia, were compiled and sent to the Vatican.

Father Ciszek was a Jesuit missionary to the Soviet Union who was arrested as a spy for the Vatican and held prisoner for 23 years until he was returned to the U.S. in a spy exchange in 1963.

After living for a time at the Jesuit Novitiate in Wernersville, Berks County, where he wrote his memoirs, Father Ciszek moved to Fordham University in New York where he died on December 8, 1984.

According to Monsignor Muntone, the next phase of the process involves presenting a summary of the documents by the Roman postulator, directed by an official of the congregation, together with a biography and ample "information" proving the heroic virtue of Father Ciszek.

That will then undergo an examination by nine theologians to determine if Father Ciszek exhibited in his life the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, and the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance to a heroic degree, Muntone said.

"If the theologians agree that his virtue was indeed heroic, the cause will be passed on to the bishops and cardinals who are members of the congregation for their study," said Monsignor Muntone.

If their judgment is favorable, the prefect of the congregation will present the results of the entire process to the Holy Father for his consideration. If the Holy Father gives his approval, he will direct the congregation to publish a decree declaring Father Ciszek "venerable," which is still two steps short of sainthood.

Allentown Bishop John Barres said, "This breakthrough in the process is very encouraging and a testimony to the commitment and dedication of all those involved."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

All God's Children

All God's Children Welcome at 3 LI Schools
March 19, 2012
Bart Jones

Walk into St. Martin de Porres Marianist grammar school in Uniondale and you're likely to be greeted by a dog named Stella or run into a boxed or caged tortoise, dove or rabbit.

It's all part of the Marianist Brothers' approach to education: creating a homelike environment in the three highly rated Catholic schools they run on Long Island. The others are all-boys Chaminade High School in Mineola and Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, where even peacocks roam the grounds.

"The life that is brought to the school makes it less of an institution," said John Holian, headmaster of St. Martin de Porres, who also trains dogs professionally. "It creates a tremendous amount of excitement for the children."

While many schools have fish tanks or cages with gerbils, what distinguishes the Marianist schools is the variety and quantity of their animals, and that some of the creatures -- mainly the dogs -- are permitted to freely roam the premises.

"It's pretty cool, like a mini-zoo," said Jalen Severe, 12, a sixth-grader at St. Martin Porres, adding his favorite animals are the doves.

One dog, a pug-and-beagle mix named Buster, hangs out for most of the day in the office of Chaminade's president, Brother Thomas Cleary. The dog even sits on the chair at Cleary's desk when the urge strikes and the president isn't occupying it.

It can startle visitors when they walk into the president's office and see little Buster sitting in the president's chair, Cleary said.

Buster sometimes follows Cleary down the hall when it is time for him to teach a religion class, and will promptly say "hello" to the class by sniffing everyone's shoes and backpacks, hunting for a treat.

"If a kid has a sandwich in his backpack, he will smell that out within seconds," Cleary said. Usually Buster settles down as the class proceeds, chewing on one of his toys or someone's backpack. Sometimes he plops himself into one of the desks like a student.

Stella, a boxer, accompanies Holian to school each day, too. When they arrive, "I make a right, she makes a left, then we meet up at 5 o'clock," he said.

The religious brothers say the animals have brought clear benefits to the schools. The dogs help create a relaxed environment and serve as easy ice breakers for conversation.

"We want the students to feel like this is a second home to them," said Brother Kenneth Hoagland, Kellenberg's principal, adding, "Part of our philosophy of education is to educate not only the mind but the heart."

State law permits animals to be in schools, as long as they are properly cared for, according to the state Education Department.

At the Marianist schools, the brothers themselves, along with Holian, are mainly in charge of tending to the dogs and some of the other animals.

Students pitch in, taking the dogs for walks or feeding and maintaining the other animals.

The brothers have had animals in their schools since the early 1970s.

The practice started initially because the brothers live in a building adjacent to Chaminade and it seemed natural to bring their pet dogs to work next door.

Mishaps involving the animals have been rare. Cleary said a soccer game at Chaminade once had to be stopped briefly when a French bulldog named Moses decided to run onto the field to grab the ball.

But generally the dogs are well-behaved -- and appear to immensely enjoy their lives, Cleary said.

"It can't be much better than this, if you're a dog," he said. "Your backyard is a football field -- a turf field no less, so they don't have to get their feet dirty."

Monday, March 19, 2012

Marianist Monday


My dear young people, who are here in large numbers, and especially you students coming from many schools, pray to St Joseph to help you follow day by day the Lord's desires for you. You, dear sick people, pray to him to support you in suffering, accepted as a way to cooperate with the salvation of the world. And you, dear newly-weds, at the school of the chaste husband of the Virgin Mary, nourish your heart with prayer and daily docility to the divine plan. 

The human being is the subject and the primary agent of work, and in the light of this truth, we can clearly perceive the fundamental connection between the person, work and society. Human activity — the Second Vatican Council recalls — proceeds from the human person and is ordered to the person. According to God's design and will, it must serve the true good of humanity and allow "man as an individual and as a member of society to cultivate and carry out his integral vocation" (cf. Gaudium et spes, n. 35).

                                                                                                                               Blessed John Paul II

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Irish Dancing

By now you must have heard of Drew Lovejoy, a 17-year-old who could not be more American. His father is black and Baptist from Georgia and his mother is white and Jewish from Iowa. But his fame is international after winning the all-Ireland dancing championship in Dublin for a third straight year.

In 2010, when he became the first person of color to win the world championship for Irish dancing — the highest honor in that small and close-knit world — and a group of male dancers in their 70s, all of them Irish, offered their congratulations.

“They said, ‘We never thought it would happen, but we’re thrilled that it did,’ ” said Drew’s mother, Andee Goldberg. She added, “They don’t even know he’s Jewish. That hasn’t been broached. I think it would be too overwhelming.”

Recently, Drew, dressed in an orange polo shirt and jeans, was eating grapes and holding a tiny, shaking dog named Belle while his mother talked about his accomplishments. Ribbons and trophies adorned his sea green bedroom, the rewards of dozens of competitions since he started dancing at the age of 6.

But when he went to a friend’s Irish dance competition in Indianapolis, and saw the girls and boys leaping and skipping, dancing that was part tap, part ballet set to very happy music, he was hooked.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, right,’ ” his mother said, shaking her head. “You’re biracial and you’re a Jew. We thought you had to be Irish and Catholic.”

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Lorica of St. Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion and his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection and his ascension...

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of angels...
In the hope of the resurrection,
In the prayers of ancestors in the faith,
In the preaching of the apostles,
In the faith of martyrs
In the innocence and purity of the deeds of the righteous.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power
that opposes my body and soul,
Against false prophets, false laws and idolatry...

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 one who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

St. Patrick (ca. 377)

Friday, March 16, 2012


Brothers and sisters:
God, who is rich in mercy,
because of the great love he had for us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions,
brought us to life with Christ -by grace you have been saved-,
raised us up with him,
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come
He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
it is not from works, so no one may boast.
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works
that God has prepared in advance,
that we should live in them.
                                                            Ephesians 4:2-10

It is clear from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians that God wants the divine light to bounce off us, instead of bend around us. Paul says that “God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ."

So we are “clothed” with Christ, writes Paul, and we “put on” the Lord Jesus Christ — this is what it means to be a properly dressed disciple of Christ. Jesus becomes for us a Visibility Cloak, one that reflects the light of God and makes us visible to the world.

For our purpose, reflecting light and being visible is good.

It’s all about putting on Jesus.

All we have to do is wrap ourselves up in Him.

God’s not interested in hiding us, and he certainly doesn’t want his light to bend around us. Instead, he clothes us with Christ so that we will be visible signs of his presence in the world. By grace, God moves us from darkness to light, from invisibility to visibility, from an undercover existence to an elevated seat in the heavenly places. He takes pleasure in showing us off, as signs of how loving and powerful and creative he is.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I had never heard of this, but the Sierra Trading Post, a mail-order company for lovers of the outdoors, prints a bold mission statement:

"we vow to treat you the way we would want to be treated. If how we serve you does not match our "We Believe" statements, please write our founder, Keith Richardson. We will make it right!

We Believe our customers must be given the best possible service.

We Believe we must keep our operating costs as low as possible to keep your savings as high as possible.

We Believe our business ethics must be consistent with the faith of the owners in Jesus Christ and His teaching."

The purpose of this faith statement is not to offend. Instead, it is to hold the president and the company accountable. If they're not treating customers the way they want to be treated, let them know. If they are not doing good, speaking the truth and acting with integrity, let them know.

In order to plant the Gospel deeply in people's lives, we need to sacrifice, trust in Jesus and be accountable. These are the actions and attitudes that will have an impact for the Christian faith and draw people closer to God and Jesus.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lent - the Cross

When we become Christians, Jesus calls us away from our old identities, our old selves. When we become Christians, we undergo a character change. By our practicing self-denial, Jesus calls us to become members of a new family, part of a new reality--the body of Christ. This Christ-body community lives according to a new set of shared values which develops a Christian character in each one of us. Living out these values builds up our character more strongly every day. It is only through the strength of this Christian character that any one of us can hope to successfully heft across for Jesus.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lent: Be cool with God & yourself

Vatican City, Mar 9, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News).

Confession and true conversion of people’s hearts is the “motor” of all reform and an authentic “force for evangelization,” Pope Benedict XVI told a gathering of priests and deacons March 9.

The Pope reflected on confession in an address to 1,300 participants in the Apostolic Penitentiary’s annual course on the “internal forum,” a technical term for the area of personal conscience and judgment in the priest-penitent relationship.

In a novel speech, he connected the New Evangelization and confession, saying that the effort to spread the Gospel draws life from “the sanctity of the sons and daughters of the Church, from the daily process of individual and community conversion, conforming itself ever more profoundly to Christ. Thus each confession, from which each Christian will emerge renewed, will representa step forward for new evangelization.”

Monday, March 12, 2012

Marianist Monday

My Lenten Reminder

Jesus, dear Savior,
during these forty days
of Lent,
I want to fast, to pray,
to repent.
Above all else I want to stay
in the circle of Your love
each day.
Walk with me, surround me
with Your Light;
lead me, guide me, and
keep me in Your sight.
Thank You for Your great
love and care;
may I give witness to it
In these forty days, help me
to followYou,
and imitate Your love
in all I do.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mark Hart --What Love Is

It has been a tradition in each of the Marianist communities to read the Scriptures daily from the first  book of the Bible to the very last book of the Bible. These readings take place in the Chapel at our Morning and Evening Prayer.

Our Community is now in the midst of  reading first Corinthians and have just read What Love Is from St. Paul. Mark Hart, the Bible Geek, has visited the Marianist high schools two years ago and gave very well received presentations. Below he reflects on Love and its impact on us as Christians. Enjoy!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lent: Do you know it to keep it?

What is Lent? What are the three practices the Church suggests we do during Lent based on the teachings of Jesus? Why do Catholics eat fish on Fridays and why is it called "Good" Friday, anyway? Fr. Jack Collins, CSP, is once again hitting the streets, this time on Ash Wednesday near St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York asking these questions and more.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Sunday Word

William Roberts: 

Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple

This Sunday is just around the corner. There is no better way to prepare for Sunday's liturgy than by reading and praying over the texts.

The Sunday gospel text demonstrates that Jesus definitely had hot buttons that could be pushed. Confronted with the busy, bustling scene in the temple courtyard, Jesus was suddenly struck by the futility of all that activity: the waste, the deception, the manipulation of God's intentions for selfish human purposes. The sickness of this system hit Jesus in the face and lit up his hot button
Jesus got whip-crackingly mad.

- Mad at the temple being turned into a selling place.

- Mad at the money-changers who had turned a holy obligation into a lucrative profession.

- Mad at the Passover pilgrims, who saw the temple as a place of business and a place of God's holy presence.

- Mad at the priests, who had let their love of law and ritual take precedence over their love for God.

Do we still have the ability to get whip-cracking mad for Christ's sake? What needs to be cleaned out of our own selves in order to make ourselves places where the Holy Spirit blows and breathes?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Be Still

"Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”

                                                                                                                                      Psalm 46

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Operation Fiat

As the first disciple of Christ, Mary can teach us what it means to pick up our daily cross and follow her Son.

In her many moments of sorrow, we can imagine the pondering, confusion, pain, and hurt that Mary experienced during the final hours of Christ, yet we always find her contemplating their deeper meaning and purpose with God. In every moment of suffering and pain, Mary is drawn deeper into relationship with God through Jesus Christ and is strengthened in Christ's own faith, hope, and love through the gift of the Holy Spirit. In response, Mary takes the step of saying “yes” to God’s will, trusting that God cares for her, has a plan for good in her life and for her people, and that He intends good even if she encounters suffering and hardship along the way.

Listening – pondering like Mary – to what the Spirit of God is telling us deep within our hearts, we can begin to understand the very next step that God wants us to take. We may not understand how that one step fits into the whole plan, but we trust that God wants good for us and that he loves and supports us in our vocations.

This evening young men will gather for our Operation Fiat in the Chaminade-Mineola Community. Together we may experience the beginning of their call to serve Him and His people in that love. God’s love saved us in a moment of gratuitous love. Out of that love, we can now offer that gratuitous love to others with a “yes” reminiscent of Mary’s own fiat to her call to bring Christ - to bring love - into the world.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Marianist Monday

Our Lady of the Pillar
Marianist, Rome
The Marianist high school custom of suspending all activities on Mondays to schedule a sodality meeting after school at 2:50 p.m. is consistently followed by the Marianists of the Province of Meribah. These sodality or “faith sharing” groups reflect on the previous day’s Gospel, discuss Marianist spirituality, and conclude with personal or group resolutions to reach out to others.

The sodality’s Act of Consecration has undergone various permutations. Below you will find a current version. I offer it today as a prayer for the day.

Spend some time on the meaning of each phrase:
O loving God, we thank You for having called us to be members of the Family of Mary and for inviting us to be consecrated to You through Mary, Our Lady of the Pillar, and in her spirit of faith and love.

We praise You, for You have always loved us, calling us out of darkness and sin through Baptism, strengthening us with Your own Holy Spirit in Confirmation, and calling us to a deeper faith‐filled life through this Consecration.

Your Spirit molds us into the likeness of Jesus, Your Son. May we learn each day to listen more closely and to follow the inspiration of Your Spirit.

Mary, we seek to imitate your faith. With a mother’s love you guide us in our growth in the likeness of Jesus. Help us to live as you taught your Son to live; teach us to love all people as Jesus does.

At this moment, we offer ourselves to you that we may become more like Jesus and be present in this world with the same disposition that He had. As you cooperate with God’s plan to bring Christ to the world and lead all souls to Jesus, we desire to cooperate in your mission of bring Jesus to everyone and bringing everyone to Jesus.

We make this consecration to God through you and in your honor, Mary, within the Sodality of Our Lady of the Pillar. May the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be glorified in all places through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Amen.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Sunday Word 2

In today's first reading, Abraham has built the altar, stacked the wood and is ready for the sacrifice. He takes his son, Isaac. He binds him. He lifts him up and places him on the wood. We are told nothing about Isaac’s reaction to these events. We don’t even know if Isaac looks up at his father with tears in his eyes asking the question…why? Why daddy…why? All we get is a close up of this intense moment as Abraham takes out the knife, raises it up, and takes aim at his son.

In this picture there are no drum beats or chanting natives. There is only a father and a son, tied up on an altar and a knife in the air. Just as Abraham is mustering up the courage to force the knife through his son’s chest, he hears, “Abraham, Abraham.” And in a moment of shock and relief, Abraham answers, “Here I am.” In this final response Abraham’s wishes and hopes are fulfilled as God provides a ram, stuck in a thicket, to take his son’s place. In the last verses it states that Abraham called the mountain, “The Lord will Provide.” There is no talk about how Isaac felt as his father untied him or how the journey home went. We are left with only the realization that God once again kept his promise and provided even though we, the readers of this story, always wonder what would happen if the angel never showed.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Sunday Word 1

When he took the three disciples
to the mountainside to pray,
his countenance was modified, his clothing was aflame.
Two men appeared: Moses and Elijah came;
they were at his side.
The prophecy, the legislation spoke of whenever he would die.

Then there came a word
of what he should accomplish on the day.
Then Peter spoke, to make of them a tabernacle place.
A cloud appeared in glory as an accolade.
They fell on the ground.
A voice arrived, the voice of God,
the face of God, covered in a cloud.

What he said to them,
the voice of God: the most beloved son.
Consider what he says to you, consider what's to come.
The prophecy was put to death,
was put to death, and so will the Son.
And keep your word, disguise the vision till the time has come.

Lost in the cloud, a voice: Have no fear! We draw near!
Lost in the cloud, a sign: Son of man! Turn your ear!
Lost in the cloud, a voice: Lamb of God! We draw near!
Lost in the cloud, a sign: Son of man! Son of God!

- Sufjan Stevens

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lent: Relate with God

God has all the essential characteristics of what we mean by a “person,” in particular conscious awareness, the ability to recognize and the ability to love. In that sense he is someone who can speak and who can listen. That, I think, is what is essential about God. Nature can be marvelous. The starry heaven is stupendous. But my reaction to that remains no more than an impersonal wonder, because that, in the end, means that I am myself no more than a tiny part of an enormous machine. The real God, however, is more than that. He is not just nature, but the One who came before it and who sustains it. And the whole of God, so faith tells us, is the act of relating. That is what we mean when we say that he is a Trinity, that he is threefold. Because he is in himself a complex of relationships, he can also make other beings who are grounded in relationships and who may relate to him, because he has related them to himself.

Pope Benedict XVI, (from God and the World)

Temporal Distortion from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.