Sunday, April 29, 2012

Marianist Monday

After the completion of Disney World, someone remarked, "Isn't it too bad that Walt Disney didn't live to see this!" Mike Vance, creative director of Disney Studios replied, "He did see it -- that's why it's here."

Everything in life that we use or hold, eat or watch, wear, sit in or listen to -- in other words, everything that is a creation of human ingenuity -- started out as a dream. Before anything can become tangible, it must first become a reality in the mind of its dreamer. Only when the dream is real for one can it become real for all.

Like it or not, no one person shaped the face of American pop culture in the 20th Century more than Walt Disney, and no one entertainment company has been as consistently influential as The Disney Company.

During Walt's lifetime and after his death, the company never ceased to plow ahead, creating groundbreaking animated films, popular television shows, and theme parks that rank as some of the biggest tourist attractions in the world. Today, Disney magic infiltrates almost every aspect of American culture, from literature to sports to music to computers -- and the company continues to explore new opportunities.

Disney remains doggedly determined to dominate the business of making dreams come true. Our two high schools create a senior trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida where the seniors can create lasting bonds of friendship. Each school offers the senior class trip from Thursday to Sunday to experience the imagination and creativity of Walt Disney.

Vocation Sunday

Friday, April 27, 2012

Today's Marianist Thought

Mrs. Pereda and John O'Grady at Queen of Peace Residence

Sacrifice comes from two Latin words meaning "to make sacred." In the Christian dispensation we sacrifice whenever we offer a perceived good to God. Whether it be a kind action, a kind thought, or a kind word, when we offer it to God, we make a sacrifice.

Oh, God, I want to make my whole life a sacrifice! Only I don't know how! Perhaps if only I can offer my whole life to God, I can make a sacrifice pleasing in the sight of the Almighty.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Christ transforms

The open tomb on Easter morning forces us to face the paradoxes and "incompletes" in our lives. The open tomb assures us of God's promise to turn all our "incompletes" into "completes."

When we find the tomb opened and empty every Easter morning, we are ourselves reborn with the risen Christ. But we are reborn with a specific mission -- to seek out this Christ who once again lives, but is not yet back among us, and to allow that Christ to transform our "incomplete" lives into "completes."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

To all Chaminade and Kellenberg alumni who attend the College of the Holy Cross:

The Province of Meribah is pleased to announce The Waters of Meribah: An Afternoon of Spiritual Refreshment, hosted by Bro. Stephen Balletta from Chaminade High School and Bro. Timothy Driscoll from Kellenberg Memorial High School.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

All graduates of Chaminade and Kellenberg Memorial are welcome, as well as anyone else interested in some spiritual refreshment. Bring a friend! Better yet, bring several friends!
If you can let us know in advance if you are planning to attend – and if you are bringing some others along – that would be great.

But if you just show up, that’s great too. And feel free to come for any part of the program that matches your schedule. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To live in the light

We're called to live in the light, but we tend to have an overly romantic idea of what that should mean. We tend to think that to live in the light means that there should be a kind of special sunshine inside of us, a divine glow in our conscience, a sunny joy inside us that makes us constantly want to praise God, an ambience of sacredness surrounding our attitude. But that's unreal. What does it mean to live in the light?

To live in the light means to live in honesty, pure and simple, to be transparent, to not have part of us hidden as a dark secret.

All conversion and recovery programs worthy of the name are based on bringing us to this type of honesty. We move towards spiritual health precisely by flushing out our sickest secrets and bringing them into the light. Sobriety is more about living in honesty and transparency than it is about living without a certain chemical, gambling, or sexual habit. It's the hiding of something, the lying, the dishonesty, the deception, the resentment we harbor towards those who stand between us and our addiction, that does the real damage to us and to those we love.

Spiritual health lies in honesty and transparency and so we live in the light when we are willing to lay every part of our lives open to examination by those who need to trust us.

· To live in the light is to be able always to tell our loves ones where we are and what we are doing.

· To live in the light is not have to worry if someone traces what websites we have visited.

· To live in the light is to not be anxious if someone in the family finds our files unlocked.

· To live in the light is to be able to let those we live with listen to what's inside our cell-phones, see what's inside our emails, and know who's on our speed-dial.

· To live in the light is to have a confessor and to be able to tell that person what we struggle with, without having to hide anything.

To live in the light is to live in such a way that, for those who know us, our lives are an open book.

Fr. Ronald Rohleiser, OMI

Monday, April 23, 2012

Marianist Monday

For us Marianists, the school is first of all a place where the key elements of a culture are transmitted by means of academic disciplines. For us, the school should also be a community of faith that promotes evangelical virtues through an explicit proclamation of Jesus Christ as the Savior of all peoples of the world. Through the school we aim to form the whole person, increasing as much as possible the number of those committed to spreading the Gospel.  Because of our mixed composition, we are able, especially in the school, to develop the educational community more widely.  Through the schools, therefore, we are able to achieve the highest purpose of any culture, the development of the uniqueness of each person in a community of faith, learning, and service.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

1 of the 100 Most Influential People in 2012

With his crimson cassock, wide grin and rotund good cheer, Timothy Dolan, 62, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, seems a figure out of the age of the old movies Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary's — a warm prelate who leads his flock more by charm than fiat.

Yet in 2012, this priest with a mien dating back half a century did something few other American Roman Catholic leaders have managed in recent times: he put himself and his church back in the center of the national political conversation, a public square long dominated by Protestant evangelicals.

In leading the opposition to a proposed Obama Administration rule that would have required Catholic organizations like hospitals to pay for contraceptive services for female employees, Dolan successfully argued that such a policy violated the nation's principles of religious liberty.

From his headquarters in New York City's St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dolan, who arrived there after serving as Archbishop of Milwaukee, offers a nuanced Christian witness, reaching out to Jews and Muslims and urging his own faith to re-evangelize itself before assuming that the rest of the world will open its head and heart to the Catholic message.

"The public square in the United States is always enriched whenever people approach it when they're inspired by their deepest-held convictions," he told Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation on Easter Sunday. "And on the other hand... I think the public square is impoverished when people might be coerced to put a piece of duct tape over their mouth, keeping them from bringing their deepest-held convictions to the conversation." That's not a problem Cardinal Dolan seems to have.

Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is the author of American Gospel and a forthcoming biography of Thomas Jefferson

Friday, April 20, 2012

Today's Marianist thought

In the birthplace of the Society of Mary rests this Crucifix in the Chapel of the Madeleine
Suffering is a sign that you have accomplished great things in Christ, be those mental, psychic, or physical. For Christ suffered; that is clear from the liturgy of Holy Week. He suffered lonelines from the Father, betrayal of his apostles, and the greatest suffering known to humankind from the Cross.

What should we do when we face suffering? If we realize that we become like Christ when we suffer, we can take consolation. After all, what we seek to do is to be like Christ.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Witness to Christ

Although little known in American churches, St. Lawrence has been sculptured, painted and crafted in bronze or stained glass more often than almost any other Saint of the Christian Church. In England alone, more than 250 churches are named for him, as are six in Rome.

St. Lawrence was martyred in 258 A.D. But we remember him, not for his martyrdom, but for his being Archdeacon of Rome. His responsibilities included maintaining the sacred vessels of the small, struggling church and distributing alms to the poor. While he was Archdeacon, the Governor of Rome took Pope Sextus captive and demanded, "Where is the treasure of the church?" The Pope would not tell, and they tortured him to death. He never did tell, but in his agony and pain, Pope Sextus somehow mentioned the name of Archdeacon Lawrence. They took Lawrence captive.

"Where is the treasure of the Church?" they demanded, threatening with the same fate that befell the Pope.

Lawrence replied, "Governor, I cannot get it for you instantaneously; but if you give me three days, I will give you the treasure." The Governor agreed. Lawrence left. Three days later he walked into the Governor's courtyard followed by a great flood of people. The Governor walked out onto his balcony and said, "Where is the treasure of your church?"

Lawrence stepped forward, and pointed to the crowd that accompanied him -- the lame, the blind, the deaf, the nobodies of society -- and said, "Here are the treasures of the Christian church."

Are you there with St. Lawrence today?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mary Magdala's Easter Prayer

Mary Magdala’s Easter Prayer

I never suspected
and to be so painful
to leave me weeping
with joy
to have met you, alive and smiling,
outside an empty tomb
with regret
not because I’ve lost you
but because I’ve lost you in how I had you –
in understandable, touchable, kissable, clingable flesh
not as fully Lord, but as graspably human.

I want to cling, despite your protest
cling to your body
cling to your, and my, clingable humanity
cling to what we had, our past.

But I know that . . . if I cling
you cannot ascend and
I will be left clinging to your former self
… unable to receive your present spirit.

by Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

St. Bernadette Soubirous

Yesterday was the feastday of Saint Bernadette Soubirous, the visionary of Lourdes — a woman brought up in such mean poverty that her whole family lived in the equivalent of a jail cell. She was a shepherdess; a poor student who could barely learn her catechism, yet was able to burst into her pastor’s office with the words “Immaculate Conception” pouring forth; a visionary who faced public ridicule for digging with her hands, until the healing spring showed forth the next day.

Last summer we spent two days on pilgrimage at Lourdes. All of our students were awestruck by the simplicity and the profound faith of all at Lourdes.

At age 22, Bernadette entered the convent of the Sisters of Charity in Nevers. Although she had many trials there, she happily performed the menial tasks assigned to her, working initially in the kitchen, then later as an assistant in the infirmary. In September, 1878, at the age of 34, Bernadette made her perpetual vows. After suffering heroically and secretly for years from tuberculosis of the bone in the right knee, which caused excrucixiating pain, she died a holy death on April 15, 1879.

St. Bernadette is the patron of: the poor, the sick, people ridiculed for their piety, and Lourdes, France.
Pilgrim Fred Kaestel receives the Eucharist while Patrick Nozzolese assisted during our Mass at the Grotto. 
Marianist Father Thomas concelebrated the Mass at the Grotto. 
Pilgrims Kevin Liddy, Ryan Appel, Nicholas Adamo, Anthony Ciccarello, Thomas LaPierre, Richard Willie and Douglas Black pause after Mass at the Grotto.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Divine Mercy Sunday

Blessed John Paul II said: "Jesus shows His hands and His side [to the Apostles]. He points, that is, to the wounds of the Passion, especially the wound in His Heart, the source from which flows the great wave of mercy poured out on humanity."

"From that Heart, Sr. Faustina Kowalska, the blessed whom from now on we will call a saint, will see two rays of light shining from that Heart and illuminating the world: ‘The two rays,' Jesus Himself explained to her one day, ‘represent blood and water' (Diary, 299)."

Clearly, Divine Mercy Sunday is not a new feast established to celebrate St. Faustina's revelations. Indeed, it is not primarily about St. Faustina at all — nor is it altogether a new feast! As many commentators have pointed out, The Second Sunday of Easter was already a solemnity as the Octave Day of Easter; nevertheless, the title "Divine Mercy Sunday" does highlight and amplify the meaning of the day. In this way, it recovers an ancient liturgical tradition, reflected in a teaching attributed to St. Augustine about the Easter Octave, which he called "the days of mercy and pardon," and the Octave Day itself "the compendium of the days of mercy."

Liturgically the Easter Octave has always been centered on the theme of Divine Mercy and forgiveness. Divine Mercy Sunday, therefore, point us to the merciful love of God that lies behind the whole Paschal Mystery — the whole mystery of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ — made present for us in the Eucharist. In this way, it also sums up the whole Easter Octave. As Blessed John Paul II pointed out in his Regina Caeli address on Divine Mercy Sunday, 1995: "the whole octave of Easter is like a single day," and the Octave Sunday is meant to be the day of "thanksgiving for the goodness God has shown to man in the whole Easter mystery."

Given the liturgical appropriateness of the title "Divine Mercy Sunday" for the Octave Day of Easter, therefore, the Holy See did not give this title to the Second Sunday of Easter merely as an "option," for those dioceses who happen to like that sort of thing! Rather, the decree issued on May 5, 2000, by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and The Discipline of the Sacraments clearly states: "the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II has graciously determined that in the Roman Missal, after the title Second Sunday of Easter, there shall henceforth be added the appellation ‘or [that is] Divine Mercy Sunday'…".

Divine Mercy Sunday, therefore, is not an optional title for this solemnity; rather, Divine Mercy is the integral name for this Feast Day.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Sunday Word

Jesus presents his followers with life-changing event. But one of the disciples, Thomas, is out of the room when Jesus makes his presentation. He doesn't believe what the others tell him about Jesus' return and says, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."

For Thomas, this talk of resurrection seems pretty wobbly. He wants proof.

So one week later, the disciples are gathered again, and this time Thomas is in the house. Jesus pops in and offers them his peace. Then he says to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe."

Thomas receives the proof he needs and answers, "My Lord and my God!"

Then Jesus says to Thomas, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."

That's where we find ourselves standing today: We cannot put our finger in the hands of Jesus, or our hand in his side. We cannot take the place of Thomas and see the risen Jesus face to face.

Or can we?

In the final judgment of Matthew 25, Jesus says, "Then the king will say to those at his right hand, Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me."The message of this passage is that we welcome Jesus our king whenever we welcome a stranger, and that our place in God's eternal kingdom is connected to the place we make in our own lives for those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, in prison or a stranger to us.

So if you want to see the risen Jesus, welcome a stranger. If you want to experience some real faith, show hospitality to people in need.

This is a workout that will move you from doubt to faith and make you a stronger, healthier and more vigorous Christian.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter: Wake-Up

In a couple of weeks our high schools will once again sponsor a trip to Florida for the senior class. Almost every senior will attend this class event. Disney's mission statement is simple and straightforward: "Provide People Happiness." In its quest to meet this goal, the Disney corporation focuses all its energies in the realm of fantasy - convincing all that to find happiness involves escaping reality.

When you visit Disney World, its central image is the Castle of Sleeping Beauty. Its soaring storybook towers and turrets preside over the rest of the theme park. Yet unlike all the other Disney attractions it is only a hollow shell - void of content. Except for a few novelty shops, this beautiful symbol of Disney's fantasy world come to life is empty.

But its emptiness is full of meaning. For that is precisely the function of Disney World - to empty us of the harsh realities of life and render us unconscious to the things which are too hard to bear. That is part of the experience of Disney - to become "unconscious" of the real world and to enter a never-never land of fantasy. Fittingly Sleeping Beauty's Castle serves as the portal to this plane.

If Disney entices participants to fall asleep in order to escape life, the Church's mission is to urge people to wake up - in order to experience an authentic and full existence. Easter is a call to all believers announcing the dawning of our new relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This is a radically new reality. The message of Easter wakes us, not just from our slumber, but also calls us forth from tombs of sin to wear robes of righteousness and hope! Easter is not an empty Disney-fantasy. Easter is the transforming power of God shaking each and everyone of us awake to a life in Christ.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Waters of Meribah: An Afternoon of Spiritual Refreshment,

To all Chaminade and Kellenberg alumni who attend the College of the Holy Cross:

The Province of Meribah is pleased to announce The Waters of Meribah: An Afternoon of Spiritual Refreshment, hosted by Bro. Stephen Balletta from Chaminade High School and Bro. Timothy Driscoll from Kellenberg Memorial High School.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
All graduates of Chaminade and Kellenberg Memorial are welcome, as well as anyone else interested in some spiritual refreshment.  Bring a friend!  Better yet, bring several friends!
If you can let us know in advance if you are planning to attend – and if you are bringing some others along – that would be great.
But if you just show up, that’s great too. And feel free to come for any part of the program that matches your schedule. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter: Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God!

Seeing ... is ... believing.

When you think about it, the disciple Thomas is really more like each of us.

For Thomas, and in so many cases for us, believing doesn't happen without seeing. When the other disciples tell him, "We have seen the Lord," Thomas says to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."

Thomas wants visible proof. He wants to see physical evidence that the crucified Christ has become the Risen Lord. Blood. Nail prints in the hands. A gash in the side. Forensic evidence is essential.

Fortunately, for Thomas, Jesus is willing to provide the evidence he demands. A week after Easter, Jesus appears to the disciples and says to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." The visible proof of the resurrection is undeniable, and Thomas cries out, "My Lord and my God!" This single sentence, seen by many as the climax of the Gospel, contains one of the earliest Christian confessions of faith: Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God!

But the scene doesn't end here with swelling music and closing credits. Jesus isn't finished with Thomas yet. He says, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe." Jesus wants Thomas and the other disciples to know that believing doesn't depend on seeing.

Believing isn't seeing. And seeing isn't believing.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter: Beyond the tomb

About 350 years ago, Blaise Pascal, mathematician, philosopher and physicist, observed that the human heart is like an “infinite abyss.” He discovered that we human beings try in vain to fill our hearts with everything around us — education, jobs, homes, money, friends, family. But none of these earthly things can really help us, “since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.” In spite of his brilliance and his contributions to mathematics, Pascal realized that life apart from God is empty. He found refuge in Jesus Christ alone.

If you are feeling a massive void in your life, the very same will be true for you. Your emptiness will not be eliminated by a new friend, a new family, a new school, a new car. Instead, the hole in your life can be filled only by believing in the resurrection, and following Jesus into the future.

The good news of Easter is that Christ is risen! He has been raised from the dead, and is waiting for you. Beyond the empty tomb.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter: Christ is risen.

 Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!

Several years ago, Lee Strobel, a journalist with the Chicago Tribune, became a Christian and began to open himself to Christ's transforming power. Increasingly, he found that he wanted the motives and perspective of Jesus to be his own. Does that sound "mystical," he asks? Maybe it does.

But it's very real to him now, and to those around him. In fact, he reports that just a few months after he became a Christian, his 5-year-old daughter went up to his wife and said, "Mommy, I want God to do for me what he's done for Daddy."

Here was a little girl who had only known a father who was profane, angry, verbally harsh and all-too-often absent. And even though she had not picked the bones of perception or pluralism or passion, or debated anything else related to the empty tomb, she had seen up close the influence that Jesus can have on one person's life. In effect, she was saying, "If this is what God does to a human being, that's what I want for me."

Maybe it's time to toss the tools we normally use in our search for facts and figures and empirical evidence. We need, instead, to pull out the tools of faith to access the reality of the resurrection. That's not a matter of believing the impossible; it's a matter of trusting the invisible!

Make no bones about it:  Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Holy Saturday: Reflection

The Two Marys Watch the Tomb of Jesus, by James Tissot

Most of our lives are spent in Holy Saturday. In other words, most of our days are not filled with the unbearable pain of a Good Friday. Nor are they suffused with the unbelievable joy of an Easter. Some days are indeed times of great pain and some are of great joy, but most are…in between. Most are, in fact, times of waiting, as the disciples waited during Holy Saturday. We’re waiting. Waiting to get into a good school. Waiting to meet the right person. Waiting to get pregnant. Waiting to get a job. Waiting for things at work to improve Waiting for diagnosis from the doctor. Waiting for life just to get better.

But there are different kinds of waiting. There is the wait of despair. Here we know--at least we think we know--that things could never get better, that God could never do anything with our situations. This may be the kind of waiting that forced the fearful disciples to hide behind closed doors on Holy Saturday, cowering in terror. Of course they could be forgiven; after Jesus was executed they were in danger of being rounded up and executed by the Roman authorities. (Something tells me, though, that the women disciples, who overall proved themselves better friends than the men during the Passion, were more hopeful.) Then there is the wait of passivity, as if everything were up to “fate.” In this waiting there is no despair, but not much anticipation of anything good either.

Finally, there is wait of the Christian, which is called hope. It is an active waiting; it knows that, even in the worst of situations, even in the darkest times, God is at work. Even if we can’t see it clearly right now. The disciples’ fear was understandable, but we, who know how the story turned out, who know that Jesus will rise from the dead, who know that God is with us, who know that nothing will be impossible for God, are called to wait in faithful hope. And to look carefully for signs of the new life that are always right around the corner--just like they were on Holy Saturday.

James Martin, SJ

Holy Saturday II

The Lamentation of Christ - Andrea Mantegna

Today,  Holy Saturday the Church patiently waits at the Lord's tomb, meditating on His suffering and death.

The altar is left bare, and the sacrifice of the Mass is not celebrated.

Only after the solemn vigil during the night, held in anticipation of the resurrection, does the Easter celebration begin, with a spirit of joy that overflows into the following period of fifty days.

Holy Saturday I

I’ve only preached on one Good Friday. Here’s my homily from that occasion, delivered in 2008.

Sixty years ago, the psychiatrist Viktor Frankl wrote a best-selling book about his experiences as a prisoner in Auschwitz. “Man’s Search for Meaning,” is considered to be a classic about the worst nightmare of the last century. Frankl describes how men, women and children coped with the horrors of the camp – how they were able simply to survive, day after day, week after week.

At one point he tells the haunting story of a woman who knew she was going to die in just a few days. Despite that, he says, she was remarkably calm, even cheerful.

One morning, Frankl approached this woman and asked her how she did it. How was she able to keep her spirits up? The woman told him that she had come to a deeper appreciation of spiritual things during her time in the camp.

Then, he writes:

Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, “This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness.” Through the window, she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. “I often talk to this tree,” she said to me…I asked her if the tree replied. “Yes.” What did it say to her? She answered, “It said to me. ‘I am here. I am here. I am life. Eternal life.’ ”

In that astonishing moment, Frankl touched on something profound. At the bleakest of moments, in even the darkest of places, we look for life. We want a promise of something better. We want to know that life goes on.

We crave hope.

Hope, however fleeting, was there in Auschwitz that morning. And, whether we realize it or not, hope is what has brought us together this afternoon.

In one sense, of course, we are remembering an event that seems hopeless — the agony and death of Jesus Christ. Today, in this liturgy, we re-read the story of His passion. We experience a deep and mournful absence – no consecration, no bells, no final blessing. The altar will be stripped.

For some people, it’s still customary to turn off the radio, shut off the TV, draw the curtains … and pray. Some may light candles. Others may follow the Way of the Cross, or pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary.

The simple fact is: this can’t be a day like any other. Scripture tells us that on the day Christ died, the world – literally – cracked open. The earth quaked. To this day, we cannot help but remember what was done for us. As the old spiritual tells us, it causes us to tremble.

But in the midst of all this, we do something remarkable.

We venerate the cross with a kiss.

I’m sure some outside our faith find it strange that we pay tribute to an instrument of death. But they don’t see the cross the way we do. Maybe they should.

Maybe they should try to see that the cross was not an end, but a means to an end – the method God chose to remake the world. Maybe they should strive to see in the cross the beginning of our salvation. This is the wood of the cross, on which hung the savior of the world.

When the priest prays the Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation, which we hear so often during Lent, he invokes the cross powerfully, and poignantly. As the prayer puts it, Jesus “stretched out his arms between heaven and earth in the everlasting sign of Your covenant.”

We are reminded today that it is a covenant that was sealed with nails, and splinters, and blood.

In the reading today from Isaiah, the prophet tells us about the suffering servant – foreshadowing Christ. Isaiah tells us: “He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth…it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured.”

In Christ’s cross, the wood we venerate and touch, we see part of the shoot from the parched earth. Nailed to this cross, He became one with it – and we are able to see this wood for what it truly is: a tree, like the one that prisoner saw, that holds out hope.

From within the four walls of our brokenness, behind the barbed wires of sin, we look out and look up — and we see this “tree” that symbolizes our salvation. This is how we know we are saved. This is how we know how much God loves us.

This afternoon, the cross speaks to us. It speaks of the One who suffered and died upon it.

It speaks to us in consolation. And – yes — in hope.

And quietly, but persistently, it offers us the promise of something better, beyond the prison wall.

“I am here. I am here. I am life. I am Eternal life.”

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday: Stations of the Cross II

The Stations of the Cross is an ancient devotion in the Catholic Church.  The Stations video below offers an opportunity to pray the Stations of the Cross at home, online. It's only 6 minutes long but of course one could pause the video at each station and pray for a longer time.

Good Friday: Stations of the Cross I

Good Friday: Reflection

To be connected with the church
is to be associated with scoundrels,
warmongers, fakes, child-molesters,
murderers, adulterers
and hypocrites of every description.

It also, at the same time, identifies you
with saints and the finest persons of heroic soul
of every time, country, race and gender.

To be a member of the church
is to carry the mantle
of both the worst sin and the finest heroism of soul
because the church always looks exactly as it looked
at the original crucifixion:
God hung among thieves.

- Ron Rolheiser, OMI in The Holy Longing

Good Friday: What Our Lord Saw from the Cross

James Tissot: What Our Lord Saw from the Cross
In the most memorable, and even notorious, of Tissot’s images, Christ looks out at the crowd of spectators arrayed before him: Mary Magdalene, in the immediate foreground, with her long red tresses swirling down her back, kneels at his feet, which are clearly visible at the bottom center of the composition. Beyond her, the Virgin Mary clutches her breast, while John the Evangelist looks up with hands clasped.

The artist here adopts the point of view of Christ himself. Few painters have conceived a composition this daring. In his audacity, however, Tissot remains true to his artistic vision: ultimately, the image is an exercise in empathy. Its point is to give viewers, accustomed to looking at the event from the outside, a rare opportunity to imagine themselves in Christ’s place and consider his final thoughts and feelings as he gazed on the enemies and friends who were witnessing, or participating in, his death.

Holy Thursday: the love of Christ

The Marianists of the Province of Meribah have gathered this week to partake in our traditional Holy week retreat. As part of our Holy Thursday retreat, we discussed TV pastor Robert Schuller and Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

We recalled the time Bishop Fulton Sheen spoke at the Crystal Cathedral. Fulton Sheen was one of the most effective religious communicators of his time. In the early 1950s his weekly television broadcast was the most popular program in the country.

Because he was so popular, thousands of people came to hear Sheen at the Crystal Cathedral. After the message, he and Robert Schuller were able to get to their car only because a passageway was roped off. Otherwise, they would have been mobbed. Along both sides of the ropes, people were reaching out in an attempt to touch the bishop. It was as if the pope himself had come to town.

As Sheen was passing through this section on his way to his car, someone handed him a note, which he folded and put into his pocket. Then, as he and Schuller were on their way to the restaurant where they were going to eat lunch, Bishop Sheen pulled out that note, read it, and asked Schuller, “Do you know where this trailer park is?” Schuller looked at the note and said, “Yes, it’s just a couple of miles from here.” The bishop said, “Do you think we could go there before we go to lunch?” “Sure,” Schuller answered. “We have plenty of time.” So they drove to this little trailer park, and Bishop Sheen went up to one of the trailers and knocked on the door.

An elderly woman opened the door, and seemed surprised–flabbergasted, really–when she saw who had come to visit her. She opened the door and the bishop went in. After a few moments, he came out, got back in the car and said, “Now she’s ready for living–in this life and the next.”
Our homilist today also recalled this story as part of our Holy Thursday reflection:

– “When I try to tell people what Ronald Reagan was like,” says Peggy Noonan, former White House speechwriter, “I tell them the bathroom story.” A few days after President Reagan had been shot, when he was able to get out of bed, he wasn’t feeling well, so he went into the bathroom that connected to his room. He slapped some water on his face and some of the water slopped out of the sink. He got some paper towels and got down on the floor to clean it up. An aide went in to check on him, and found the president of the United States on his hands and knees on the cold tile floor, mopping up water with paper towels. “Mr. President,” the aide said, “what are you doing? Let the nurse clean that up!” And President Ronald Reagan said, “Oh, no. I made that mess, and I’d hate for the nurse to have to clean it up.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Holy Thursday: the humility of Christ

“He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.”

Are you kidding? Imagine anybody doing this today.

The humility of Christ is what stuns us. The King of Kings chose the servant’s role as an object lesson. Remember that in those days, foot washing was no more a symbolic ceremony than was breaking the bread and pouring the wine.

It was practical. Dusty, muddy and manure-strewn roads made sandaled feet a mealtime buzzkill. The first-century household slave would always get the foot-washing task as it was one of the most demeaning and filthy tasks in their culture.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Marianist Spirituality at Holy Cross College

Attention all Chaminade and Kellenberg Graduates 
at the College of the Holy Cross!!! 
The Province of Meribah is pleased to announce:

The Waters of Meribah: An Afternoon of Spiritual Refreshment
hosted by Bro. Stephen Balletta from Chaminade High School 
and Bro. Timothy Driscoll from Kellenberg Memorial High School 

When?         Saturday, April 28, 2012

What? Lunch          12:30 p.m. Campion House
Spiritual Reflection 2:00  p.m. McCooey Chapel 
Discussions       3:15  p.m. McCooey Chapel
Mass 4:30 p.m. Mary Chapel

Who? All graduates of Chaminade and Kellenberg Memorial are welcome, as well as anyone else interested in some spiritual refreshment.  Bring a friend!  Better yet, bring several friends!!!!  

If you can let us know in advance if you are planning to attend – and if you are
bringing some others along – that would be great.  

To respond, email Bro. Stephen at HYPERLINK ""

But if you just show up, that’s great too.   
And feel free to come for any part of the program that matches your schedule.   
We’re looking forward to seeing you there.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. At the time of Jesus, the Roman Empire was in control of Jerusalem. The enslaved Jewish people looked eagerly to the crowd-feeding, miracle-working Jesus as their political savior. What they did not realize was that their primary need was not political liberation, but spiritual deliverance. That was Jesus' purpose for coming. As the Son of God, he came to free mankind from the bondage of sin and death. One day, Jesus will return again. At that time, all will hail him as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

He has come, The Son of David has come, the Messiah has come. Jerusalem expected a warrior, a conqueror, a king. To save them from Rome, to free them from Rome. But God had other plans. "My kingdom is not of this world." When Christ came for you, what is it that you expected? He comes on His terms, not ours. Will you accept who He is. What He asks of us? Hosanna! What will you expect when he comes again? Behold, I am coming soon. Yes, I am coming soon. Amen. I am coming soon. Come Lord Jesus. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world!