Monday, March 31, 2014


What does it mean for a Marianist Brother to be on fire with Christ?

Our life is unassuming and is one of witness, less by words and more by actions. A life of being in relationship with each other and young people for the sake of the Gospel. Those who know us well can identify who we are even when we are not wearing our suits or vestments.

For we(as well as all Marianists throughout the world) wear the gold ring not on our left hand as men do in marriage, but on the right hand as a threefold sign representing:

1. our total self gift to God.

2. our alliance to each Brother in Community.

3. and our pledge to be Sons of Mary like Jesus for the salvation of the world.

In a way, a single Marianist is like a small burning coal, but when we join together as a Community for the glory of the Most Holy Trinity, for the honor of Mary and to follow Christ more closely in His saving mission, we set the world on fire and encourage others to be on fire for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Word

Rules only get you so far. The game is learned best by practice.

Whether you are a member of the Brooklyn Kickball Society, the U.S. Dodgeball League, your local whiffle-ball team or the local Catholic community, the same truth applies: You become a good player by playing.

The essence of Christianity is more than following rules — instead, it is the imitation of Jesus Christ. Just as you learn to be an excellent kickball player by copying outstanding kickballers, you discover the secrets to faithful Christianity by imitating Jesus.

To do what is good and right and true is not so much adhering to a check list of do’s and don’ts as it is learning how to behave in a way that copies Christ’s love and peace and justice.

In fact, Saint Augustine went so far as to sum up the moral laws of Christianity in one short and provocative phrase, “Love, and do as you please.”

Live in light. Do the right. Bring pleasure to God.

Just do it.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Sunday Word

What a strange and wonderful story this is. Jesus refuses to put the label of "sinner" on either the blind man or his parents, but says that "he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him." With such an introduction, one might think that Jesus would go on to treat the man with courtesy and respect, but he does exactly the opposite: He treats him like dirt. Jesus spits on the ground and makes mud with his saliva; then he spreads the mud on the man's eyes.

He uses wet, sticky, soft, dirty earth. He uses mud - a symbol of all that is degrading, such as when a person's name is dragged "through the mud." Jesus puts this man in an awkward position. In effect, Jesus may have been the first person to utter the humorous drinking toast, "Here's mud in your eye"; hardly the sentiments you expect to hear from a teacher who is healing by the power of God.

And yet, the man born blind believes. He believes enough to follow the command of Jesus to "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam," and to stumble through the streets of Jerusalem wearing a ridiculous mask of mud. We don't know exactly how far the man has to walk after receiving his mudpack in the eyes, but it could be quite a hike. John tells us that Jesus encounters the man after leaving the temple.
If Jesus puts mud in the man's eyes right outside the temple compound, then the man has to walk at least 500 yards to the pool of Siloam - the length of five football fields! Quite a distance for a blind man to cover, groping and stumbling and trying to ignore the jeers of the crowd.

So, it's not a pleasant walk. It's degrading, embarrassing, humiliating. But the man has been in touch with Jesus, and for some reason he believes. He believes that this teacher who calls himself "the light of the world" is somehow going to bring an end to his lifelong darkness. Besides, what has he got to lose? His pathetic progress down the rocky streets of Jerusalem would be mocked by townspeople whether he had mud on his face or not.

So he goes and washes ... and comes back able to see. The dirt-and-spit opens his eyes, and he proceeds to testify that it was Jesus who gave him his vision. Standing before the Pharisees, he says, "He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see .... He is a prophet." When they counter that Jesus is a sinner, the man says, "I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." And the man asks the Pharisees mockingly, "Do you also want to become his disciples?" He might as well say to these religious leaders: "Here's mud in your eye!"

Finally, face to face with the one who healed him, the man discovers that Jesus is none other than the Son of Man. "Lord, I believe," he says, and he worships him. It is important to note that his healing comes BEFORE this statement of faith. The man does not believe in Jesus prior to his touch; the man receives the touch and then believes. The mudpack inspires the man to trust that he will be healed.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Lenten Prayer

Sometimes, Lord,
we think we don't know how to pray,
we can't find the words to say,
we wonder if we pray "the right way..."

How did we become so misinformed
about something so important, Lord?

When did we begin to think of prayer
as a rare gift? a specialized skill?
an art we haven't mastered?

How did we come to forget
that every thought, sigh, hope and cry,
every grunt and gasp and word of ours
sounds in your heart as soon and as surely
as any saint's pure and perfect prayer?

Help us remember, Lord,
that simply sitting in your presence,
... in silence...
is a prayer whose eloquence delights you...

Our very desire to pray, Lord,
is a sign you're already with us,
nudging our hearts to trust that you're near:
our wanting to pray is already a prayer...

You invite us to voice our joys and hopes
and to vent our hurts and sorrows
though all of them known to you
long before we even think to pray...

Before infants have a word to say,
they pray:
their cooing, mumbling and crying
all sputter forth their wordless pleas
of wonder, hunger, fear and joy,
of their desire to be held
by those who hear in every sound they make
the beauty of a prayer that has no words...

Be mother and father to us, Lord,
and hear every prayer we make
- with or without words...

Receive the prayers that sputter from our souls:
prayers that have no words
and prayers that have too many words;
prayers we sob upon your breast
and prayers we sing from happy hearts;
prayers that rise from our confusion
which, in wisdom, you completely understand...

We offer you each thought, sigh,
hope, cry and word of ours
that pleads and pulses from within...

Let the prayer of beating hearts be heard
and held in your eternal heart
and in your mercy, Lord,
answer us, we pray:
hear and answer every prayer we make
- with words or without...

H/T A Concord Pastor Comments

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Live in mercy

Servant of God Catherine deHueck Doherty:

The mercy that we must give to others includes that of standing up for the poor, the lonely, those who have no education and cannot stand up for themselves. It means to engage in what we call social justice on behalf of our brother. That involves opening ourselves to being pushed around and crucified. This always happens to those who stand up for others…

Lent is here to remind us that the mercy of God is ours provided we embrace his law of love; provided we realize that it’s going to hurt, and hurt plenty, but that the very hurting will be a healing. That’s the paradox of God, that while you hurt, you heal. That’s true healing.

The sea of his mercy is open before us. Lent definitely and inexorably leads us to it and makes us think about what it takes to swim in it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday Tunes

The Annunciation of the Lord

From a letter by Pope St Leo the Great

Lowliness is assured by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity. To pay the debt of our sinful state, a nature that was incapable of suffering was joined to one that could suffer. Thus, in keeping with the healing that we needed, one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, was able to die in one nature, and unable to die in the other.

He who is true God was therefore born in the complete and perfect nature of a true man, whole in his own nature, whole in ours. By our nature we mean what the Creator had fashioned in us from the beginning, and took to himself in order to restore it.For in the Saviour there was no trace of what the deceiver introduced and man, being misled, allowed to enter. It does not follow that because he submitted to sharing in our human weakness he therefore shared in our sins.

He took the nature of a servant without stain of sin, enlarging our humanity without diminishing his divinity. He emptied himself; though invisible he made himself visible, though Creator and Lord of all things he chose to be one of us mortal men. Yet this was the condescension of compassion, not the loss of omnipotence. So he who in the nature of God had created man, became in the nature of a servant, man himself.

Thus the Son of God enters this lowly world. He comes down from the throne of heaven, yet does not separate himself from the Father’s glory. He is born in a new condition, by a new birth.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Marianist Monday

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

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

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

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

Are we willing to bring your treasure to the Lord?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

For what do we thirst?

You get the sense that the Samaritan woman is street smart. She's talking to a stranger. She's talking to a strange man. She's a bit sassy. She's a person of dubious reputation. She's probably had to scratch and claw to get what she's got. So when she finally understands what's being offered, she grabs it and rejoices. But this woman is also generous -- she wants to share this gift of new life and hope with everyone she knows.

It's possible that this woman had been an outcast in her own village because of her misdeeds and guilty past. But all of that is behind her now. She takes this "living water" and she runs back to her village to tell others the good news. She eagerly approaches everyone that she sees and says with wonder, "'Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?' They left the city and were on their way to him."

A sip of this water has transformed her life. She's so excited, she wants to share the Good News!

Living water!

For what do we thirst? Someone who knows us as completely as Jesus does and yet loves us anyway? Forgiveness and new life that God alone can offer? A fresh start? Understanding? Rest? Renewal? Peace? To acknowledge the mistakes that we have made and know that there is still hope for us? To cast away the burden of guilt and the weight of regret?

All of that and more is offered to us in the "living water" Jesus offers us.

"Living Water." Sort of sounds like a corporate brand, right? "Living Water" reaches a need far deeper than everyday thirst. "Living Water" touches the part of us that wakes up in the night worried or lonely or consumed with remorse. "Living Water" can wash away the parts of us that feel unclean and threaten to keep us isolated forever.

Take a sip of this water

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Sunday Word

Jesus knew all about water. Growing up in the rocky, dry land of Israel, he knew first hand that water was a precious resource that didn't come easily. He must have grown up seeing his mother and countless other women spend hours of their days hauling water for cooking, cleaning and drinking.

So when Jesus encounters the lone Samaritan woman at the well in the hot noonday sun, he could appreciate the hard work that was required to draw enough water from the deep well in order to meet the needs of her family.

Water is notoriously heavy. A woman would have to haul water several times every day to meet the demands of a large family and busy household.

When Jesus encounters the woman at the well, he's hot and tired from his journey. So he's parched. But he knows exactly what he needs to ease his thirst; "Give me a drink," he says to the Samaritan woman. It's a touching, vulnerable moment, one of the very few times that we hear Jesus make a request of another person. He needs something that she can provide.

In that moment it doesn't matter that he's the Son of God, the Savior of the world, a man in a male-oriented society or a Jew encountering someone from the ethnically disparaged Samaritans. All the barriers and differences fall away; Jesus is simply a person with a basic human need, and this woman has the ability to help him. She can give him water.

Water for us humans is necessary for survival. What we don't often consider is how necessary for our spiritual survival is the living water Jesus offers through the Holy Spirit.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Lenten Prayer

Today we pause for prayer and it requires some simple props:
just open your hands in front of you...

Your open hands provide a beautiful image
for the three ancient exercises of Lent,
prayer, fasting and almsgiving...

Are you hands open?

My open hands, palms up, gesture a receptivity
to what God offers me in prayer:
my praying hands are open to the Lord's Spirit...

My open, empty hands remind me of my fasting,
my giving up something for Lent, my giving something away,
with hope of finding and feeding my heart's deeper desires...

My open, empty hands reach out
to serve the needs of others, especially the poor:
hands emptied, finally free, of so many things I cling to...

Lent is a time for my hands to be:
open in prayer,
emptied in sacrifice,
reaching out to help...

Lord, help me pray with open hands today
and let my open hands teach me
how to live this Lent...

(Did you open your hands in front of you?
Doing so will make for a very different kind of prayer...)

H/T A Concord Pastor Comments

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty...

I have mentioned that the life of Father Walter Ciszek has been my Lenten reading this year. Father Walter came to realize that what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane, when, in spite of his clear perception of the horrors of the passion, Jesus accepted it fully, and simply said, “Father not my will, but your will be done.”

It was right there that Father Walter saw something that would change his life—Jesus accepting the Father’s will for him, in the concrete circumstances of his life. Father Walter, then, in the light of his firm belief that Jesus lived his life as an example for us all, came to realize that he could do no less—that he too would have to accept God’s will for him, in the concrete circumstances of his life, even if those circumstances would include six years of solitary confinement in Lubianka, nine years of living death in the labor camps of Siberia, several more years of being hounded, from one Siberian city to another by the Soviet secret police. It was in that acceptance that Father Walter came to realize the great things God had done for him in Russia. He was filled with a spirit of peace, which no one could ever take from him, a peace which was the wonder of everyone who ever met him, a peace he so willingly shared with anyone who ever came to him.

Yet Father Walter would be the first to admit, that acceptance of God’s will is not the easiest thing in the world. After his return from Russia, he had asked one of his retreatants to pray the Suscipe, the prayer of the great Jesuit founder, St. Ignatius. The prayer reads:
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.
The retreatant asked Father to say the prayer along with her. Interestingly enough he confided to her that he had not been able to say that prayer for many years. He explained that the last time he had prayed the Suscipe, was once, long ago, in the Novitiate. He added, however, that he had become reluctant to pray it once again, because, many times, in Russia, he felt, in his sufferings, that God had taken very seriously what he had said in that prayer, way back in the novitiate, that God did indeed take from him all that he had and called his own. But the fact is that Father Walter did continue to pray that Suscipe, over and over again, not, perhaps, always in the exact, same, soaring words of St. Ignatius. But he did pray it in the resignation with which he bore his suffering in Lubianka, in the courage he showed ministering to his flock in the prison camps of Siberia, and most certainly did he pray it in the words of advice he unfailingly gave, over and over again, to all who would listen to him.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

St. Joseph's Day

Saint Joseph's Day

You might consider buying a St Joseph's home sale kit if you are selling your house. The kit contains a little statue of St Joseph which you are supposed to bury at the property you are trying to sell. It's easy to be cynical about such a practice - there's certainly a danger it could lead to the belief that it's possible to twist God's arm through St Joseph's intercession. But on the other hand, we shouldn't be too dismissive. We all need signs of God's loving providence - it may be through the prayers of St Joseph that we receive such signs, and it seems particularly appropriate that this should be the case.

St Joseph was a central figure in the early life of Christ. Although he wasn't Jesus' biological father, it is clear from the New Testament that the relationship of St Joseph to Jesus was that of true fatherhood. The angel commands St Joseph to name Jesus, and it is through St Joseph's genealogy that Jesus is called Son of David. St Joseph's willingness to cooperate with God's divine plan and marry the Blessed Virgin Mary meant that the child Jesus was able to grow up in a loving and secure family environment. The home should be a place of love and security, and if we invite St Joseph in, it will also be a place where our life with Christ will grow and flourish.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick

It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. Although his father was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family.

At the age of 16, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. (There is some dispute over where this captivity took place. Although many believe he was taken to live in Mount Slemish in County Antrim, it is more likely that he was held in County Mayo near Killala.) During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

We have been called!

No one said Lent would be easy.

In the early part of the last century, one of the great witnesses to the faith was a Carmelite nun, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Most of us know her as Edith Stein. She was born to a German Jewish family in 1891…became an atheist…but was baptized a Catholic in 1922. Eleven years later, she entered the cloister. And in 1942, she lost her life at Auschwitz. Today she is recognized as a saint.

God asked her to go forth, just as He did with Abram, and she responded – venturing into to a world she never foresaw, meeting a fate she never imagined. But her devotion and her trust were complete.

In the early 1930s, she gave a lecture and spoke of what it takes to be a Christian.

“Whoever belongs to Christ,” she said, “must go the whole way with him. He must mature to adulthood. He must one day or other walk the way of the cross to Gethsemane and Golgotha.”

Well, that puts in perspective the idea of giving up chocolate or ice cream for Lent, doesn’t it?

And it illuminates, with a blinding clarity, what we are all called to do: it is nothing less than to walk the way of the cross.

We come to understand why in today’s Gospel, where we are told of yet another journey– up a mountain — where Jesus is miraculously transfigured.

Here is a breathtaking glimpse of Jesus-as-God – a beautiful and humbling foreshadowing of heaven. This is what all our journeying is about.

When it happens, the apostles are so terrified, they can’t even look. But Jesus comforts them, as he does so often in the gospels. “Rise,” he says, “and do not be afraid.”

And so He speaks to us, wherever we are on our journey.

Rise, and do not be afraid.

We have been called, just like Abram, just like St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Just like the countless others across the ages who have been called, following a path laid before them…trusting, faithfully trusting, that God would take them where they were meant to go.

Some of them were saints. But all were sinners, just like us – walking their own way of the cross.

Rise and do not be afraid.

They are words to encourage us on our Lenten journey. Yes, there will be setbacks and stumbles. We will make mistakes. We may even grow lazy or indifferent. We will be frustrated and embarrassed by our humanity, and our weakness. There are minefields waiting for us – including Ben and Jerry. But that, too, is part of our journey.

We should never forget why we are following this path, and making these sacrifices, and trying to turn our hearts back to God. We strive toward a paradise we can’t begin to imagine, where Christ dwells in light, and in love, transfigured forever.

And we aren’t alone – in Lent, or in life. He is waiting for us, hoping for us, praying for us.

So rise. And do not be afraid.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Transfigure us

The final painting of the artist Raphael was his painting of the Transfiguration. He painted it in Rome in 1520. He was 37 years old and not far from death. In fact, he died before he finished. In the background of the painting you can see the village of Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus first startled his disciples with the prediction of his suffering and death. In the upper center of the painting you see a flat, rocky mountain. The three disciples are there shielding their eyes from the glory all around them. Just above them are Moses, Elijah and Jesus. Jesus is shimmering in white, and everything in the painting seems drawn toward him. But down at the bottom, at the bottom of the mountain, you see a crowd of disciples. They are trying, but unable, to heal a young boy who suffers from the seizures of epilepsy. Raphael knew his Scripture because in Mark, right after the Transfiguration, Jesus comes down and encounters that boy.

But when you look closely at the child in the painting, you see that his eyes are wide and white, and focused on Jesus, and in fact, his right hand is stretched out as far as it will go. You realize that from the depths of this suffering and pain he’s trying to reach out and somehow touch the transfigured Jesus.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Marianist Family Spirit

Marianist family spirit

“The multiplication of Christians is brought about less by the use of certain pedagogic procedures than by the presence of a religious atmosphere in the school. Religion is not taught; it is communicated. Religion is instilled more deeply in the spirits and in the hearts of the students more through the atmosphere that permeates the school than through teaching.”
Blessed William Joseph Chaminade

From its very foundation, the Society of Mary has given great emphasis and experience, both in the expression of the religious commitment of its members and in the apostolic services it has rendered to the Church.

In Community, the members of our Province earnestly strive to follow the Gospel by creating a family spirit of shared prayer, shared work, and shared vision. Through its apostolic activities our Province fosters communities of faith and strives to communicate the person of Jesus Christ.

The family spirit that is present among the Brothers is certainly a vocational attraction. We live together, eat together, pray together, cook together, teach together, work together, laugh together, and share every aspect of our lives with one another. This companionship is shared with those whom we work in our schools. Our students notice, experience and develop the same family spirit.

You might think that these men who make the same vows might all turn out pretty much the same. Well, we do share many similarities even beyond the black suits and ties we all wear. But even though we all made the same vows in the tent of the same Church, we are men of many different stripes and our differences are as variegated as nature and grace can possibly allow.

"Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell as one ..."
Psalm 133

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Special Witness to the Gospel

Our Holy Father has spoken about the importance of religious life many times:
KMHS graduate
Sr. Ann Thomas, O.P.

“Every consecrated person is a gift for the People of God on a journey. There is much need of their presence, that strengthens and renews the commitment to spread the gospel, to Christian education, to charity for the most needy, to contemplative prayer; the commitment to a human and spiritual formation of young people, of families; the commitment to justice and peace in the human family.” 

He continued, “consecrated persons are signs of God in diverse environments of life, they are leaven for the growth of a more just and fraternal society, prophecy of sharing with the little and the poor. As such understanding and experience, the consecrated life appears to us just as it really is: a gift of God!

Those who live a religious life in imitation of Christ’s own poverty, chastity, and obedience, offer “a special witness to the gospel of the Kingdom of God.”

Although all Christians are consecrated to God in baptism and all are called to make “a generous gift of our lives, in the family, at work, in service to the Church, (and) in works of mercy,” those in religious life experience this consecration “in a particular way.”

Marianists with Cardinal Dolan
“Totally consecrated to God, they are totally given over to their brethren, to carry the light of Christ there where the darkness is thickest and to spread his hope to hearts who are discouraged,” emphasized the pontiff.

The Church will benefit from a greater knowledge and presence of consecrated men and women, urged Pope Francis. The year 2015 will be dedicated in a special way to religious life.

“It is necessary to value with gratitude the experience of consecrated life and deepen the knowledge of different charisms and spiritualities. We must pray, so that many young people respond ‘yes’ to the Lord who calls them to consecrate themselves wholly to Him for disinterested service to their brethren.”

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

He Leadeth Them

From my lenten reading, Walter Ciszek, in his book He Leadeth Me:
. . . Lubianka wore him down with its constant hunger and isolation and the all-night interrogations, with their mind games and agonizing afterthoughts. After a year—brutalized, drugged, threatened with death—Ciszek did what he had been sure he would never do: He signed papers that gave the impression he had been spying for the Vatican.

Afterward, burning with shame and guilt for being “nowhere near the man I thought I was,” he finally faced the truth.

I had asked for God’s help but had really believed in my ability to avoid evil and to meet every challenge… . I had been thanking God all the while that I was not like the rest of men… . I had relied almost completely on myself in this most critical test—and I had failed.

The interrogations continued, and Ciszek fell into black despair. Terrified, he threw himself on God, pleading his utter helplessness. Then, in a moment of blinding light, he was able to see “the grace God had been offering me all my life.”

I knew that I must abandon myself completely to the will of the Father and live from now on in this spirit of self-abandonment to God. And I did it. I can only describe the experience as a sense of “letting go,” giving over totally my last effort or even any will to guide the reins of my own life. It is all too simply said, yet that one decision has affected every subsequent moment of my life. I have to call it a conversion… . It was at once a death and a resurrection.

Selfless in Siberia. Walter Ciszek was a new man—and it showed. Realizing they could not manipulate him, the Soviets sentenced him to fifteen years of hard labor in the Siberian Gulag.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Marianist Monday

Marianist Operation Fiat
Tomorrow onight the Marianists in the Chaminade-Mineola Community will host our Spring Operation Fiat. Over thirty young men will gather to pray evening prayer and explore the possibility of a Marianist religious vocation. What a courageous act to enter into prayer and discussion to discern whether God is calling you to embrace religious life.

May God continue to shower His graces on all tonight..

Our Founder gives this explanation for the following a Marianist religious vocation:

In his letter to preachers of retreats (August 24, 1839) our Blessed founder, Father William Joseph Chaminade spoke of those qualities which "distinguish the Society of Mary and the Institute of the Daughters of Mary from the other religious orders:"

" is certainly the distinguishing character and family trait of both our Societies: we are in a special manner the auxiliaries and the instruments of the Blessed Virgin in the great work of reforming morals, of preserving and propagating the Faith, and by the fact, of sanctifying our neighbor. She communicates to us her own zeal and entrusts to us the projects which are inspired by her almost infinite charity, and we make a vow to serve her faithfully till the end of our life, to carry out punctually all that she tells us. We are glad that we can thus spend in her service the life and stregnth that we have pledged to her. We are moreover so entirely convinced that this is the most perfect thing for us to do..."

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Almsgiving 101

This is just unbelievable.

This guy gives a homeless man a bogus winning lottery ticket – just so he can give the homeless man a huge payout.

The result is unexpectedly moving.

Enjoy, take a look.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Lent shakes us from lethargy

Pope Francis urged Christians to avoid being seduced by a society that measures the value of humans by how much they own or produce, but to instead turn their focus to God. He said that the true value in life is found not in success, but in what we have inside.

"What matters is not appearances, and the value of life does not depend on the approval of others or of success, but on what we have inside," said the Pope.

In his homily, the Pope said that conversion starts with recognizing that "we are creatures, that we are not God." Too many people today, he added, think they have power and "play at being God the creator."

The Pope said "Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy," and he explained the need for prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Take up your Cross

"I'm in with the 'In Crowd,' boast an old popular song, "I go where the 'In Crowd' goes." This catchy tune is still being remade today (recently it was on a TV commercial), becasue it gives voice to the desire to be popular, admired, a little envied, hip. To be, not "holier than thou" but "cooler than thou."

As an antidote to this desire, Jesus offers us a warning in today's gospel. To follow in his footsteps, he explained, often involves being out of step with the world. As his disciples, we are to think differently, and act differently, from the world around us. In other words, we may not always be "in" with the "In Crowd." This is what Jesus means- at least in part- when he speaks of losing ourselves, even if we've gained the "whole world." In other words, if we confirm ourselves to the world- the "In Crowd," we risk losing ourselves in the process.

Jesus' invitation to daily take up our cross and follow him may lead us to being at odds with the world, and the world as a result may in turn consider us odd. To follow Jesus is not necessarily to "go where the 'In Crowd' goes." Jesus was "rejected," and we may find ourselves rejected too- at least by the "In Crowd." But when all is said and done, that's okay. We may not be "in." But we will find ourselves, and have true life.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Lenten Thought

Dr Greg Popcak gives some sage advice on making spiritual progress over at his blog:

To forgive ourselves doesn’t mean letting ourselves off the hook. It means refusing to give into the temptation to heap coals on ourselves for having failed. St Francis de Sales in his Introduction to the Devout Life reveals the folly of this approach when he notes that our sins tend to be in a flawed attempt to make ourselves feel better. Therefore, the worse we make ourselves feel about our sins and failings the more likely we’ll be to sin again in that same pathetic attempt to making ourselves feel better for having sinned! It truly is a vicious spiritual cycle. If we were to apply Augustine’s formula for forgiveness to ourselves, we’d have to say that forgiving ourselves means surrendering our natural desire to hurt ourselves… for having hurt ourselves. Think about that a minute. How quick are we to heap pain on ourselves for having hurt ourselves? Does that even make sense? How is that supposed to help?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Marianist Monday

What is a Brother in the Marianist tradition?

1. The Brother is one who lives a life of total self-gift to God; nothing is ours and everything is meant to be given away, even our lives.

2. The Brother lives fraternal life in community with his fellow Brothers. Our Community becomes a visible manifestation of charity in the Church. Our Community is the source of our strength. Blessed Chaminade has told us that in living life as Brothers, the interior is the essential.

This means we are dedicated not only to personal prayer, mediation and the rosary but also the common prayer of the Church where we gather to pray three times each day in our Chapels, in addition to celebrating the Eucharist and in being present to the Blessed Sacrament in Eucharistic Adoration.

Sometimes people ask...Why are the schools so successful and different than other schools?...the answer lies not in administrative skills or academic degrees nor in teaching experience but in the prayer life and fraternity that flows from the Marianist Community.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Here is a visual representation of the idea of trust. It uses two performers from Cirque du Soleil to illustrate the notion of trust.