Thursday, June 30, 2016


Marianist Community Growth

Blessed William Joseph Chaminade

Our communities provide
a climate of continuing growth
which fosters fidelity
to the Spirit of the Lord,
develops the gifts God has given each one,
and strengthens the entire body.

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

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Psalm 4

The psalmist gives a loud cry in Psalm 5: "Give ear to my words, O LORD; give heed to my sighing. Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you I pray."

The writer of the psalm is crying to God, asking for help. In the midst of violence, he begs God to destroy those who are telling lies. Perhaps he has been accused of wrongdoing himself, and is now pleading his case to God. The psalm can be used today by anyone being threatened by wicked, evil, boastful, bloodthirsty or deceitful people.

You know them: Friends who are really enemies -- I've heard them called "frenemies." Thugs. Put-down artists. Those who try to undermine and destroy you. Sleazy people. Anyone who lies, cheats and steals, showing no regard for the welfare of others.

In short, the people who make you want to scream. All of us have them in our lives, every one of us. But yelling at such people face to face is not always an appropriate or productive thing to do.

That's why Psalm 5 encourages us to cry out first to God.

"O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice," says the psalmist; "in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch. For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil will not sojourn with you."

Believe it or not, we can gain relief simply by speaking honestly about our troubles. Some people call it "Talk therapy."  It can do a lot of good for people feeling depressed, stressed or anxious.

So why not talk about your feelings with God, who is the Ultimate Listener? In the morning, plead your case -- ask for help with frenemies and other. Pray for strength to face the challenges of the day, knowing that the Lord is "not a God who delights in wickedness."

Monday, June 27, 2016

Marianist Monday

The painting of Our Mother of Good Counsel is the Mother of Tenderness. The Christ Child nestles close to his mother. The Christ Child rests on Mary's left arm, her head bends toward him, their cheeks touch tenderly. The left hand of the child gently grasps the rim of her dress, indicating the intimacy of nursing.

The image as it is known in the West is traced to the year 1467 to Genazzano, Italy, a small town thirty miles southeast of Rome. It is presently located in a side chapel, built between 1621 and 1629, in the church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, from where the image derives its name. The painting is a fresco executed on a thin layer of plaster not much thicker than paper. One writer describes it as a fresco painted on a material resembling egg shell. It appears suspended in mid-air in its frame, with approximately an inch of space between it and the wall behind it. The work itself probably originates as a fourteenth century Umbrian work.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Lord, I am not worthy

Today's Gospel story centers on a centurion, a man of great faith, who believed that the Lord would cure his servant who was home paralyzed and suffering dreadfully. Jesus assured the centurion that he would come to his home and cure his servant. But, the centurion responded to Jesus with these words “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.”

In response, Jesus was amazed and said to the centurion, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith…You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” And at that very hour his servant was healed. WOW! Really, WOW!!!!

How can one read this piece of scripture and not be in awe of the greatness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ???? While we may not have walked the actual road with Jesus in His time, he is by our side every single day in every single way.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Sunday Word

This week we celebrate the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Our readings are filled with metaphors.

In the second reading, Paul offers a fundamental rule: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Saint Paul warns against biting and devouring one another.

And then in Sunday’s Gospel from Luke, Jesus encounters someone who enthusiastically states: “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus responds: “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

Jesus uses metaphor to explain that to truly follow him one must be ready to leave the comforts of home.

Along his journey Jesus invites another person to follow him. However, the individual asks if he can first stay and bury the dead. Jesus responds: “Let the dead bury their dead.”

And a third person offered to follow Jesus but first wanted to go to say goodbye to his family. Jesus replies: “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Today I pray to hear God’s call to be a true follower of Christ.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Metropolitan Archbishop of Honiara

It’s with great joy that we announce His Holiness Pope Francis has appointed Most Reverend Christopher Cardone, O.P., as Metropolitan Archbishop of Honiara in the Solomon Islands. Honiara, located on the island of Guadalcanal, is the capital of the Solomon Islands. The Archbishop of Honiara is the major prelate for the entire country.

The Kellenberg Memorial Family has supported Bishop Chris in his missionary efforts for many years. Our contributions have been primarily in the area of education. This spring we raised funds to purchase engines for the boats that the parish priests use to go from island to island.

We wish him our prayers as he embraces this new mission and ministry!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A New Saint

Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity.Pope Francis has announced the canonization date of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, a Carmelite nun of the 20th century who will be formally recognized as a saint October 16.

In March, the Pope had acknowledged a miracle worked through the intercession of Blessed Elizabeth, paving the way for her canonization.

“The Lord has chosen to answer her prayers for us…before she died, when she was suffering with Addison's disease, she wrote that it would increase her joy in heaven if people ask for her help,” said Dr. Anthony Lilles, academic dean of St. John's Seminary in Camarillo.

Lilles earned his doctorate in spiritual theology at Rome's Angelicum writing a dissertation on Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity.

“If her friends ask for her help it would increase her joy in heaven: so it increases Elizabeth's joy when you ask her to pray for your needs,” he told CNA. "That's the first reason (to have devotion to her): the Church has recognized the power of her intercession."

Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity was born in France in 1880, and grew up in Dijon close to the city's Carmelite monastery. Lilles recounted that when one time when Bl. Elizabeth visited the monastery when she was 17, “the mother superior there said, 'I just received this circular letter about the death of Therese of Lisieux, and I want you to read it.' That circular letter would later become the Story of a Soul; in fact, what she was given was really the first edition of Story of a Soul.” was a lightning moment in her life, where everything kind of crystallized and she understood how to respond to what God was doing in her heart.

“Elizabeth read it and she was inclined towards contemplative prayer; she was a very pious person who worked with troubled youth and catechized them, but when she read Story of a Soul she knew she needed to become a Carmelite: it was a lightning moment in her life, where everything kind of crystallized and she understood how to respond to what God was doing in her heart.”

Elizabeth then told her mother she wanted to enter the Carmel, but she replied that she couldn't enter until she was 21, “which was good for the local Church,” Lilles explained, “because Elizabeth continued to work with troubled youth throughout that time, and do a lot of other good work in the city of Dijon before she entered.”

She entered the Carmel in Dijon in 1901, and died there in 1906 – at the age of 26 – from Addison's disease.

Elizabeth wrote several works while there, the best-known of which is her prayer “O My God, Trinity Whom I Adore.” Also particularly notable are her “Heaven in Faith,” a retreat she wrote three months before her death for her sister Guite; and the “Last Retreat,” her spiritual insights from the last annual retreat she was able to make.

Cardinal Albert Decourtray, who was Bishop of Dijon from 1974 to 1981, was cured of cancer through Bl. Elizabeth's intercession – a miracle that allowed her beatification in 1984.

The healing acknowledged by Pope Francis March 4 was that of Marie-Paul Stevens, a Belgian woman who had Sjögren's syndrome, a glandular disease.

In 2002 Stevens “had asked Bl. Elizabeth to help her manage the extreme discomforts of the pathology she had, and in thanksgiving, because she felt like she had received graces … she travelled to the Carmelite monastery just outside Dijon,” Lilles said. “And when she got to the monastery, she was completely healed.”

Lilles added that a second reason to have devotion to Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity is because she died “believing that she had a spiritual mission to help lead souls to a deeper encounter with Christ Jesus.”

“You could call it contemplative prayer, or even mystical prayer. She said her mission was to lead souls out of themselves and into a great silence, where God could imprint himself in them, on their souls, so that they became more God-like.”

In prayer, he said, “we make space for (God) to transform us more fully into the image and likeness he intended us to become, but which sin has marred. Contemplative prayer is a means towards this transformation, and Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity believed before she died that her spiritual mission would be to help souls enter into that kind of transformative, contemplative prayer, where they could become saints.”

She understood that the way she loved souls all the way was to help them find and encounter the Lord.

During her time in the Carmel of Dijon, Bl. Elizabeth found encouragement from the writings of St. Therese of Lisieux, particularly her “Offering to Merciful Love,” a prayer found in Story of a Soul, Lilles said: “You find references to the Offering to Merciful Love throughout the writings of Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity, it was probably something she herself prayed often.”

“The second way that Elizabeth of the Trinity was influenced by Therese of Lisieux was a poem that St. Therese wrote called 'Living by Love'; in this poem Therese celebrates how the love of Jesus is the heartbeat, the deepest reality of her life, and because he lived to lay down his life for her, she wants to live to lay down her life for human love, which as the poem goes on, means loving all whom he sends her way, without reserve and all the way, giving people the generous love that we have received from Christ, sharing it with others.”

“That idea deeply, deeply influenced Elizabeth of the Trinity and in fact inspired her own way of life and her own spiritual mission to help lead souls into mystical prayer,” Lilles reflected. “She understood that the way she loved souls all the way was to help them find and encounter the Lord.”

“So, the spiritual missions of Therese of Lisieux and Elizabeth of the Trinity coincide: great theologians like Hans Urs von Balthasar recognized that. And these spiritual missions have both greatly influenced the Church in the 20th and early 21st centuries in very powerful ways.”

“I'm so glad that Elizabeth has been recognized for her part in building up the Church in the 20th century.

Vatican City, Jun 21, 2016 / 03:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- 

Monday, June 20, 2016

God's Will

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, the 17th-century lay monk, who wrote the devotional classic The Practice of the Presence of God worked in the monastery's kitchen. He decided to try to pay attention to God's presence even while going about his culinary duties. He reported that working in the kitchen like a common scullery maid was not much different than when he was alone in his cell meditating. He wrote. "That time of business [in the kitchen]does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I enjoy God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament."

Not everybody is capable of that, of course; some, and perhaps most, people would find the hustle of the kitchen or the negotiating of a road on a bicycle just too distracting to promote good thinking.

The main message is this: It's good for us to find whatever means works best for us to ponder not only the issues of life but also the things of God, whether it be on our beds like the psalmist, in the kitchen like Brother Lawrence, or in a lonely place like Jesus.

Good thinking is not enough by itself to do the work of God. But neither is mindless activity unguided by spiritual reflection enough by itself either.

But steered by clear thinking and powered by rich faith, we can be very much the people who do God's will.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Word

Today's reading from Paul is exciting. It is exciting because the text from Galatians tells that Christ has swept away the conditions of the old law. We are all set free from the forced guardianship of the law. Saint Paul calls Christ the true offspring of Abraham, the first heir of the abundance promised to that patriarch. It is through Christ -- through our baptism in Christ -- that we are now Abraham's children. Through Christ, we become descendants of Abraham and full participants in the promised land of abundant life.

WE are heirs to this promise and we must keep faith with Christ. True heirs to the promise of abundant life.

Our participation in this promise means we live as if the kingdom has arrived. We are making the promise to bring in the kingdom a little more fully every day. Making this promise is a public act -- -- witnessing to others about both the kingdom and the Gospel.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

What’s the Eucharist All About?

Original sin, Christ’s death and Resurrection and the Holy Mass explained in one video

The Sophia Institute for Teachers (a group of Catholic educators who develop inspiring classroom-ready materials to engage students more effectively) have done it again: in this video, part of their series, they explain, with both simplicity and theological depth, the connection between original sin, Christ’s death and Resurrection and the Holy Mass, all of it to explain the Eucharist. Abounding in biblical quotes, salvation history and the theology of the Sacraments, this video will give you a thorough understanding of what the Eucharist means for us as Catholics!

 - See more at:

Friday, June 17, 2016

Making Something Beautiful Out of Failure

 A young man demonstrates what can happen when you don't simply quit “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone…” – Johnny Cash, American songwriter (1932-2003)

Failure is inevitable when we try new things and work to achieve something — in any realm of our lives. Thomas Edison reportedly once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

When we fail, or when our weaknesses are exposed in our attempts to succeed, we can do more than try again — we can trust that God wants to bring something beautiful out of it, with our permission and participation.

This short film brings home the message that beauty can arise from the ashes of failure, and that with a little confidence, trust, and courage, failure can propel us forward, and even inspire us to do something bigger and more amazing. Whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve — in your relationships, work, spiritual life, personal goals — allow God to make something beautiful out of it, even your “failures.”

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Last Priest from Dachau Concentration Camp Dies at 10

Father Hermann Scheipers survived Nazis 
and communists in long career Weak and ill survivors of the Nazi concentration camp in Buchenwald march April 1945 towards the infirmary, after the liberation of the camp by Allied troops.  The man in foreground is General Audibert, an officer in the French Army and member of the French resistance. The construction of Buchenwald camp started 15 July 1937 and was liberated by US General Patton's army 11 April 1945. Between 239,000 and 250,000 people were imprisoned in this camp. About 56,000 died among which 11,000 Jews. On the 5th of April Patton's army liberated the Buchenwald commandos in Ohrdruf. A few thousand Russian and Hungarian Jews, and gypsies were then miserably evacuated from the main camp Buchenwald by the Germans to camps such as Dachau and Fl?ssenburg. On the 11th of April the International Committee (created in August 1943 by the prisoners), who managed to obtain and hide arms during previous shelling, gave the order for an insurrection which pave the way for the US army.  (FILM) AFP PHOTO ERIC SCHWAB AFP PHOTO AFP/ERIC SCHWAB/lab/ls  (Photo credit should read ERIC SCHWAB/AFP/Getty Images)
Father Hermann Scheipers was a young priest in 1940 when he was arrested by the Nazis and taken to the camp, near Munich. Dachau had a large population of priests: some 95% of the 2,720 clergymen imprisoned there were Catholic.

Father Scheipers died June 2 in Ochtrup in Münsterland, the same town where he was born on July 24, 1913.

His work among young people, soon after his ordination, drew the attention of the Nazis. An obituary at KNA, a German Catholic news agency, translated by Mark de Vries, noted:

Because he was sympathetic with Polish forced laborers, celebrated Mass with them and heard their confessions, he was arrested [in] October of 1940 and brought to Dachau five months later. His file, which he came across by chance, states the true reason for his arrest: “Scheipers is a fanatical proponent of the Catholic Church and thus likely to cause unrest among the population.”

He wore the number 24255 on his prison uniform.

Father Scheipers recalled the way the camp commander welcomed him and his fellow inmates: “You are without honor, without help and without rights. Here, you can either work or perish.”

The sign over the entrance to the prisoner camp famously read, “Arbeit macht frei,” or “Work will make you free.”

Father Scheipers’ obituary said that like many of the priests in Dachau, he “slaved away as a field worker, receiving mostly watery soup to eat. Persons who aren’t fast enough are whipped, hung by the arms or drenched with icy water. Many die.”

“The only thing one could do was escape or pray,” Father Scheipers recalled in his memoirs, Gratwanderungen – Priester unter zwei Diktaturen (Balancing Act – Priest Under Two Dictatorships).

At one point he was in danger of being sent to the gas chamber, but was spared death when his twin sister, Anna, pleaded with officials in Berlin, warning them of a strong reaction among the Catholic population in Münsterland if such an execution were to occur.

A fellow priest was not as lucky, and years later, Father Scheipers would movingly recall how he gave him his ration of bread before he was taken to his death. “Every time when I celebrate Mass and break the bread, I think of that,” he said.

Finally, in April of 1945, Father Scheipers managed to escape from a death march towards Bad Tölz.

After the war he returned to his former place of work in the Diocese of Dresden-Meißen. He resisted those in power in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). When Scheipers found his Stasi file after the fall of communism, he discovered that 15 spies had been on his case and that a trial against him for distributing subversive propaganda was to be convened.

“I was in Dachau for the exact same reasons,” Scheipers commented.

Another account of a Catholic priest at Dachau was given by Father Jean Bernard, author of Priestblock 25487.

- John Burger

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Would that Everyone Could be a Prophet

Robert Barron of Word on Fire Ministries gave a terrific homily a couple years ago at Church of St. Mary’s in Chicago. The homily is entitled, “Would that Everyone Could be a Prophet.”

From the readings, we see Joshua being jealous of the prophesying by the two elders who were not at the meeting with Moses. In the gospel, we see John complaining that some people are casting out demons in Jesus’ name, even though they were not part of his apostles. In both cases, Moses and Jesus chastise the complainers for trying to stop these works of God. Also, Fr. Barron tells us, this is the root of the problem between Saul and David, and Saul’s jealously of the divine gifts to David, threw Israel into civil war.

Fr. Barron reminds us that when we sow dissension, jealousy and turf wars, we waste the grace that God has extended to us. Instead, he challenges us to look for the grace in us, and in those around us, and cooperate with it:

The spiritual life is really about one thing: it’s about our cooperation with grace….Grace–God’s love–is surging into the world at all times, according to God’s purposes, God’s will. Our job is pretty simple: it’s to notice it and once we notice it to cooperate with it, get on board with it. Cooperate. Whether that grace is coming directly to me, or to someone else. Whether it is according to my expectations or outside my expectations…Wherever it appears, get on board, cooperate with it!

When the ego takes over, the flow of grace is blocked. That’s the central tragedy of sin. God’s love wants to surge into the world, but He gives us the privilege of cooperating with it. We can block it if we make our own ego central.

Watch the homily below.

Part 1

Monday, June 13, 2016

Marianist Sisters

The Marianist sisters, formally known as the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate (F.M.I.), trace their origin to the aftermath of the French revolution. Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon left an aristocratic life to found this first vowed religious branch of the Marianist family in Agen, France, from an association of young women. Blessed William Joseph Chaminade similarly founded the Society of Mary with brothers and priests a year later among lay communities in Bordeaux.

Today, Marianist Sisters live and work on five continents and in 14 countries. In the United States, their service through local schools, parishes and nonprofits has enhanced the education, spiritual and social development of thousands of children and adults.

“Our Marianist founders’ vision for rebuilding society and church through a network of dynamic and engaged faith communities is as applicable today as it was 200 years ago,” said Sister Leanne Jablonski, director of the Marianist Environmental Education Center at Mount St. John and Hanley Sustainability Institute scholar-in-residence for faith and environment.

“Marianist sisters today live Adele’s spirit by collaborating with our other Marianist branches and with other organizations to address justice concerns, including the needs of women, children, the environment, and those in poverty. In Pope Francis’ spirit of hope, mercy and care, we are joyfully building a church and world where no one is left out.”

At least one sister has been active at the University of Dayton campus since 1962. Some years as many as four or five sisters have been involved in campus ministry, served on the faculty, focused on community outreach and education or worked in the Marian Library.

“We focus on living Mary’s mission in whatever way we are called,” said Sister Laura Leming, associate professor of sociology. “We take seriously Father Chaminade’s focus on Mary’s saying, ‘Do whatever He tells you.’ We’re educators in faith and we build community wherever we are, whether as teachers, religious educators, social workers, or building health care centers in India and Africa.”

The sisters will open a new mission in Malawi this fall in honor of their bicentenary. The Marianist family will continue international celebrations through 2018, including events to mark the bicentennial of the founding of the Society of Mary on Oct. 2, 1817, and the Feast of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade on Jan. 22, 2018.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Amazing Grace

It was William Auden, I think, who wrote that when grace enters a room everyone begins to dance.

Would this were so! More often the opposite happens, grace enters a room and instead of dancing we become discontent and our eyes grow bitter with envy. Why? Nikos Kazantzakis, the great Greek writer, tells a story of an elderly monk he once met on Mount Athos. Kazantsakis, still young and full of curiosity, was questioning this monk and asked him: “Do you still wrestle with the devil?” “No,” replied the old monk, “I used to, when I was younger, but now I’ve grown old and tired and the devil has grown old and tired with me.” “So,” Kazantsakis said, “your life is easy then? No more big struggles.” “Oh, no!” replied the old man, “now it’s worse. Now I wrestle with God!” “You wrestle with God,” replied Kazantsakis, rather surprised, “and you hope to win?” “No,” said the old monk, “I wrestle with God and I hope to lose!”

There comes a point in life when our major spiritual struggle is no longer with the fact that we are weak and desperately in need of God’s forgiveness, but rather with the opposite, with the fact that God’s grace and forgiveness is overly-lavish, unmerited, and especially that it goes out so indiscriminately. God’s lavish love and forgiveness go out equally to those have worked hard and to those who haven’t, to those who have been faithful for a long time and to those who jumped on-board at the last minute, to those who have had to bear the heat of the day and to those who didn’t, to those who did their duty and to those who lived selfishly.

God’s love isn’t a reward for being good, doing our duty, resisting temptation, bearing the heat of the day in fidelity, saying our prayers, remaining pure, or offering worship, good and important though these are. God loves us because God is love and God cannot not love and cannot be discriminating in love. God’s love, as scripture says, shines on the good and bad alike. That’s nice to know when we need forgiveness and unmerited love, but it’s hard to accept when that forgiveness and love is given to those whom we deem less worthy of it, to those who didn’t seem to do their duty. It’s not easy to accept that God’s love does not discriminate, especially when God’s blessings go out lavishly to those who don’t seem to deserve them.

Allow me to share a story: When I as first ordained, I lived for a time in one of our Oblate rectories with a semi-retired priest, a wonderfully gracious man, who had been a faithful priest for fifty years. One evening, alone with him, I asked him: “If you had your priesthood to do over again, would you do anything differently?” The answer he gave me was not the one I’d anticipated. “Yes,” he said, “I would do some things differently. I’d be easier on people than I was this time. I’d risk the mercy and forgiveness of God more.” Then he grew silent, as if to create the proper space for what he was about to say, and added: “Let me say this too: As I get older I’m finding it harder and harder to accept the ways of God. I’ve been a priest for fifty years and I’ve been faithful. I can honestly say, in so far as I know, that in my whole life I’ve never committed a mortal sin. I’ve always tried my best and done my duty. It wasn’t easy, but I did it with essential fidelity. And you know something? Now that I’m old I’m struggling with all kinds of bitterness and doubt. That’s natural, I guess. But what upsets me is that I look around me and I see all kinds of people, young people and others, who’ve never been faithful, who’ve lived selfish lives, and they’re full of faith and are speaking in tongues! I’ve been faithful and I’m full of anger and doubt. Tell me, is that fair?”

In the end, we need to forgive God and that might be the hardest forgiveness of all. It’s hard to accept that God loves everyone equally – even our enemies, even those who hate us, even those who don’t work as hard as we do, even those who reject duty for selfishness, and even those who give in to all the temptations we resist. Although deep down we know that God has been more than fair with us, God’s lavish generosity to others is something which we find hard to accept. Like the workers in the Parable of the Vineyard who toiled the whole day and then saw those who had worked just one hour get the same wage as theirs, we often let God’s generosity to others warp both our joy and our eyesight.

But that struggle points us in the right direction. Grace is amazing, by disorienting us it properly orients us.

Fr. Ronald Rohlheiser, O.M.I.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Sunday Word

There' still time to study the Scriptures for the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. It is in this preparation that we will be better prepared to hear, understand, receive, and be nourished by the Lord's Word on Sunday.

The first reading text from 2 Samuel continues to relate stories of David and his unique brand of kingship over Israel. This week for the second time the prophet Nathan appears on the scene. There is some suggestion that Nathan's sudden appearance should be seen as a later insertion into the continuing story of David's scandalous behavior with Bathsheba and its consequences. Nathan's presence serves to reveal the shameful nature of David's sin and explains the punishments that follow.

Then the apostle Paul weighs in. He seems to lend some weight to the antinomian argument: "No one will be justified by the works of the law." If following the rules of the road will not get us to our destination, then why bother at all? Paul, of course, is writing to Gentiles who were - from a Jewish standpoint - natural-born sinners, and to Jews who prided themselves on their connections: The rules of the road would save them. Or so they thought.

Jesus does not mince words in today's Gospel reading when he says, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Forgiveness found through faith sets us free.

Getting down to the nitty gritty, one might ask Jesus, “What does my faith save me from?” Or you might ask me, “What does forgiveness free us from?”

Friday, June 10, 2016

Psalm 1

Blessed is the man who does not walk
in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the way of sinners,
nor sit in company with scoffers.

Rather, the law of the LORD is his joy;

and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted near streams of water,
that yields its fruit in season;

Its leaves never wither;
whatever he does prospers.

But not so are the wicked, not so!
They are like chaff driven by the wind.
Therefore the wicked will not arise at the judgment,
nor will sinners in the assembly of the just.
Because the LORD knows the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.


One of the many Christian storytellers of modern times was a Jesuit priest from India by the name of Anthony de Mello. One of de Mello's many parables is about a young lady who was in a coma, slowly dying. As the woman lay on her sickbed, she had a sudden feeling that she had been taken up to heaven, and was standing before the judgment seat of God.

She could see nothing; only clouds of dark smoke. But then, out of the billowing smoke, came a sonorous voice: "Who are you?"

Not knowing what else to say, she turned to the answer she had used most often in life. "I'm the wife of the mayor," she replied.

"I did not ask you whose wife you are, but who you are."

"I'm the mother of four children," she continued.

Again came the answer: "I did not ask whose mother you are, but who you are."

"I'm a schoolteacher."

"I did not ask you your profession, but who you are."

And so it went. The same question repeated, over and over -- but no matter what the woman replied, her answer was unacceptable.

Finally, she thought to try another answer: "I'm a Christian," she said.

But that, too, was unacceptable: "I did not ask what your religion is, but who you are."

"I'm the one who went to church every week, and always helped the poor and needy."

"I did not ask you what you did, but who you are."

De Mello concludes his parable by observing that the woman evidently failed the examination, for she was sent back to earth. Soon after, she awakes from her coma, and resumes her life. But something is different. Something has changed about her. From that day forward, the woman resolves to discover who she is. And that, the storyteller concludes, makes all the difference.

So who are you -- really?

Strip away all those layers you have spent your life carefully building up -- all those labels, those titles, those definitions -- and what's left? What is the essential core of yourself that God sees?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Salt and Light

Christians are to be salt of the earth and light of the world, and there’s a ‘battery’ that we can use to never run out of either.
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Casa Santa Marta - OSS_ROMAccording to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father stressed this during his daily morning Mass today at Casa Santa Marta, as he recalled today’s Gospel reading.

The Pope drew inspiration from today’s Gospel reading, when Jesus tells His disciples “You are the salt of the earth,” “You are the light of the world.” Christians, he said, must be salt and light, but never self-serving: salt must add flavor and light must illuminate the other.

The ‘Battery’

The Pope went on to ask, “What must a Christian do in order for the salt not to run out, so that the oil to light the lamp does not come to an end?” The “battery” a Christian uses to generate light, the Pope explained, is simply prayer.

“There are many things one can do, many works of charity, many great things for the Church – a Catholic University, a college, a hospital – you may even be rewarded as a benefactor of the Church with a monument, but if you do not pray, it will be dark and dimly lit,” he advised.

Prayer, Francis continued, is what lights up Christian life, and is a “serious” matter. He underscored that our prayers, in all their forms, must come from the heart.

Regarding the salt that Christians are called to be, he noted, “it becomes salt when it is given to others.” This, Francis explained, is another Christian attitude: “to give of oneself, to give flavor to the lives of others, to give flavor to many things with the message of the Gospel.”

How We Don’t Run Out of Salt, Light

“Salt is something to be used, not to keep for oneself, but to give to others. It’s curious,” he continued, “both salt and light are for others, not for oneself: salt does not give flavor to itself; light does not illuminate itself.”

“Of course, you may be wondering how long salt and light can last without running out if we continue to give of ourselves relentlessly,” he acknowledged, noting, “That’s where the power of God comes in, the Pope explained, because the Christian is salt given to us by God during Baptism, it’s a gift that never ends.”

Pope Francis urged Christians to shine brightly and always overcome the temptation to shine light upon themselves. Calling it ‘mirror spirituality,’ the Argentine Pope said, “It is a bad thing” to want to shine light onto oneself.

“Be light to illuminate, be salt to give flavor and to preserve,” Pope Francis concluded.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Seminarians and Novices. That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.

Following Christ, we are all called to be missionaries. Pope Francis wrote that “if every baptized person is called to bear witness to the Lord Jesus by proclaiming the faith received as a gift, this is especially so for each consecrated man and woman. Since Christ’s entire existence had a missionary character, so too, all those who follow him closely must possess this missionary quality” (World Mission Day Message, 2015).

He went on: “Mission is a passion for Jesus. When we pray before Jesus crucified, we see the depth of his love. At the same time, we realize that the love flowing from Jesus’ pierced heart expands to embrace the People of God and all humanity.”

Those who have experienced the deep love of the Heart of Jesus and give themselves totally to God’s service as priests and religious sisters and brothers—these consecrated ones are called to share his passion for mission. They cannot keep the Good News of God’s love to themselves. But they need preparation so that their initial experience of God’s love may grow and so that they will know the best ways to share that love.

Seminarians and those beginning consecrated life in religious communities need teachers who will guard the spark that inspired them to serve God. They need joyful and wise mentors who will fan the spark into flame in such a way that it does not burn too fast and burn out but rather burn with the steady light and warmth that is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “the burning furnace of charity.”

We join Pope Francis in praying that dioceses and communities may commit some of their best people to the formation of future priests, sisters, and brothers.

How am I helping in the education and formation of future priests, sisters, and brothers?

Acts 18: 24-28 Priscilla and Aquila took Apollos aside and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

How to Catch, Pickle and Eat Herring

 1st Corinthians 10:31 couldn’t be more clear.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Monday, June 6, 2016

Marianist Monday

On Wednesday, May 31st, at the Chapel of the Assumption of Chaminade High School, Brother Timothy Driscoll, S.M. was installed the Provincial of the Province of Meribah. Father Thomas Cardone, S.M. was installed as the Assistant Provincial at the same ceremony.

Brother Timothy succeeds Brother Thomas Cleary, S.M.. who just completed his second term as Provincial Superior. And Father Thomas succeeds Father Garrett Long as Assistant Provincial.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Sunday Word

Our Gospel today is vividly called to mind with the image above. It calls to mind a funeral story. It is the story of the raising of the widow's son at Nain. 

Nain was a small town in the Galilee region. As Jesus and his disciples arrived with a large crowd in tow, a funeral procession was heading out of the gate. A widow's son had died, which was a double tragedy. Not only would this woman have been grieving deeply over the loss of her only son, the funeral procession also meant that her own future was likely on the way out as well, since she would have no one to support her.

The procession was large because people normally dropped whatever they were doing to follow along. Fascination with death was a Jewish thing.  Funeral rites in ancient Israel followed very strict protocols. According to custom, the bereaved mother would walk in front of the stretcher bearing the deceased and no one but the closest family members would have touched the body as it was prepared for burial. Those in the crowd knew that just touching the stretcher would expose a person to a day's worth of ritual uncleanness, while touching the body would make you unclean for a week. The grieving mother, walking ahead of her dead son, was likely alone because she had been the one to wash and prepare the body for burial.

When Jesus saw her, "he had compassion for her." He says, "Do not weep," and then, shockingly, he touched the stretcher, exposing himself to the uncleanness of death. In this case, however, everything goes backwards. It's Jesus cleanness that transfers to the corpse. "Young man, I say to you, rise!" commanded Jesus, and "the dead man sat up and began to speak."

No doubt there were a few people who passed out. Some certainly screamed while others might have called the paramedics if there were any. Luke tells us, however, that, "Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God saying, 'A great prophet has risen among us!' and 'God has looked favorably on his people.'" While this was certainly an unusual event, the people of Nain also knew that it wasn't unprecedented. Immediately, they would have remembered the story of Elijah raising the dead son of the widow in Zarephath and would recognize Jesus as a similarly great prophet. As Elijah raised the widow's son and "gave him to his mother," so Jesus brought the widow of Nain's son back to life and "gave him to his mother."  Death was pushed back, the family restored, and new hope given.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Immaculate Heart of Mary

Charles Dickens wrote a great novel entitled: The Tale of Two Cities. We could borrow some of that title for our feast today and call today the Tale of Two hearts. Yesterday’s Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and today’s feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Through these two hearts, God has drawn countless souls to himself.

We pray that their hearts will reign and triumph over all for the salvation of our souls and the whole world. Since my own childhood, perhaps like many of you, I grew up with a strong devotion to both the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart.

I recall often our parish priest inviting us to pray the litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, repeating with ever greater intensity, “heart of Jesus,” “heart of Jesus,” and the prayer of reparation and consecration.

Many a home is enshrined with the statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart have watched over many a home from those little ledges.

The tale of two hearts is a tale of the illogical and incomprehensible love of God for us. We cannot explain why God loves us so much.

The heart of Jesus and the immaculate heart of Mary then are shrines of this divine love. They both, to their own degree, one by the God man and one by the perfect vessel of grace, reflect and mirror for us this most central of all beliefs that God is love. Try as hard as we may, we simply cannot explain the reasons for this, for God should have given up on our humanity long ago, but he didn’t. Perhaps, we will never know the reasons until we get to heaven.

I recall the 17th century philosopher Blaise Pascal, who at the end of this life wrote this timeless truth: The heart has reasons of which reason knows nothing. No truer words have ever been spoken especially as they relate to the Tale of these two hearts.

Mary inspires us to keep our hearts set on God, as God’s heart is set on us.

Today in this Eucharist, on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Jesus knocks at the door of our heart. In us, He wishes to take up His abode and, through our body, enter human history. When we welcome Him, He gives birth to divinity within our hearts.

Allow me to finish with some words of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who – as if from behind a curtain – watches the encounter between the Archangel Gabriel and Mary. His words urge us to give ourselves in faith, hope and love to a truth that has been attested to throughout the ages: “Without God, nothing is possible. With God, all things are possible”:

“You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit.

The angel awaits an answer … we too are waiting.

On your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.

Answer quickly, O Virgin … Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word.

Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter.

Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord’, she says, ‘be it done to me according to your word’

Thursday, June 2, 2016


St. Benedict at Meribah-the Chaminade Retreat House

Today's readings calls to mind the most sacred text of Israel is Deuteronomy 6:4-5, the famous Shema Yisrael:

"Hear, O Israel: 
The LORD is our God, 
the LORD alone. 
You shall love the LORD your God 
with all your heart, 
and with all your soul, 
and with all your might."

There are two principal elements to the Shema: 
the declaration of radical monotheism 
and the commandment to love God with every part of ourselves. 

Yet, there's an often-overlooked part of the Shema that precedes these two great emphases: the preface, "Hear, O Israel."

The first and foremost duty of Israel, even before monotheistic devotion and striving to love God, is to listen.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

St. Justin Martyr - Father and Apologist

To be an early Christian in Rome was quite a dangerous thing; to be a Christian was to recognize an authority above the Empire- something Rome couldn't tolerate.

In later years, Justin Martyr recalled that even before his conversion, he recognized the fallacy of Rome's perception of Christians:

“For I myself, too, when I was delighting in the doctrines of Plato, and heard the Christians slandered, and saw them fearless of death, and of other things which are counted fearful, perceived that It was impossible that they could be living in wickedness and pleasure. For what sensual or intemperate man, or who that counts it good to feast on human flesh, could welcome death that he might be deprived of his enjoyments, and would not rather continue always the present life, and attempt to escape the observation of the rulers.” - The Second Apology of Justin

Pope & Celebrities

The Pope was hanging out this past Sunday with some Hollywood celebrities. The celebrities received an award in the Vatican for their work.

 “When peoples, families, friends separate, only animosity and even hatred can come out of that division. But when they come together in a ‘social friendship,’ we find a defense against every kind of throwaway culture,” Francis said.

 The award, “Medal of the Olive,” was presented by the Scholas Occurentes Pontifical foundation, a project of Francis, first conceived when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, and which has become a worldwide network of schools that through sports, technology and arts tries to promote the “culture of encounter.”