Sunday, October 15, 2017

"Be Not Afraid"

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"Be Not Afraid"
Respect Life Month, October 2017

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Chairman

USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities


My dear friends in Christ:

Once again, we mark the month of October as Respect Life Month. Looking back over the last year, there's been a lot of uncertainty, suffering, and heartache. Between tragedies that occur in the public eye and trials that take place in our personal lives, there's no shortage of reasons we cry out to God.

At such times, we may feel alone and unequipped to handle the circumstances. But we have an anchor of hope to cling to. With words that echo through thousands of years into the corners of our hearts, God says to us, "Do not fear: I am with you" (Isaiah 41:10).

The 2017-2018 Respect Life theme, "Be Not Afraid," reminds us of this promise.

God isn't a detached, distant observer to our pain; the Eternal Son became man and Himself experienced immense suffering—for you and for me. His wounds indicate the very essence of our identity and worth: we are loved by God.

There are times we may doubt the value of our own lives or falter at the thought of welcoming and embracing the life of another. But reflecting on the healed wounds of the Risen Christ, we can see that even our most difficult trials can be the place where God manifests his victory. He makes all things beautiful. He makes all things new. He is the God of redemption.

That's powerful. That's something to hold onto.

And, He is always with us. Jesus promised this when he gave the disciples the same mission he gives to each of us: Go.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we know that our identity and our mission are two sides of the same coin; like the apostles, we are called to be missionary disciples. We are not only invited to follow and take refuge in God, our stronghold, but we are also commissioned to reach out to one another, especially to the weak and vulnerable.

Building a culture of life isn't something we just do one month of the year, or with one event or initiative—it's essential to who we are. It happens through our daily actions, how we treat one another, and how we live our lives.

How do we respond when our aging parents are in failing health? Do they know how much we love them and cherish each day given? Do we ensure they know they are never a burden to us? In our own challenging times, do we ask for support? When others offer a helping hand, do we receive it? When our friend becomes pregnant in difficult circumstances, do we show compassion that tangibly supports her and helps her welcome the life of her new little one?

Sometimes, we may not be sure exactly what to do, but let's not allow the fear of doing the wrong thing or saying the wrong thing keep us from living out our missionary call. We don't need to have everything figured out all at once. Let's remember the guidance of Our Blessed Mother, the first disciple: "Do whatever he tells you" (John 2:5).

Also, I encourage you to visit to see the U.S. bishops' new Respect Life materials centered on the theme "Be Not Afraid." There are articles, bulletin inserts, prayers, action ideas, and more! This Respect Life Month and always, let's walk with each other; let's help each other embrace God's gift of human life. Whatever storms or trials we face, we are not alone. He is with us: "Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Timothy Cardinal Dolan
USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities
October 2017

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Thanks you, Lord!

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There is a classic Dennis the Menace cartoon that depicts an irate Margaret haughtily proclaiming to Dennis as he walks by, "I'm not speaking to you, Dennis Mitchell!" 

The next frame shows Dennis, his eyes rolled heavenward, breathing a heartfelt, "Thank you, Lord."

When confronted with an unexpected grace or an unforeseen groan, is your first response to turn towards God in prayer? The very reason we can be anxious in nothing, that we can rejoice in the Lord, is that God is powerfully present for us in prayer, always. Saint Paul recognizes that a good percentage of our "prayers" are more correctly seen as "supplications" and "requests." Sometimes, when we are feeling spiritually strong and centered, our souls do turn toward God in true prayer, seeking nothing more than a feeling of the holy presence.

Other times, we approach God on our bellies. When our spirits are parched and dragging, we come to God as supplicants _ admitting our own inadequacies and recognizing God as the source of all wholeness. Often, however, we seek out God in prayer with specific requests. Sometimes we know our requests must seem childish and simple to God _ like the two little boys who in early September hopefully donned all their mittens, coats and hats, and perched their sled on the top of a hill and requested of God, "We're ready .... Let 'er rip!" But other times our requests are deeply serious: "Heal her," "Help him," "Hear me."

God wants our prayers, supplications and our requests.

Friday, October 13, 2017


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If we were trying to get Saint Paul's point across with both power and poetry, the best, if not the most linguistically literal translation of this text has to be : "Anxious in nothing, prayerful in everything, thankful in anything .... Then the peace." Only when a Christian has achieved a state of faith that allows those three attitudes to guide his or her life does the "peace of God" settle quietly over the mind and heart.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

"Don't worry, be happy"

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Saint Paul's urges us, "Rejoice in the Lord always," He coontinues, "Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Do this, Paul says, "and the peace of God ... will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." 

We could label Saint Paul's listing in Philippiansas "Don't worry, be happy," probably a reference to the Bobby McFerrin song of the same name.

We doubt, however, that Paul intended his words to be taken in such a carefree and silly way as that song intended. Saint Paul wasn't urging his readers to be mindlessly happy; he was telling them to "rejoice in the Lord," to be in touch with the One from whom real peace and well-being flows. When he spoke of letting our requests be known to God in prayer, he was not prescribing some kind of quick-fix formula or talking in prayer as a tool for feeling better; rather he was pointing his readers toward the One who hears our prayers and loves us. And when Saint Paul talked of the peace of God, he wasn't referring to the state of being without concerns, but to the state of being in harmony with God and the order God has built into our world.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Think on these things

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In the Sunday's second reading,Saint Paul tells us to rejoice in the Lord, to pray with both supplications (requests) and words of thanks, and then, to let their minds dwell on "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable ... and ... anything worthy of praise."

At the end of that list, he adds these words: "think about these things."

If we were to stop reading Saint Paul's letter right there, we might conclude that all he was attempting to do was to give us "something to think about," but, in fact, Paul does not stop there. He adds, "Keep on doing these things." In terms of thinking, he was telling them to fill their minds with virtuous concepts and high-quality motivations, but he went on to say that they should do them too; they should express their high-minded ideals in actions.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Peace trancsends

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The great apostle Paul lived more than 500 years ago, but had his focus squarely on ideas that would last. Writing to the Philippians, Saint Paul urges them to “stand firm in the Lord.”  This was an important word in the midst of an apparent conflict between the two women at odds within the Philippian church. Sensing their anxiousness about the struggle, the apostle urges the community to move out of their present focus on problems and instead “Rejoice” because “The Lord is near.”  “Do not worry about anything,” says Paul reminding them of the bigger picture, but guard your hearts and minds with “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.” It’s a peace that transcends even the cycle of human conflict.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Peace of God

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In yesterday's readings Saint Paul goes on to say, “Do not worry about anything” — especially your failures! But “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
 We Christians are to make our requests known to God, but to realize that God will not always give us what we want. Instead, he will give us what we need — give us what Saint Paul calls “the peace of God,” a total sense of well-being that comes from the Lord and links our hearts and minds to Jesus.

That’s a great gift. It’s a great gift when you are struggling, or feeling miserable, or failing, or dealing with deep anxiety and depression. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

That’s a promise. The promise of peace.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Sunday Word

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Today you will hear the apostle Paul give some guiding principles. He embedded some of them in his letter to the Philippians, from which our second reading comes. He wrote this letter while imprisoned in Rome, and so it probably dates to near the end of his life. In the letter, he refers to some of the things that he has learned along the way, probably in the school of hard knocks. In fact, twice Paul uses the phrase "I have learned ...,"  which is a sure giveaway that whatever he says following those words are likely to be operating standards he relies on for how he goes about his life and work. 

Here are Paul's pithy principles for the Philippians, the guiding principles he observes for his own life and recommends for his Philippian friends:

- Rejoice in the Lord always.

- Let your gentleness be known to everyone.

- Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

- Dwell on the highest things.

Not bad advice for today's times.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Madeleine - Profession

The first Marianists professed their vows in this Sacristy of the Chapel of the Madeleine on December 12, 1817. May they inspire others to join and persevere.

Friday, October 6, 2017

200 Years - Bordeaux

The Meribah Province pauses in the Bordeaux Cathedral for the celebration of the 200 Anniversary of our foundation.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Blessed Chaminade - Pray for us.

The whole Family of Mary is mindful of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade since we are celebrating 200 years of the foundation of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate and the Society of Mary. His presence is particularly felt in Bordeaux, France. The Marianists have held a presence in this area since the earliest days of our Founder.

The USA and Meribah Provinces have met with other Marianists from around the world to capture the spirit and charism of our Founder as we celebrate.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

USA and Meribah Provinces at Bordeaux

Many Marianists know where we were born as a movement, Bordeaux, France, and specifically the Madeleine, the chapel where Chaminade ministered and saw his vision of Church come to life. But how many of us know the story of this building, the rich history it holds for the Marianists and for those who came prior.

by Jean-Baptiste Armbruster, SM
Translated by Thomas A. Stanley, SM

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ours is a great work, a magnificent work

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October, 2017

My dear graduates of Chaminade, Kellenberg Memorial, and St. Martin de Porres Marianist School,

Now, more than ever, the world needs you! 

We live in a world torn by division. Peace is threatened daily by the prospect of nuclear war. Terrorism claims the lives of scores of innocent men and women as the world waits nervously for the news of the next attack. The great superpowers of the globe draw further apart as conflicting national interests override the dream of world peace and international collaboration. Global warming chips away at the polar ice caps as some turn a blind eye to this clear and present danger.

Division has riven our nation as well. An over two-hundred-year-old wound of racial tension has been opened again and again in Baltimore; in Ferguson, Missouri; and most recently, in Charlottesville, Virginia. At the risk of alienating some of you, I must say that some of our leaders seem more adept at trading insults than building bridges. Congress seems incapable of compromise. Identity politics holds tremendous sway and, in some quarters, obscures the notion of some common good towards which we can all strive, regardless of color or creed, ethnicity or economic background.

In a confirmation hearing for a federal appeals court, one United States Senator implied that Notre Dame Law School Professor Amy Coney Barrett might be unqualified for the bench because of her Catholic faith. “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic,” he warily asked. Another Senator opined, “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this county.”

What a sad misunderstanding of the Catholic worldview! The Catholic faith that I learned promotes the unshakeable dignity of every human being, irrespective of race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. The Catholic faith that I know echoes loudly the beliefs of our Founding Fathers: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among those rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The world needs Catholics. Our country needs Catholics – men and women who have an abiding respect for our God-given rights and a profound understanding of our common humanity. Our 
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country desperately needs men and women who see beyond the politics of identity and the economics of entitlement to the politics of inclusion and the economics of self-sacrificing love. Does not every one of you cherish our common humanity because you understand that each of us is made in the imago Dei – the image of God? What more clarion call than that could we issue for healing and harmony in our nation and in our world? 

None, I would suggest. And that is why the world needs you. That is why our country needs you. As graduates of Marianist schools, you understand full well that we are all beloved sons and daughters of God. And what we need now is a revolution – not predicated on political theories or economic systems, but on the simple truth that we are all beloved sons and daughters of God. If we could convince our fellow inhabitants of the planet of this one truth, we would indeed change the world.

You know, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, the founder of the Society of Mary and of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate, confronted a similar challenge in his own day. Faced with religious persecution at the hands of French revolutionaries and the religious indifference of so many of his contemporaries, Blessed Chaminade wrote, “This picture of our times, so sadly accurate, is, nevertheless, far from discouraging to us. Mary’s power stands undiminished. . . . Hers will be the glory of saving the faith from the shipwreck with which it is threatened among us.” (Letter to Retreat Masters, August 24, 1839)

In that same Letter to Retreat Masters, Blessed Chaminade penned the following words: “Ours is a 

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great work, a magnificent work. If it is universal, it is because we are missionaries of Mary, who has said to us, ‘Do whatever He tells you.’ Yes, all of us are missionaries; each one of us has received from the Blessed Virgin a commission to work at the salvation of our brothers and sisters in the world.”

This October 2, we Marianists celebrated the bicentennial of the foundation of the Society of Mary. A year and a half before the foundation of the Marianists, on May 25, 1816, Blessed Chaminade and the Venerable Adele de Batz de Trenquelléon founded the Daughters of Mary Immaculate. As you can well imagine, we Marianists feel particularly blessed by the two-year celebration of this dual foundation of religious congregations. These are indeed exciting times as we remember our roots and look forward to the future.

I challenge all of you to join with me and my fellow Marianists as we look towards the future. I call upon all of you to remember your Catholic and Marianist roots, to stand tall, and to make a difference. I ask all of you to join with us, under the standard of the Blessed Virgin Mary, working at the salvation of our brothers and sisters in the world.

We are missionaries of Mary. The world needs us. The world needs Mary’s missionaries. Will you join us in answering that need?

On behalf of all my Marianist Brothers,

Bro. Stephen

P.S. We are sending the October issue of Magnificat to whatever college mailing address of yours we have on record. If we have no record of your college mailing address, we opted to send this issue of Magnificat to your home. So, if you have a new college mailing address, or if you are a Chaminade or Kellenberg graduate of the Class of 2017 and now know your college mailing address, kindly pass it along by emailing me at Provide us with your college email address as well, and, if you wish, with your mobile phone number, so that we can text you messages about upcoming events.