Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Sunday Word

Whoever loves me will keep my word…
Jesus is looking for hearts that will keep his word.

Of course, he’s not the only one!
Many people give us their word to keep:
friends, spouses, colleagues...
They give us their word of friendship, their word of love,
their word of trust, their word of pledge and promise…

These are people looking for hearts
where they can speak, share and entrust their word
without fear of ridicule or rejection…
They’re looking for hearts in which their word
will be respected, reverenced and treasured…

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Draw near… touch me and see…

St. Paul tells us:
“Eye has not seen and ear has not heard
nor has it even entered the human heart
what God has ready for those who love him.”

The story of Jesus rising from the dead
and the stories of his appearing to his friends
give us a glimpse of what we’ve not yet seen or heard,
of what God has ready for those who love him.

And the Eucharist does the same.
Offering a sacrifice of praise at the altar,
we have a glimpse of the sacrifice Jesus offered on the Cross.
And in the Bread and Chalice of the Eucharist,
Jesus touches us with his Body and Blood.

At this table Jesus says to us,
as he did to his disciples 2,000 years ago,
Draw near… touch me and see…

May the Sacrament we receive as we draw near
help us touch and see that Jesus is risen among us
and give us at least a glimpse
of what God has ready for those who love him.

His endless mercy follows me

Jesus, the Good Shepherd pledges his voice, his word,
for our hearing.
And we hear the Shepherd’s voice in the scriptures, in prayer,
in our hearts and in our minds, in our conscience.
His voice is always there to be heard, to be followed:
though whether we hear and follow where his voice leads - is up to us.

The Good Shepherd promises to know us.
And no one knows me better, no one knows you better,
than Jesus, the Shepherd of us all.
He knows us better than we know ourselves.
He knows us inside out – and still loves us.
He knows everything we do, everything we think of doing
and everything we’ve failed to do – and still forgives us.
He knows the secrets of my heart and all its desires
but still gives us, time after time, opportunities
to improve on our mistakes, to try again, to begin again,
to win again his favor and his love.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, promises us eternal life.
And in light of that promise, anything else we think we need to be happy
pales in comparison.
The problem comes whenever I begin to think
that what I believe I need to be happy this week
is greater, more important or more compelling
than the promise of the gift of life forever.

Finally, Jesus, the Good Shepherd promises us
that we shall not perish,
that no one and nothing can snatch us from his hand.
Indeed, the promise of life forever tells us that even in death,
we do not perish,
that not even death can snatch us from the Shepherd’s hand:
we are always and ever held in the palm of the Lord’s saving hand.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pray
for all the good and gracious things we came to pray for today.
It only means that the happiness, the serenity, the contentment
that any of those things might bring us
is little, indeed,
in light of all that Jesus, the Good Shepherd promises
to us who are in his flock.

The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.
Jesus, my Good Shepherd,
I trust in you alone
for your endless mercy follows me,
your goodness will lead me home…

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Good Shepherd knows my story

The Lord, my good shepherd, knows me
and knows my story,
knows the whole of my story
– and he knows you and your story just as well.

The Lord knows the stories behind our stories.
He knows the simplicities and the complexities,
the joys and the sorrows,
the selfishness and the generosity,
the strengths and weaknesses,
the hopes and disappointments,
the talents and disabilities
and the circumstances and opportunities
that are part of every one of our stories - yours and mine
- and the story of us all together as his people, as the Church.

And he knows and understands how all of these
contribute to the twists and turns, the ups and downs,
the graces and the challenges that weave together
our thoughts, words, deeds, choices and decisions
- into the story that each of our lives is.

But… to say that the Lord knows and understands our stories
does not free us from accountability for our lives and our deeds.

In the greatest story of all, the story of God’s love for all of us,
you and I are living, human characters in God’s story,
created by God and called by God to write the stories of our lives
– as a response to his love for us.

We’re responsible not only for our thoughts, words and deeds:
we’re responsible for the narrative that knits them all together
and responsible for the relationship with God and with others
we spend our lives strengthening – or weakening.

The Lord, my good shepherd, knows me
and knows my story,
knows the whole of my story
– and he knows you and your story just as well.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The good shepherd knows me

The good shepherd knows me as his own
- and he knows me inside out.
And he good shepherd knows you as his own
- and he knows you inside out.

And the good shepherd knows our stories
and with his Spirit’s help he is ever by our side
as we write a new chapter in those stories every day.

That the Lord knows me as well as he does
is no reason to be afraid of him but rather a reason to rejoice
since he himself is no stranger to the human story,
he himself lived our narrative of human pain and suffering,
even through death, laying down his life
to take it up again – and rise.

We gather to tell the story of God’s love for us,
in Word and in Sacrament,
precisely to refresh in our minds and hearts the pattern
by which we’re called to shape and live our own stories.

As we tell again, today, the story of Jesus’ love for us,
of how, on the night before he died, he gave himself to us at his Table
and then on the next day gave himself for us
on the altar of the Cross,
as we tell that story again,
may the narrative of love we hear and celebrate
shape and change the stories of our lives,
our relationship with God,
until his story becomes ours and our story becomes his.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Lord knows me

Image result for israeli shepherd

In naming himself our good shepherd,
Jesus reminds us that he knows us:
“I know my sheep, and they know me.”

The Lord knows me -- the Lord knows you --
the Lord knows everyone of us
better than anyone else knows us or possibly could know us.
The Lord knows me infinitely better than I know myself.

Now, consider what all this means.

It means the Lord knows every one of my faults,
he knows all of my secrets;
he knows things about me that no one else knows;
he knows things about me that I don’t know;
he knows my every thought and desire;
he knows everything I don’t want anyone else to know about me!
All of this is as disturbing as it is true!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tuesday Tunes

The Lord is my Shepherd,
I have all I need,

He makes me lie down in green meadows,
Beside the still waters he will lead.
He restores my soul, he rights my wrongs,
He leads me in a path of good things,
And fills my heart with songs.

Even though I walk through a dark and dreary land,
There is nothing that can shake me,
He has said he won't forsake me,
I'm in his hand.

He sets a table before me in the presence of my foes,
He anoints my head with oil,
And my cup overflows.

Surely, surely goodness and kindness will follow me,
All the days of my life, And I will live in his house,
Forever, forever and ever.

Glory be to our Father, and Brother, And to the Holy of Holies,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, Life, without end.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Brother George R. Zehnle, S.M.

The Province of Meribah recommends to your prayers our dear brother, GEORGE RICHARD ZEHNLE, of the Our Lady of Good Counsel Marianist Community, who died in the service of the Blessed Virgin Mary on April 22, 2018 at the age of 74 with 55 years of religious profession.

May he rest in peace.

The Lord is my Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the meadows where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit.
He guides me along the right path;he is true to his name.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
with these you give me comfort...

-Psalm 23

A place where I want for nothing?
Meadows, fresh and green?
Restful waters to lift my spirits?
Sounds great -- I'm there, Lord!

Well, actually, it's more like I want to get there
and since on many days I'm not there,
I just might need someone
to lead me on the right path, in the right direction -
someone to shepherd me...

I need someone like you, Lord, to shepherd me
from nagging problems and troubles and fears,
from too many worries and distractions
that keep me from just that peaceful place within me
where you wait, patiently,
wait for me to settle down and rest
in the peace that only you can give...

Give me grace to find this place of peace,
the place I often miss because I run too fast
or waste my time or begin to think that I can find
on my own, without your help,
without you there to shepherd me...

Without your shepherd's lead I lose my way,
without your shepherd's crook I go astray,
without your shepherd's voice to call my name
I wander in dark valleys, in confusion and in fear...

But I know you're by my side, Lord,
always showing me the way and finding me
when I run off alone...

Be my shepherd, Lord,
and lead me and guide me
to the meadows of your peace...

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Sunday Word

It's time to look ahead to the Scriptures for this coming weekend, the Fourth Sunday of Easter. Because the Gospel passage on this Sunday each year highlights a particular image of the Lord, this is sometimes called "Good Shepherd Sunday."

On all the Sundays of this Easter season the first reading is taken from the Acts of the Apostles and this week's passage gives us some of the story of Paul and Barnabas and their trials in preaching the gospel.

The second reading in Paschaltide this year is taken from the Book of Revelation, this week's entry offering the interesting image of "the Lamb who will shepherd them..."

From John comes this Sunday's Gospel, only four short verses but dense with truth and content as Jesus speaks to us as our Shepherd.

My Shepherd

The Lord is my Shepherd,
I have all I need,

He makes me lie down in green meadows,
Beside the still waters he will lead.
He restores my soul, he rights my wrongs,
He leads me in a path of good things,
And fills my heart with songs.

Even though I walk through a dark and dreary land,
There is nothing that can shake me,
He has said he won't forsake me,
I'm in his hand.

He sets a table before me in the presence of my foes,
He anoints my head with oil,
And my cup overflows.

Surely, surely goodness and kindness will follow me,
All the days of my life, And I will live in his house,
Forever, forever and ever.

Glory be to our Father, and Brother, And to the Holy of Holies,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, Life, without end.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Holiness: Whole and Holy Together

The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. —Romans 8:16-17

If you’re like me, it’s pretty hard to trust this is true within my small self. I don’t know how to believe that I am a child or heir of God on my own; but together with the whole body of Christ it is somehow easier to believe that in our wholeness we are beautiful. We each have our own little part of the beauty, our own gifts of the Spirit, as Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 12. Paul says that the particular way “the Spirit is given to each person is for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7, Jerusalem Bible). Paul’s word for this is a “charism”—a gift that is given to you not just for your own self, but to build up the community, to build up the society. As an individual, you don’t have the full responsibility of putting it all together, as the false theology of perfectionism claims. All you have to do is discover your one gift and use it for the good of all.

Paul uses the ingenious metaphor of the body to show how unity is created out of diversity: “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. . . . Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it” (see 1 Corinthians 12:12, 27).

So we, in our corporate wholeness, are the glory of God, the goodness of God, the presence of God. As an individual, I participate in that wholeness, and that is holiness. That’s the only holiness we’ll ever know. It’s not my private holiness; it’s our connectedness together. In Peter’s words, echoing the Hebrew Scriptures, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart, who have been called out of darkness into this wonderful light. Once you were not a people at all; now you are the very people of God” (1 Peter 2:9-10). Jesus’ corporate image is the Reign of God or the Kingdom of God. Paul’s is the Body of Christ. John’s is the journey into mystical union where “I and the Father are one” (see John 14:20).

All of them are looking for a corporate, communal, participatory image of what’s really happening, because the individual cannot carry such glory and greatness alone.

Many call this state of consciousness the True Self. We have to fall through the little events of our life into this True Self. We have to fall through our life situation into The One Great Life. We have to fall through our identification with our small mind into the Great Mind of Christ, as Paul calls it (see 1 Corinthians 2:16). We have to fall through our individual body experience into the One Spirit (see Ephesians 4:4-5), through what is manifest into the Unmanifest. There are many names and descriptions for this consciousness, for example, Being itself, “the bosom of Abraham” (Luke 16:22), the Father, or if you were raised Catholic or Orthodox, the arms of Mary. We are always and only grabbing for images and metaphors, but the important thing is the experience of union itself.

Richard Rohr, OFM

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Marianist Three O'Clock Prayer 3

The Three O'Clock Prayer first began as a daily spiritual reunion for the dispersed members of the Sodality, and, even today, it is still considered a spiritual reunion of all members of the Family of 

Mary. Marianists rendezvous at three o'clock to express communion with Mary and the beloved disciple so closely united with Jesus on the Cross. They also rendezvous with other members of the Family of Mary around the world. The Three O'Clock Prayer strengthens the solidarity of those who share in the Hour of Jesus and the Hour of the Woman, meaning in the glorification of Jesus Christ and the entrusting of his ongoing mission to Mary-Church. The Three O'Clock Prayer speaks to apostles and spirituals, to pragmatists and intellectuals. It creates solidarity between those who are in a hurry and those who take their time, between those who speak English and those who speak Titumbuka (Malawi).

The Three O'Clock Prayer makes a difference in our daily routine and educates our spiritual sense. It is a bold prayer; for it is neither directly related to the overall Marianist prayer structure nor is it an integral part of our work schedule. It affirms, in a practical and active way, the living memory of what constitutes the single most important event in human history, the Calvary event. In the midst of a secular occupation and world, the Three O'Clock Prayer witnesses the presence and the critical difference of spiritual reality in human life. The prayerful halt at three o'clock constitutes a clear break from business as usual, and sheds critical light on how we deal with secular reality. Members of the Family of Mary are urged to be both bold and watchful. In the Three O'Clock Prayer we say: "Holy Virgin take us under your protection." Is not this what watchfulness is all about? To be under the protection of Mary, who kept all things in her heart, wasting nothing, pondering everything, critically and prayerfully? The prayer goes on: "Holy Virgin open us to the action of the Holy Spirit." The Spirit is the ultimate reason and source of apostolic boldness.

This passage was taken from Deep Memories: A Marianist Icon by the Rev. Johann G. Roten, S.M.

Monday, April 16, 2018

St. Bernadette Soubirous

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

Each year we send Marianist students to Lourdes to provide service to the pilgrims.  All of our students were awestruck by the simplicity and the profound faith of all at Lourdes.

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

St. Bernadette is the patron of: the poor, the sick, people ridiculed for their piety, and Lourdes, France.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Marianist Three O'Clock Prayer 2

Fr. William Joseph Chaminade, founder of the Marianists, encouraged his spiritual followers to interrupt at three o'clock all professional endeavor and to pause for contemplation. One of the earliest texts (Regulations for the Religious of Mary, 1819) defines this spiritual practice as follows: Every day at three o'clock in the afternoon each one makes a short ejaculatory prayer, each one remains standing wherever he may be; only on Friday does he kneel.

The classical form of the Three O'Clock Prayer was fashioned by Father Simler for the 1885 edition of the "Marianist Prayer Book". For practical reasons, the prayer was shortened and the exact time no longer strictly observed. A special invocation to St. John was added and spiritual identification with the apostle as patron and model was encouraged.

Beginning in 1857, efforts were made to acquaint Marianist students with the three o'clock devotion. This venture, although blessed with modest success, shows that Chaminade's followers were eager to share with others what was dear to their own hearts. The suggestion of the 1928 General Chapter of the Society of Mary, to print the Three O'Clock Prayer on the back of holy cards and to distribute them in classrooms and elsewhere, illustrates a long- standing tradition which until this day has not been interrupted.

This passage was taken from Deep Memories: A Marianist Icon by the Rev. Johann G. Roten, S.M.


"Our hope as Christians is strong, secure, solid in this land, where God has called us to walk, and is open to eternity, because it is founded on God, who is always faithful. We must not forget: God is faithful."

- Pope Francis

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Marianist Three O'Clock Prayer 1

Icons are not necessarily images painted on wood, sometimes they correspond to a strong mental picture or interior representation. One way or the other, icons are like portable altars. They can be erected almost anytime and anywhere. Pilgrims -- such is our condition -- must travel lightly; icons do not weigh down the pilgrim's baggage. Icons are also like "moveable feasts." There is joy in worshipping God with icons, a joy to be shared and passed around.

There exists one such icon of the crucifixion scene. It has a strong built-in theology, reflecting all the important aspects of the Calvary event per John 19:25-27. This icon is the spiritual property of the Family of Mary, a family of Marianist religious and lay people, men and women. This treasure was handed down to them as a precious piece of family heirloom; it represents one of those foundational memories people cast in living hearts and minds. Such a memory helps create a collective identity: as people go along they enrich it and pass it on. This icon, this foundational memory or collective identity, is in fact a prayer called the Three O'Clock Prayer. Simple and unassuming as it may be, it captures not only the deepest memories of Christian faith, but it also conveys the particular spirit which continues to inspire the members of the Family of Mary.

This passage was taken from Deep Memories: A Marianist Icon by the Rev. Johann G. Roten, S.M.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Regina Coeli

The Regina Coeli is one of the four seasonal antiphons of the Blessed Virgin Mary
prescribed to be sung or recited in the Liturgy of the Hours after
night prayer (compline or vespers) from Holy Saturday to the Saturday after Pentecost.

The Latin text of the sung Regina Coeli (sometimes written Caeli) follows:

Regina coeli laetare, Alleluia,
Quia quem meruisti portare. Alleluia,
Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum. Alleluia.

Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia:
For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia,
Has risen, as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

He is Risen, Alleluia!

The Church gives us seasons of celebration that last for weeks. Most people miss it at Christmas trashing the decorations just when things are getting started. Easter too. I'm sure most folks have their sights set on Memorial Day. But every morning when we say morning prayer, the antiphon celebrates Easter with a joyful, "Alleluia!" Every morning I feel a thrill as I think once again of Jesus risen. So here's a video to reflect on during this continuing Easter season. Rejoice and be glad for He is truly risen from the dead and seated at the right hand of God! Alleluia!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Mary Magdala's Easter Prayer

Mary Magdala’s Easter Prayer

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

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

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

by Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

Monday, April 9, 2018

Marianist Monday

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

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

Sunday, April 8, 2018

EASTER JOY: Jesus, I Trust in Thee

Pope St. John Paul II shared these thoughts on Divine Mercy in 2001:

"It is a great joy for me to be able to join all of you, dear pilgrims and faithful who have come here from various nations to commemorate, after one year, the canonization of Sr. Faustina Kowalski, 
witness and messenger of the Lord's merciful love. The elevation to the honors of the altar of this humble religious is not only a gift for Poland, but for all humanity. Indeed the message she brought is the appropriate and incisive answer that God wanted to offer to the questions and expectations of human beings in our time, marked by terrible tragedies. Jesus said to Sr. Faustina one day: 'Humanity will not have peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy' (Diary, 300). Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity at the dawn of the third millennium.... 

"Today the Lord also shows us His glorious wounds and His heart, an inexhaustible source of light and truth, of love and forgiveness.... St. Faustina saw coming from this Heart that was overflowing with generous love, two rays of light which illuminated the world. 'The two rays,' according to what Jesus Himself told her, 'represent the blood and the water' (Diary, 299). The blood recalls the sacrifice of Golgotha and the mystery of the Eucharist; the water, according to the rich symbolism of the Evangelist St. John, makes us think of Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 3:5; 4:14). "Through the mystery of this wounded heart, the restorative tide of God's merciful love continues to spread over the men and women of our time. Here alone can those who long true and lasting happiness its secret."

Saturday, April 7, 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. Ronald Rohleiser, OMI

Friday, April 6, 2018


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

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

Marianist Monday

For us Marianists, the school is first of all a place where the key elements of a culture are transmitted  by means of academic disciplines. 

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

Thursday, April 5, 2018


At the Exsultet:

The light of Christ surrounds us;
the love of Christ enfolds us;
the pow'r of Christ protects us;
the presence of Christ watches over us.

All the earth is ablaze
with the glory of God,
for the light has come
to burn away the darkness.

Let us fill every space
with the sound of our joy,
praising Christ who is
living now among us.

As this candle shines out
through the darkness of night,
may the love of Christ
burn ever in our hearts.

In the East, the Morning Star
rises bright upon you,
in its peaceful light
shines the glory of the Lord.

The light of Christ surrounds us;
the love of Christ enfolds us;
the pow'r of Christ protects us;
the presence of Christ watches over us.

-Marty Haugen

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


Related image

It’s not too late to do what Mary Magdala did
when she found that the heavy work had been done for her -
she went home to tell her friends.

If, this Easter, we realize what Jesus has done for us,
then ours is the work of sharing news of that with others,
with whomever we might meet later today.

Sharing our faith in Jesus might seem to many of us
to be very hard work - but it needn’t be.
Some of us might rather try to move the stone away from the tomb
than have to talk to others about their faith.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song." 

- - Pope John Paul II

Monday, April 2, 2018


April, 2018

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

This morning at our Community Mass, the Communion meditation song was the popular, “Unless a Grain of Wheat.” Based on John 12: 24, the refrain of this song reminds us, “Unless a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die, it remains a single grain. But if it die, it will yield a rich harvest.”
We need only think of the events of Holy Week to confirm the truth of this Biblical verse. Holy Week was more like “Hell Week” for Our Lord. He enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, hailed as a hero. Jesus, however, knows how fickle the crowd can be. He also knows that the Pharisees and Sadducees are conspiring against Him, and that the adulation of the crowd will soon enough turn to animosity and mockery. On Holy Thursday, after He shares His body and His blood with His apostles, He will be betrayed by one of the chosen twelve. He will be denied – three times – by the “rock” on which He will build His Church. Good Friday will see Christ savagely scourged; crowned with thorns; and left to die, nailed to a Cross.

But two days later, Christ rises from the dead, and the harvest is indeed rich. Generations and generations of Christians will claim the crucified and risen Christ as their Lord and God. Thousands of martyrs will go to their deaths for the sake of the crucified and risen Christ, their own deaths adding to the spread of Christianity. As early Christian patriarch Tertullian (c. 150 – c. 240 A.D.) observes, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” And their blood continues to be shed. The twentieth century saw more martyrdoms than all the other centuries of Christianity combined. And lest we be tempted to bemoan the current state of Christianity, let us remember that Christianity remains the largest religion in the world, with approximately 2.1 billion followers across the globe. Indeed, a truly rich harvest!

Holy Week calls us to die to self. Easter reminds us of the rich harvest that will follow.

So many of you probably share the same story of immigrant grandparents or great-grandparents that I have. Some of these patriarchs of our families grew up in what journalist and author Tom Brokaw has called “the greatest generation.” Others were born and grew up a little later, but all made tremendous sacrifices for the sake of their families. All of them denied themselves so many of the luxuries that life offers to save and scrimp for the sake of future generations, for your sake and mine. None of my grandparents – neither Vincent and Irene Balletta nor Michael and Marie Sottosanti – went to college, but they worked hard and lived frugally so that their children could. And those children also worked hard, and made multiple sacrifices, so that the grandchildren of Vincent and Irene, Michael and Marie – all twenty-six of them – earned college diplomas as well. Sacrifices made by one generation for the benefit of future generations: How well this phenomenon exemplifies the wisdom of the Gospel! “Unless a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die, it remains a single grain. But if it die, it will yield a rich harvest.”

My thoughts turn to the many young men and young women who are aspirants and novices, seminarians and temporary professed in our Church. In an age that promotes the self (Look at all the “selfies” we take.) and emphasizes care of the self above all others (Look at the proliferation of self-help articles, books, television shows, and websites.), these young men and women have chosen instead a life for others. For the sake of the Gospel, they have willing accepted any number of deprivations and undertaken considerable self-discipline. They have vowed poverty, chastity, and obedience. (How countercultural!) After a life of considerable independence and self-direction, they have adopted a life of interdependence and direction by their religious communities and their religious superiors. In our own novices and aspirants, I have witnessed the sacrifice that this dying to self entails, but I also know the rich harvest that such heroic commitment yields. Already these young men – and thousands of young men and women like them in seminaries, novitiates, rectories, and religious houses across the globe – are making an indelible impact on the Church. They are witnessing to what Pope Francis has called “the joy of the Gospel.” They are acting as ambassadors for Christ. By the authenticity and generosity of their lives, they are winning souls for the Lord, gathering the rich harvest that Jesus promises.

Allow me to consider one more example. For thirteen years now, Fr. Garrett Long has organized mission trips to help rebuild homes in the wake of hurricane damage. For seven years, approximately twenty students from Chaminade and Kellenberg Memorial traveled down to the Gulf Coast to lend a hand to the rebuilding efforts there. More recently, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the volunteers have concentrated their efforts locally. Dubbed “St. Joseph’s Mission,” the project involves a weeklong commitment during the February vacation. Signing up for the program means giving up many of the perks of the much-anticipated winter break. Sleeping late is out of the question; wake-up time for St. Joseph’s Mission is typically 6:30 a.m. Taking a nice, long, hot shower is not an option – not when twenty-plus people are sharing two bathrooms, as we did for several years when we stayed at a volunteer house in Violet, Louisiana. For some of our students, signing up for St. Joseph’s Mission means forgoing ski tips with friends or Caribbean vacations with family.

To be sure, volunteering for St. Joseph’s Mission means giving up many of the creature comforts and personal freedoms that we are used to. Somehow, however, the volunteers are enormously happy. They describe their days on St. Joseph’s Mission as “life-changing,” and they volunteer for multiple years in a row. Further, I know that many of you have participated in similar mission trips with you parishes or with your universities. The pattern is invariably the same: We give up a great deal – time, creature comforts, our personal space, and a good bit of our own “freedom.” Nevertheless, each participant – without exception – freely admits that he or she has gained so much more in return. I suspect this somewhat paradoxical turn of events can be attributed to what Saint Pope John Paul II calls “The Law of the Gift.” “Man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself,” John Paul II writes, “can fully find himself only through a sincere gift of himself.”

Truly, “unless a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die, it remains a single grain. But if it die, it will yield a rich harvest.”

Thank you – all of you – for choosing to make a sincere gift of yourself. Thank you for choosing to live a life that is both generous and generative. As we celebrate Easter, let us always remember the rich harvest that will be ours through the grace of the risen Lord!

“Unless a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die, it remains a single grain. But, if it die, it will yield a rich harvest.”

On behalf of all my Marianist Brothers,

Bro. Stephen                         

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Alleluia. He is Risen! Alleluia.

Image result for risen christ

Amidst the silence and numbness of his disciples, both then and now, Pope Francis insisted on Saturday during an Easter Vigil Mass, Christ has risen, and this is the message that sustains hope, turning it into concrete gestures of charity.

“How greatly we need to let our frailty be anointed by this experience!” Pope Francis said during the homily he delivered in what the Church’s collection of prayers for the Mass describes as the “mother of all vigils.”

“How greatly we need to let our faith be revived! How greatly we need our myopic horizons to be challenged and renewed by this message! Christ is risen, and with him he makes our hope and creativity rise, so that we can face our present problems in the knowledge that we are not alone,” the Pope said to a packed St. Peter’s Basilica on a stormy Roman night.

To celebrate Easter, Francis said in his homily, “is to believe once more that God constantly breaks into our personal histories, challenging our ‘conventions,’ those fixed ways of thinking and acting that end up paralyzing us.”

“To celebrate Easter is to allow Jesus to triumph over the craven fear that so often assails us and tries to bury every kind of hope,” he continued.

Before the injustice that condemned Jesus, Pope Francis said, his disciples were silent, numb and paralyzed, not knowing what to do “amid so many painful and disheartening situations.”

Later in his homily, he said that today too, those who follow Jesus often remain speechless in the “face of situations we cannot control, that make us feel and, even worse, believe that nothing can be done to reverse all the injustices that our brothers and sisters are experiencing in their flesh.”

Throughout his remarks, Pope Francis often alternated between the third and the second person, drawing a parallel between those depicted in the Gospel as followers of Christ with those who today too follow- and hide, escape, keep silent- before the “calumnies and the false testimony that the Master endured.”

“The empty tomb should challenge us and rally our spirits,” he said. “It should make us think, but above all it should encourage us to trust and believe that God ‘happens’ in every situation and every person, and that his light can shine in the least expected and most hidden corners of our lives.”

Holy Saturday, Francis said, is the silent night of those who follow Christ, who are “disoriented,” because they’re “plunged in a crushing routine that robs memory, silences hope and leads to thinking that ‘this is the way things have always been done’.”

Yet his resurrection, witnessed first by the stone that blocked Christ’s tomb and then by the women who first saw him when he rose from the death, is an invitation, “addressed once more to you and to me,” the pope said.

“Do we want to share in this message of life or do we prefer simply to continue standing speechless before events as they happen?” Francis said, towards the end of his homily.