Friday, August 31, 2018

Marianist education

"Marianist education aims to sow, cultivate, and bring to fruition the Christian spirit in the human race. For this reason, in all our educational institutions, formation in faith and the animating of Christian communities are truly our priorities."

Rule of Life

Thursday, August 30, 2018

St. Jeanne Jugan, pray for us.

Today we celebrate the feastday of St. Jeanne Jugan. Jeanne Jugan is the foundress and first Little Sister of the Poor. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 3, 1982 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11, 2009.
We have been blessed in so many ways to share in the mission of the Little Sisters of the Poor for so many years.

Blessed be God!


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Marianist Educators

"God calls us as educators to extend the reign of God in the world through the Church. Education serves the Church by evangelizing, working to transform the world and its people, inviting them to a deeper following of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Alert to the signs of the times and faithful to Marianist traditions, we consider ourselves “in a permanent state of mission….forming persons and communities in a lived faith expressed in service responsive to the needs of the times."
Rule of Life

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Schools open!

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Kellenberg Memorial is open!

The Marianists and committed lay people venture to build faith communities in our schools. Here at Kellenberg our spirit of faith, community, service and hospitality defines the campus.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Schools Open

Welcome to the Class of 2022!

The Marianist high schools have begun!

For Chaminade High School the 3-C Program (Community, Confidence, and Commitment) instills a sense of belonging to a long tradition of Catholic young men.

Students are introduced to academics, athletics, activities, the spirit of the school, and its religious identity. The Chaminade Family assists to develop the whole person – mind, body, and soul. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Sunday Word 2

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As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."

It is never too late to begin your preparation for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Gospel text comes from Saint John.

In this Sunday's Gospel text, Jesus is deserted by "many of his disciples" because of his refusal to tell the people what they wanted to hear. His flesh and blood imagery was both too gutsy and too graphic, too fantastic and too unreal for a large portion of his audience. The great irony of this text is that the very message that reveals how we may personally experience the intimacy of God in our lives is the message that leads us to turn our backs on Jesus -- the one who is the divine gift of life.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Sunday Word 1

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Sunday's selection ends with Saint Peter asking the question. As usual, Peter speaks for the group: “Lord, to whom can we go?”

Another great question. If we wish to go away, to whom are we going to go? Where will we go? What destination offers more hope than the place we’re at? What person offers answers that are more meaningful than those we get from Jesus?

So Peter says, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Sometimes it’s hard to know when we’ve got it so good. Peter understood. He wasn’t going — not yet, anyway. Later, he lost his nerve. For now, he was staying the course.

Jesus has the words of eternal life. In him we have shelter for the soul.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Heavy stuff

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In the 6th chapter from Saint John, we have a remarkable summary of the wide range of Jesus’ ministry. He teaches the multitudes; he feeds the multitude with five barley loaves and two fish. He walks on water and thus becomes known to the disciples as one who casts out fear. He describes himself as the Bread of Life. He identifies his own purposes with those of the Father. He suggests that his own flesh and blood will become the source of life for others.

This is very heavy stuff.

"As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life." They no longer accompanied him.These so-called disciples were not those whom Jesus himself had invited to walk with him. Instead they were the curious, not the committed, who had entertained notions of following Jesus, but, upon finding out what Jesus was really all about, they left.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Queenship of Mary

Queenship of Mary

We celebrated yesterday a great Marianist feast, the Queenship of Mary.

In this feast, particularly cherished by the Popes of modern times, we celebrate Mary as the Queen of Heaven and Earth.

Pope Pius XII in the Papal Encyclical Ad Coeli Reginam proposed the traditional doctrine on the Queenship of Mary and established this feast for the Universal Church.

Pope Pius IX said of Mary's queenship: "Turning her maternal Heart toward us and dealing with the affair of our salvation, she is concerned with the whole human race. Constituted by the Lord Queen of Heaven and earth, and exalted above all choirs of Angels and the ranks of Saints in Heaven, standing at the right hand of Her only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, she petitions most powerfully with Her maternal prayers, and she obtains what she seeks."

And Pope Pius XII added the following: "We commend that on the festival there be renewed the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Upon this there is founded a great hope that there will rejoice in the triumph of religion and in Christian peace...

...Therefore, let all approach with greater confidence now than before, to the throne of mercy and grace of our Queen and Mother to beg help in difficultly, light in darkness and solace in trouble and sorrow...

. . Whoever, therefore, honors the lady ruler of the Angels and of men - and let no one think themselves exempt from the payment of that tribute of a grateful and loving soul - let them call upon her as most truly Queen and as the Queen who brings the blessings of peace, that She may show us all, after this exile, Jesus, who will be our enduring peace and joy."

Monday, August 20, 2018

Marianist Monday

Fr. Daniel celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving with his Marianist Brothers and family in the Chapel of the Transfiguration at Kellenberg Memorial yesterday after his ordination.

Fr. Daniel will teach at Kellenberg Memorial in the Latin School starting in September.

This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Mass of Thanksgiving

Today newly ordained Father Daniel will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving in the Chapel of the Transfiguration at Kellenberg Memorial High School.

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

A new Marianist priest!



Thanks be to God! Fr. Daniel Griffin, S.M. '02 was ordained to the priesthood in the Society of Mary. The ordination liturgy was celebrated at Kellenberg Memorial HS, where Fr. Dan attended and later taught in the Latin School before studying for the priesthood.

Friday, August 17, 2018

New Marianist Novice!

It's hard to say what's most exciting about the young man making promises of the Novitiate.
Is it seeing him in his habit for the first time or just hearing his own enthusiasm following his call to religious life.

On Wednesday, August 15th we added Thomas Terrill to the Marianist Community.

The novitiate year is given primarily to prayer and study, which may not sound as exciting as Novitiate Promises unless one has a taste of how exciting the encounter with the Lord and our own need for conversion can be!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

True inner silence

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This excerpt on silence comes from In the Heart of the World by Mother Teresa. This powerful portrait of one of the most beloved women of all time is told in her own words through a fascinating blend of daily life experiences, prayers, and spiritual wisdom. Enjoy!

To make possible true inner silence, practice:

Silence of the eyes, by seeking always the beauty and goodness of God everywhere, and closing them to the faults of others and to all that is sinful and disturbing to the soul.

Silence of the ears, by listening always to the voice of God and to the cry of the poor and the needy, and closing them to all other voices that come from fallen human nature, such as gossip, tale bearing, and uncharitable words.

Silence of the tongue, by praising God and speaking the life-giving Word of God that is the truth, that enlightens and inspires, brings peace, hope, and joy; and by refraining from self-defense and every word that causes darkness, turmoil, pain, and death.

Silence of the mind, by opening it to the truth and knowledge of God in prayer and contemplation, like Mary who pondered the marvels of the Lord in her heart, and by closing it to all untruths, distractions, destructive thoughts, rash judgments, false suspicions of others, vengeful thoughts, and desires.

Silence of the heart, by loving God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength; loving one another as God loves; and avoiding all selfishness, hatred, envy, jealousy, and greed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Assumption of Our Lady

Today, Catholics and many other Christians celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This significant feast day recalls the spiritual and physical departure of the mother of Jesus Christ from the earth, when both her soul and her resurrected body were taken into the presence of God.

Venerable Pope Pius XII confirmed this belief about the Virgin Mary as a teaching of the Church when he defined it formally as a dogma of Catholic faith in 1950, invoking papal infallibility to proclaim, “that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

Although the bodily assumption of Mary is not explicitly recorded in Scripture, Catholic tradition identifies her with the “woman clothed with the sun” who is described in the Book of Revelation.

The passage calls that woman's appearance “a great sign” which “appeared in heaven,” indicating that she is the mother of the Jewish Messiah and has “the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” Accordingly, Catholic iconography of the Western tradition often depicts the Virgin Mary's assumption into heaven in this manner.

“It was fitting,” St. John of Damascus wrote in a sermon on the Assumption, “that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death,” and “that she, who had carried the creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles.”

In Eastern Christian tradition, the same feast is celebrated on the same calendar date, although typically known as the Dormition (falling asleep) of Mary.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

In the Heart of the World

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This excerpt on silence comes from In the Heart of the World by Mother Teresa. This powerful portrait of one of the most beloved women of all time is told in her own words through a fascinating blend of daily life experiences, prayers, and spiritual wisdom. Enjoy!

* * *
“Yesterday is gone.
Tomorrow has not yet come.
We have only today.
Let us begin.”

In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.

There is a very holy priest, who is also one of the best theologians in India right now. I know him very well, and I said to him, “Father, you talk all day about God. How close you must be to God!” And do you know what he said to me? He said, “I may be talking much about God, but I may be talking very little to God.” And then he explained, “I may be rattling off so many words and may be saying many good things, but deep down I do not have the time to listen. Because in the silence of the heart, God speaks.”
* * *

We cannot put ourselves directly in the presence of God if we do not practice internal and external silence.

In silence we will find new energy and true unity. Silence gives us a new outlook on everything.

Monday, August 13, 2018

In response to God's silence

Silence. It can be a reservoir of flowing peace and nourishing grace. It can call to mind our cherished identity, compelling us to respond to God and others with that same, first love he has shown us. Or it can be cold and sterile, a state of abandonment, loss, frustration and sorrow. It’s in the silence that we can choose to trust in his loving presence or his aching absence. We all know of people—maybe even ourselves at times—who turn away from God because in a time of great need they were met with the cold, bitter sound of only their own cries and tears. It’s an experience, I imagine, we can all relate to on some level.

Image result for mohonk mountain houseSubmitting to God, and the mystery of his sometimes peculiar and painful ways is a sobering challenge, one we can’t escape as we journey back toward the Kingdom of God in this life. God gives us enough grace and light to have a reasonable, firm and joyful belief in him, but so much of our lives remain unclear—we’re asked to trust in his plan even when it appears chaotic, unfair, or meaningless. When the eyes of our bodies are darkened, we are called to rely evermore on the eyes of our faith. This trusting in his will gradually and—at least on our worse days, suspiciously—throughout our lives is hard. And we experience moments in our lives when we cast a full-throated cry to God in words that echo those same ones from Job himself:

I cry to you, but you do not answer me;
I stand, but you take no notice.
You have turned into my tormentor,
and with your strong hand you attack me.
You raise me up and drive me before the wind;
I am tossed about by the tempest.

- Job 30:20-22

Chris Hazell
Word on Fire
May 18, 2017

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Finding God in the Depths of Silence

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WHEN I FIRST began to write this article, I thought to myself, "How do you promote something as vaporous as silence? It will be like a poem about air!" But finally I began to trust my limited experience, which is all that any of us have anyway.

I do know that my best writings and teachings have not come from thinking but, as Malcolm Gladwell writes in Blink, much more from not thinking. Only then does an idea clarify and deepen for me. Yes, I need to think and study beforehand, and afterward try to formulate my thoughts. But my best teachings by far have come in and through moments of interior silence—and in the "non-thinking" of actively giving a sermon or presentation.

Aldous Huxley described it perfectly for me in a lecture he gave in 1955 titled "Who Are We?" There he said, "I think we have to prepare the mind in one way or another to accept the great uprush or downrush, whichever you like to call it, of the greater non-self." That precise language might be off-putting to some, but it is a quite accurate way to describe the very common experience of inspiration and guidance.

All grace comes precisely from nowhere—from silence and emptiness, if you prefer—which is what makes it grace. It is both not-you and much greater than you at the same time, which is probably why believers chose both inner fountains (John 7:38) and descending doves (Matthew 3:16) as metaphors for this universal and grounding experience of spiritual encounter. Sometimes it is an uprush and sometimes it is a downrush, but it is always from a silence that is larger than you, surrounds you, and finally names the deeper truth of the full moment that is you. I call it contemplation, as did much of the older tradition.

It is always an act of faith to trust silence, because it is the strangest combination of you and not-you of all. It is deep, quiet conviction, which you are not able to prove to anyone else—and you have no need to prove it, because the knowing is so simple and clear. Silence is both humble in itself and humbling to the recipient. Silence is often a momentary revelation of your deepest self, your true self, and yet a self that you do not yet know. Spiritual knowing is from a God beyond you and a God that you do not yet fully know. The question is always the same: "How do you let them both operate as one—and trust them as yourself?" Such brazenness is precisely the meaning of faith, and why faith is still somewhat rare, compared to religion.

Richard Rohr
March 2013 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

God is silence

We discover slowly that silence is the path to encounter God. If that is true, then the noise of the world obstructs this path becoming, as Cardinal Sarah says, the dictatorship of noise. 

Indeed, Cardinal Sarah states, “Those in control of this world no longer think that they have to fight; they have reached another stage that consists essentially of creating the new man.” 

This new man is not made in the silence of God’s image, but rather in the fragmented image of a fractured world. It is a noisy world dominated by the demonic, making silence inextricably bound up with salvation. According to Cardinal Sarah, “God is silence, and the devil is noisy. From the beginning, Satan has sought to mask his lies beneath a deceptive, resonant agitation.”

Friday, August 10, 2018

Silence: God’s first language

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“God’s first language is silence.” In commenting on this beautiful, rich insight of Saint John of the Cross, Thomas Keating, in his work Invitation to Love, writes: “Everything else is a poor translation. In order to understand this language, we must learn to be silent and to rest in God.”

It is time to rediscover the true order of priorities. It is time to put God back at the center of our concerns, at the center of our actions and of our life: the only place that He should occupy. Thus, our Christian journey will be able to gravitate around this Rock, take shape in the light of the faith and be nourished in prayer, which is a moment of silent, intimate encounter in which a human being stands face to face with God to adore Him and to express his filial love for Him.

Let us not fool ourselves. This is the truly urgent thing: to rediscover the sense of God. Now the Father allows Himself to be approached only in silence. What the Church needs most today is not an administrative reform, another pastoral program, a structural change. The program already exists: it is the one we have always had, drawn from the Gospel and from living Tradition. It is centered on Christ Himself, whom we must know, love and imitate in order to live in Him and through Him, to transform our world which is being degraded because human beings live as though God did not exist. As a priest, as a pastor, as a Prefect, as a Cardinal, my priority is to say that God alone can satisfy the human heart.

I think that we are the victims of the superficiality, selfishness and worldly spirit that are spread by our media-driven society. We get lost in struggles for influence, in conflicts between persons, in a narcissistic, vain activism. We swell with pride and pretention, prisoners of a will to power. For the sake of titles, professional or ecclesiastical duties, we accept vile compromises. But all that passes away like smoke. In my new book I wanted to invite Christians and people of good will to enter into silence; without it, we are in illusion. The only reality that deserves our attention is God Himself, and God is silent. He waits for our silence to reveal Himself.

Regaining the sense of silence is therefore a priority, an urgent necessity.

Silence is more important than any other human work. Because it expresses God. The true revolution comes from silence; it leads us toward God and toward others so that we can place ourselves humbly at their service.

Cardinal Robert Sarah

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Silence Spoken Here

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“Noise is a deceptive, addictive, and false tranquilizer. The tragedy of our world is never better summed up than in the fury of senseless noise that stubbornly hates silence. This age detests the things that silence brings us to: encounter, wonder, and kneeling before God” 

“Nestling in silence against the heart of God, with the open Bible over our head like the wings of the Holy Spirit, is still the best antidote, the one thing necessary to chase away from our interior territory all that is useless, superfluous, worldly, and even our own self”

“Without silence, God disappears in the noise. And this noise becomes all the more obsessive because God is absent. Unless the world rediscovers silence, it is lost. The earth then rushes into nothingness”

Cardinal Sarah
The Power of Silence

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Small, secret and silent

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We forget that Christ chooses to become man, not to become angel, not to descend from the clouds, blazing in his glory to live among us— but to grow hidden in heavy clay, out of sight, assimilating our humanity to his, willing to pierce our clay with the little green spear of his love at the appointed hour, to break forth, not from the stars, but from the humanity that is dust and dirt.

How much more often we would behold the glory of the Word made flesh ifduring this time of growing we forebore to comment on one another’s peculiarities and shortcomings, and instead treated one another with the courtesy that we would have shown our Lady, had we been with her during the months before Christ’s birth. It is to her that we must turn . . .to learn the lessons of acceptance and gentleness. Acceptance of God’s mysterious ways with us, of his timing and his law, and the lesson of gentleness, the bringing courtesy to Christ, small and secret and silent in one another’s hearts. 

Caryll Houselander, Lift Up Your Hearts

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Our Lady of Silence

vaticanmadonna-239x359One draws close to this presence [of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit] above all by letting oneself be taught an adoring silence, for at the culmination of the knowledge and experience of God is his absolute transcendence. This is reached through the prayerful assimilation of scripture and the liturgy more than by systematic meditation.
We must confess that we all have need of this silence, filled with the presence of him who is adored: in theology, so as to exploit fully its own sapiential and spiritual soul; in prayer, so that we may never forget that seeing God means coming down the mountain with a face so radiant that we are obliged to cover it with a veil (cf. Ex 34:33), and that our gatherings may make room for God’s presence and avoid self – celebration; in preaching, so as not to delude ourselves that it is enough to heap word upon word to attract people to the experience of God; in commitment, so that we will refuse to be locked in a struggle without love and forgiveness.

This is what man needs today; he is often unable to be silent for fear of meeting himself, of feeling the emptiness that asks itself about meaning; man who deafens himself with noise. All, believers and non – believers alike, need to learn a silence that allows the Other to speak when and how he wishes, and allows us to understand his words.
St. Pope John Paul II

Monday, August 6, 2018

Marianist Monday

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August, 2018

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

This past Fourth of July, a number of us in the Brothers’ House were looking for something “patriotic” to do to commemorate the founding of our nation. We decided to visit the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, home of the 26thPresident of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, who lived there from 1885 until his death in 1919. Located in nearby Oyster Bay, the site includes Roosevelt’s home; an extensive museum housed in a separate building; and 83 acres of forest, meadows, salt marshes, and beaches. The fact that Bro. Larry Syriac is a member of the executive committee for the “Friends of Sagamore Hill” sealed the deal for us, so to speak, and off we headed to TR’s “Summer White House.”

While the furnishings and hunting trophies in the “Summer White House” are all larger than life, the exhibits and especially the quotations in the museum are what captured my imagination this time around. I even photographed a number of them with my iPhone! And why is that? Because I learned that Teddy Roosevelt was not only a master politician, an accomplished public servant, and arguably one of the greatest Presidents in our history; he was also a deeply spiritual man. Living at a time when we so often associate the adjectives corrupt and crookedwith the noun politician, I found it refreshing to be reminded that our best public figures are men and women of principle. They are motivated by deep conviction, and those convictions come from a consciously cultivated and carefully safeguard spiritual core.

Consider the following example. Roosevelt’s success as Governor of New York kept him in the public eye. In 1899, he was invited to speak in Chicago, where he warned his audience that they must not be “ . . . content to rot by inches in ignoble ease within our borders, taking no interest in what goes on beyond us, sunk in scrambling commercialism; heedless of the higher life, the life of aspiration, of toil and risk.” Roosevelt urged his listeners to embrace “the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife.”

I am reminded of some favorite lines of mine from the days when I taught junior English. Perhaps you remember them too; they come from “Ulysses,” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson:
. . . but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with gods. . . .

. . . and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are,

we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Great patriots and great saints alike – and may I dare say, above all, Jesus Christ Himself – remind us that our lives are not about ease and comfort. They are about heroism. That’s not an easy lesson to live. We are – all of us – sorely tempted to live small lives, “lives of quiet desperation.” But something bigger beckons, something that calls us beyond the constricted microcosm of self-interest to wide-open spaces of self-forgetfulness, devotion to the common good, and dedication to principles and ideals far bigger than ourselves. All this, I would suggest, makes not only for true patriotism, but for sound spirituality as well.

TR understood this. A child of privilege, he nevertheless championed the rights of the working man and the poor to the basic necessities that make life truly human. “No man can be a good citizen,” Roosevelt wrote in 1910, “unless he has a wage more than sufficient to cover the bare cost of living, and hours of labor short enough so that after his day’s work is done, he will have time and energy to bear his share of the management of the community, to help in carrying the general load.”

In a letter he wrote in 1917 to S.S. Menkin, Roosevelt opined, “Americanism means many things. It means equality of rights and, therefore, of duty and of obligation. It means service to our common country . . . It means on the part of each of us respect for the rights of the rest of us. It means that all of us guarantee the rights of each of us.”

But perhaps the most famous words of Theodore Roosevelt are these:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Dare greatly. Step into the arena. Spend yourself in a worthy cause. Strive, seek, find, and never yield. Our lives were not made for ease and comfort. They were made for heroism. Our great patriots – carved in monuments and written in the pages of history books – all tells us this. And so do Jesus Christ and the great company of saints who follow in His footsteps. Dare to follow in theirs!

On behalf of all my Marianist Brothers,

Bro. Stephen

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The bread of God

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Our Gospel today is all about eating.

The people of the crowd say to Jesus, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you?” 

They don't see that Jesus has already given them a sign of his power and glory by multiplying the loaves and fishes. Instead, they recap the history of God’s work in their lives by saying, “Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 

Jesus can't believe that they’re missing the good food standing right in front of them. In wonder he says, “I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

Jesus responds, I’m the bread of God. The real deal. Part of a perfectly balanced spiritual diet that gives new and everlasting life. Yes, the law was given through Moses, just like the manna that was given to the people of Israel in the wilderness. But now grace and truth are coming through Jesus Christ, the bread of God.

Slowly, slowly, the lights begin to come on. The people are starting to get it, so they say, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

Friday, August 3, 2018

For all vocations, Christ is the bell of true liberty

 Sr. Maria Veritas Marks, OP • July 12, 2018

The host was lifted high in young hands, and I suddenly realized: some grains of wheat, originally unremarkable, had now become Christ’s Body. They had been “chosen,” so to speak. Chosen, too, was the priest, ordained just twenty-four hours earlier for the Dominican Order, now to carry the priestly imprint upon his soul into eternity. Both wheat and friar had been selected by God and elevated infinitely beyond their natural capacities.

The Liberty Bell is pictured in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. In religious life, bells signify the calling of members to prayer, meals and fraternity, but all vocations are called to hear the voice of Christ in their lives, the true “bell” of liberty.

We Sisters were attending a First Mass, and the mystery of “chosenness” had been occupying my mind as I readied myself for my final vows, to take place, God willing, this July 25. One of the most imaginative objections to my own vocation came many years ago from my high school history teacher, who had considered religious life in his youth. He described how, on a “come and see weekend,” he settled himself comfortably one afternoon in the priory’s library, only to have his reading rudely interrupted by the ringing of a bell; he watched in consternation as the room emptied within seconds. The phenomenon repeated itself throughout the weekend, and he realized he could never live like that. Neither, he thought, could I.

At the time, I had no opinion on this particular aspect of religious life, but I now recognize in the bell that calls me to prayers, meals, and recreation the voice of my Bridegroom. It is freeing for me, because it expresses my identity as a Bride of Christ with duties toward Him and toward my Sisters. On the other hand, the bell’s call would not have been freeing for my teacher, because God was not calling him to the priesthood. As a devoted teacher, coach, and uncle, he has other responsibilities inherent in his lay vocation.

When we Sisters visited the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia this year, my teacher’s story came to mind. The Liberty Bell is a symbol of our country and its freedoms. Forged in 1751 for the Pennsylvania State House, it summoned lawmakers to their work and citizens to public news readings. Ringed with God’s command from Leviticus 25:10, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,” the Bell reminds us of the very first “chosen” people, Israel, whom God set apart to be his “treasured possession” (Ex 19:5).

How was Israel God’s “possession”? From our vantage point after the Incarnation, we know that Israel was “purchased,” as are we all, by Christ’s precious Blood (1 Cor 6:20). Consecrated persons live this chosenness in a unique and especially visible way, but you, too, are chosen! You have been bought by Christ’s Blood and baptized into His death. You, too, have been transformed and can act infinitely beyond your natural capacity.

Act, therefore, as a “treasured possession,” a member of the Church, Christ’s beloved Bride. Make sacrifices, pray confidently, cultivate the virtues — and let yourself be interrupted, not, of course, by a bell but by the demands of charity. Let your life ring clear and sweet, calling all to recognize that Truth sets us free.

Sr. Maria Veritas Marks is a member of the Ann Arbor-based Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Prayer to the Virgin Mary

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Prayer to the Virgin Mary (Pope Francis) 

Mary, make us feel your Mother's gaze, 
guide us to your Son. 
Form us, not as Christians on showcase display, 
but as those who know how to dirty their hands to build with your Son Jesus , 
the Kingdom of Love, Joy and Peace. 

We pray all this in the name of this same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

This is the Favorable Time

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“This is the proper time to obtain mercy, for we are going to recall the passion and death of our divine Savior”. Adele de Batz

My dear friend, does not the God whom we serve deserve our whole heart? Why have we so many reservations in what concerns him? God does not act so toward us, for he showers us abundantly with the most excellent gifts. He leaves his Tabernacle to enter our hearts as often as we wish. What abuse we make of God’s goodness! Some day he will grow weary, and we shall seek him in vain. “You will seek me, and you will not find me.” Let us search for him now, for this is the favorable time, these are the days of salvation. How God loves the offering of a young and tender heart! Let us offer ours to him, my dear Agathe, these hearts that beat for none other but him. Let us consecrate to him all our affections. We shall preserve the purity of our hearts only by directing them toward him. (44.2). 

This is the proper time to obtain mercy, for we are going to recall the passion and death of our divine Savior. May his Blood not have been spilt in vain for us. During these days of salvation, during this favorable season, we must redouble our devotion, our hatred for sin, and our love of God. (71.4). 

Because of the success with which the Lord has blessed your work, your salvation would have been in jeopardy if you had not been humbled. “Now is the favorable time, now is the day of salvation.” (566.3) 

How glad I am, my very dear daughter, to know that your cold has finally left you, but your sufferings grieve me very much. However, dear sister, recall that almost all holy men and women have had poor health; this thought consoles me when I see my dear daughters suffering. Come, now, this illness will be for the glory of God and your salvation. It will have taught you how to die to self, to renounce yourself, to know how to obey . . . not an inconsiderable advantage! Courage, I see in this the will of God; you needed this for your advancement and your perfection. Profit fully from it, dear sister, and lose none of the harvest. Fill your barns with meritorious acts of renouncement. This is the favorable time, these are the days of salvation. (571.2).

This is the Favorable Time 2

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Adele lived in a constant attitude of conversion by her being "Turned towards the Lord" - her eyes and her heart fixed on God .

“Let’s search for Him now, for this is the favorable time. . .” (44.2)

How often has Adèle heard these words and lived them well! How often does she teach them to her friends in the little society and to her religious sisters! We discover this focus by the many times she quotes it in her correspondence. Sometimes in liturgical seasons, or to lift up spirits when an answer is lacking, or as a cry of alarm when pride or other temptations are lurking. She always invites us to not miss the moment of opportunity. 

What were the ways Adele experienced it? Thankfully, her letters tell us much, because of the transparency with which she recounts her experience of God throughout her life. Certain 'favorable moments' leave her with a special grace: the memory of her baptism, her First Communion, her Confirmation, the "Little Society" and her entry into the Congregation of Bordeaux, her meeting with Father Chaminade, her option to choose Jesus Christ coming before a marriage proposal, the illness and death of her father, the fruition of her "dear project" and the passing to eternal Life and meeting her Beloved. 

These are some of Adèle's favorable times. But considering her whole life, we can say that she has welcomed and lived each day as a time of grace, a unique moment to respond to Love. She lives in a constant attitude of conversion in the sense that she is "turned towards the Lord" holding her eyes and heart fixed on Him and burning with the desire to make him known and loved. 

Fr. Joseph Verrier, editor of Mother Adele’s Positio, a theologian belonging to the Congregation and responsible for the causes of her beatification and canonization, examined the writings of the Servant of God (Adele). He found that she expresses herself in these terms: "In the conduct of the Servant of God, as revealed in her writings, we have not noticed any impulsivity or uncontrolled feelings, elicited by emotionality. Her writings allow us to deduce that a serious selfcontrol and a supernatural motivation, seem to characterize her exterior and interior conduct. "And Fr. Verrier concludes:" It seems to us that the writings of the Servant of God justify a very favorable judgment on her moral character, in the supernatural sense of the term. Indeed, this true Servant of the Lord, reveals herself in them, from her childhood, to the end of her earthly existence, revealing a soul fully aware of the supernatural responsibility that derives from both her full Christian vocation and her religious vocation. She desires to be consistent in a generous and constant exercise of Christian virtues with a full fidelity without concessions, nor compromises to her congregation and her total commitment to the service of God and the religious state". “

Mª Blanca Jamar, FMI 
Buenos Aires Community (Argentina)