Friday, June 14, 2019

The Spirit's flame

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The coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost lit the fire of the Church. God’s Spirit is still and must always be the main source of light for Christians. Individually and as the church, we should do what is necessary to keep ourselves good places for the Spirit’s flames to burn hotly and the Spirit’s light to shine brightly. It’s not our job to extinguish lesser lights that shine for the benefit of humankind so that we’re the only light in town; indeed, sometimes we should help their light be seen. 

At the same time, however, we should never be so dazzled by other lights that we no longer shine for Christ or no longer “reproduce” and bring forth new generations of Christians.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Light of the Spirit

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In some of Jesus’ subsequent followers, the light of the Spirit can be almost visually seen. Several years ago, after the English writer Malcolm Muggeridge spent some time observing Mother Teresa working in Calcutta, India, taking care of dying people she plucked off the streets, he wrote a book about her he titled Something Beautiful for God. In it, he said, “God’s universal love has rubbed off on Mother Teresa, giving her features a noticeable luminosity, a shining quality.”

In most of us who follow Jesus today, the light within us may not be quite that apparent to others, but when we confront darkness in our lives, we often become conscious of how the way of the Lord is the primary light of our lives.

The thing is, in this world, there are lots of other lights, some that seem more glitzy or powerful or, in some fields, even more illuminating. And just as fireflies are finding their inner lights overpowered by bright but artificial lighting, so, too, we Christians sometimes find the light of God within us — especially if we don’t tend it — growing dim.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


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On Sunday we celebrated Pentecost. It is the anniversary of that first-century day when the Holy Spirit came in a mighty way upon the disciples of Jesus hunkered down in an upper room in Jerusalem. The Bible’s description of the sudden infilling of those disciples with the Spirit includes this: “Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.” Even since then, fire, which, of course, is a source of light, has been a symbol of the Holy Spirit. At the same time, that symbol also connects to Jesus, who said, “I am the light of the world.”

The fact that these tongues of fire rested on each of Jesus’ followers on Pentecost is a way of showing that when the Spirit fills us, we, too, radiate the light of God. Thus, Spirit-filled Christians are light-bearers. And over the centuries, Christians have “glowed” with that light as they have spread the gospel, shared the good news, gone about doing good, committed sacrificial acts of love for neighbor and even for enemies, and have sought to understand and do the will of God.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Marianist Monday

June 2019

Dear graduates of Chaminade, Kellenberg Memorial, and St. Martin de Porres,

This month we celebrate the feast of Pentecost. The event of the Holy Spirit descending upon the Apostles and empowering them for their work of evangelization is one of the most important moments in the history of the Church. This great gift of God’s grace is given again to each of us in the sacrament of Confirmation. How frequently, though, do we properly reflect on the magnitude of this gift? Do we recognize in our daily lives how the Holy Spirit is working in and through us?

It is not always easy to live up to the standard set by the Apostles and the early Church. Following their example of steadfast faith through adversity is definitely not the easy road to take in life. We may not come up against the violent persecution and martyrdom faced by most of the Apostles and many other disciples throughout the early days of the Church, but our culture today is at odds with many of our Church’s teachings and values. There is a great temptation and societal pressure to brush off these differences as merely old-fashioned remnants of a morality long-since rendered irrelevant by our modern and enlightened sensibilities. And while our approach is certainly allowed to evolve to encounter the world as it changes around the stalwart foundations laid by our forebears, this does not mean that our convictions should waver. Reflect on the strength the Spirit offers through your Confirmation – the very same strength given to the Apostles – which allowed them to forge the way for our Church, which has survived for two millennia.

The sacrament of Confirmation strengthens us spiritually to grow deeper in our relationship with Jesus Christ and to spread our faith as messengers to the world. Through the anointing, we are able to participate in a share of what the Apostles were blessed with at Pentecost. On that day, about two thousand years ago, they were together. In your minds, place yourself in their midst. The first community of Christian faith was all together, but the Lord had ascended into Heaven. The Apostles knew what they were called to do, but how to go about it? How could a group made up largely of fishermen – common men who did not hold respected theological positions – convince others of the Truth they had received? God did not leave them to find this strength and ability on their own. We read in Acts of the Apostles, “And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” (Acts 2:2-4)

While we may not be miraculously gifted with the ability to speak in different tongues at Confirmation, we aregiven gifts that will help us with our ministry. The Apostles needed the strength and ability to found the Church, and weneed the strength and ability to keep the faith alive for ourselves and others. We are all called to go out into the world and live the Gospels in all aspects of our lives. Let Christ enter into your lives as much as possible. He is the Way that will lead you to a blessed and joyful life.

I challenge each of you to reflect this summer on what it means to share in this blessing. We, like the Apostles, are sent out on a mission to bring Christ to the world. How do we live our lives? Do those around us see the Light of Christ shining through us in our words and actions? A good way to start living this way is to reflect on our own Baptism and Confirmation. I will leave you with one bit of prayerful advice: Look up the dates of your Baptism and Confirmation and treat these as important days for you. Let them serve as spiritual birthdays, and take the opportunity to renew and reflect on these Sacraments and the strength God offers through them.

God bless each and every one of you, and have a blessed and peaceful summer!

Yours faithfully in Christ through His Blessed Mother,

Bro. Andrew Santoriello, S.M.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Pentecost Sunday

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Today, Pentecost, is the day the church of Jesus Christ entered the public domain, and it's today that we can also say to the church, "Happy birthday to you!"

Until Jesus' little band of disciples experienced the descending dove, the tongues of fire and the babble of ecstatic voices, they weren't ready for prime time. Their faith was somewhat private. After those remarkable events, though, their old song suddenly became new.

Pentecost is the third biggest celebration of the Christian year, but it runs far behind Christmas and Easter in popularity. In the case of the other two holidays, secular culture has embraced the religious feast, manufacturing its own cheap knock-offs. There's secular Christmas, with its blatant consumerism and ethic of doing something nice for someone you already love. As for secular Easter, it's nothing more than a rite of spring.

No one has trouble finding decorations and greeting cards for secular Christmas or secular Easter. Many of them feature the familiar mascots of the holidays, Santa and the Easter Bunny. But there is no particular decorations, greeting cards or mascots for the great feast of Pentecost. And you will never hear the secular culture sing, "We wish you a merry Pentecost."

Nobody's trying to hijack the rights to this great holiday.

Pentecost is ours alone.

Enjoy and "Happy Pentecost to you and the whole Church."

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Jesus is truth

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"When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come."

"Truth" is a major theme in John's Gospel. In fact, it will be Pontius Pilate who asks the question on the world's mind as they are confronted with Jesus: "What is truth?"

The truth is, however, that Jesus himself is the way, the truth and the life. In other words, if we emulate Jesus, our lives will not be a lie. Our lives instead will be lives of integrity, honesty, service, selflessness and humility -- all counterintuitive from the world's point of view.

If the disciples want to follow Jesus where he is going, then that means following his way, his truth and his life in spite of the dangers, twists and turns ahead. The only way to navigate that way is with a Guide who will take what Jesus has said and done and "declare it" to us so that we will glorify him

Friday, June 7, 2019

The world for God's glory.

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This week we celebrate Pentecost Sunday. On Sunday, we remember that when the Guide arrived, he launched the disciples on a new adventure. Following Jesus has never been about retreating from the world to a tropical island and "getting away from it all." It's always been about following the way, the truth and the life of Jesus for the purpose of changing the world for God's glory. It's a tough adventure, but it's the only destination that ultimately matters. 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Jesus died afraid.

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What’s a dark night of soul? It’s a God-given trial in life wherein we, much to our own surprise and anguish, can no longer imagine God’s existence or feel God in any affective way in our lives. In terms of inner feeling, this is felt as doubt, as atheism. Try as we might, we can no longer imagine that God exists, much less that God loves us. However, as the mystics point out and as Jesus’ himself gives witness to, this isn’t a loss of faith but actually a deeper modality of faith itself.
Up to this point in our faith, we have been relating to God mainly through images and feelings. But our images and feelings about God are not God. So, at some point, for some people, though not for everybody, God takes away the images and the feelings and leaves us conceptually empty and affectively dry, stripped of all the images we have created about God. While in reality this is actually an overpowering light, it is felt as darkness, anguish, fear, and doubt.

And so we might expect that our journey towards death and our face-to-face encounter with God might also involve the breaking down of many of the ways we have always thought about and felt about God. And that will bring doubt, darkness, and fear in our lives.

Henri Nouwen gives a powerful testimony to this in speaking about his mother’s death. His mother had been a woman of deep faith and had each day prayed to Jesus: Let me live like you, and let me die like you. Knowing his mother’s radical faith, Nouwen expected that the scene around her deathbed would be serene and a paradigm of how faith meets death without fear. But his mother suffered deep anguish and fear before she died and that left Nouwen perplexed, until he came to see that his mother’s lifelong prayer had indeed been answered. She had prayed to die like Jesus – and she did.

A common soldier dies without fear; Jesus died afraid. And so, paradoxically, do many women and men of faith.
Ron Rohleiser, O.M.I.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Your love is eternal

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"When I am so convinced about some negative aspect of my life, I sometimes sink into despair. I must put my trust in your love and abandon myself to you.

When I am so convinced about some negative aspect of another’s life, I am sometimes inclined to detest them and to stay away from them.
Then I must stop to contemplate your love for me. Why do you love me, Lord, when I feel disdain and disgust for my brothers and sisters?

Give me the courage to see things as you see them, Lord, and to love unconditionally. Only then will true communion be realized.

Often, behind a facade of courtesy and attentiveness there exists a hidden dissension, which weakens communion and renders it insincere.

Lord, you are infinite patience.

You are limitless understanding.

Your love is eternal." 
- Venerable Francis Xavier Nguyên Văn Thuân

Saturday, June 1, 2019