Thursday, July 18, 2019

Lourdes Procession

The most distinctive part of the experience of Lourdes is the nightly torchlight procession. This always begins at 9 pm. At this hour it is still light. During the hour or so of the procession, the sun sets and night falls.

During the Procession, the Rosary is said. The Our Father is sung in Latin at the beginning of each decade, then the Hail Marys are said in different languages, usually five Hail Marys per language. Then the Gloria is sung in Latin. In between each decade, there is a hymn or chant. The first is always the traditional Lourdes Hymn. At the Ave, everyone holds their candle up.

At the square in front of the Basilica, the procession is directed by the brancardiers to zig-zag while wheelchairs and flags are directed to the front. By this time, it is dark and the raising of the torches becomes more dramatic. When the Rosary finishes, one of the Bishops present gives a pontifical blessing. The evening finishes with a multi-lingual invitation to exchange a sign of peace.

Then off to the grotto for a night visit or back to the hotel for a nightcap and to exchange experiences of the day.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Humility


"The question whether I feel worthy to be called is beside the point; that God has called me is the one thing that matters."

Image result for HumilityWe know that the Christian life consists in a transformation in Christ. Only to the extent that we are united to him do we enter into communion with the living God, the source of all charity, and become able to love others with the same love. To become humble as Christ was, means serving everyone, dying to the old man within us, overcoming tendencies in our nature that original sin has unleashed.

Thus a Christian understands that "humiliations, borne with love, become sweet and savory; they are a blessing from God."

When we accept humiliations in this way, we open ourselves up to all the riches of the supernatural life and can exclaim with St. Paul: For his sake, I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Story of Our Lady of Mount Carmel


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Near the Fountain of Elijah in northern Israel lived some hermits on Carmel in the 12th century. They had a chapel dedicated to Our Lady. By the 13th century they became known as “Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.” They soon celebrated a special Mass and Office in honor of Mary. In 1726, it became a celebration of the universal Church under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. For centuries the Carmelites have seen themselves as specially related to Mary. Their great saints and theologians have promoted devotion to her and often championed the mystery of her Immaculate Conception.

Saint Teresa of Avila called Carmel “the Order of the Virgin.” Saint John of the Cross credited Mary with saving him from drowning as a child, leading him to Carmel, and helping him escape from prison. Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus believed that Mary cured her from illness. On her First Communion day, Thérèse dedicated her life to Mary. During the last days of her life she frequently spoke of Mary.

There is a tradition that Mary appeared to Saint Simon Stock, a leader of the Carmelites, and gave him a scapular, telling him to promote devotion to it. The scapular is a modified version of Mary’s own garment. It symbolizes her special protection and calls the wearers to consecrate themselves to her in a special way. The scapular reminds us of the Gospel call to prayer and penance—a call that Mary models in a splendid way.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Bastille Day

Our Lourdes Mission trip celebrated Bastille Day last evening participating in the evening's Candlelight Procession. Thousands gathered to pray the Rosary followed by the town's annual fireworks display from the fort.

On this clear and cool night, our group followed Our Lady's statue.






Sunday, July 14, 2019

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!

Our Mission Trip has arrived at Lourdes after a bus ride from Bordeaux.

After lunch we all moved out to say a pray of thanksgiving at the Grotto where St. Bernadette saw the apparitions of our Blessed Mother. While our pilgrims stood in awe at the crowds they were equally surprised at the size of Lourdes. The Basilica's spires gave a majesty about that had happened in this humble little village.

And so we begin our Mission of Mercy in Lourdes.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!




Saturday, July 13, 2019

Lourdes Mission Trip


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Yearly one of our Marianist high schools take students on a Mission Trip to assist the maladies at Lourdes, France. We arrived at the beginning of our Mission trip to tour the city of Bordeaux and to visit the home and Chapel of our Founder Blessed William Joseph Chaminade.
We have been blessed with two wonderful days in Bordeaux. Our students have enjoyed the hospitality of this great city. We were blessed to visit the Chapel of the Madelaine, the birthplace of the Society of Mary.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Kindness


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Steven Petrow is a writer who lives in North Carolina. He was recently waiting in a long line at his favorite bakery, a shop which makes amazing scones. Watching the people ahead of him pluck the delicious scones out of the glass case, he worried that the bakery would run out. But when he got to the counter, he saw that there was one left, so he pointed and said, “I’ll take that.”

No sooner had he spoken than the guy behind him shouted, “Hey, that’s my scone! I’ve been waiting in line for 20 minutes!” Petrow knew that the man had been waiting, but a line is a line.

What do you think Petrow said to the man? He could have declared, “Sorry, it’s mine!” He had every right to do so. Instead, he asked him, “Would you like half?” The man was shocked into silence, but after a moment he accepted the offer and made a suggestion of his own: “Why don’t I buy another pastry and we can share both?”

Then they sat down on a nearby bench to share their pastries.

The two men had almost nothing in common in terms of jobs, age, political views or marital status. They were strangers. But they shared a moment of connection and simple kindness. “I felt happy,” says Petrow, “and, frankly, wanted more of that feeling.”

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Ora et Labora


Saint Benedict of Nursia (480 - 547) was a saint from Italy, and a rule-giver for cenobitic monks. His purpose may be gleaned from his Rule, namely that "Christ ... may bring us all together to life eternal."

Benedict founded twelve communities for monks, the best known of which is at Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy. There is no evidence that he intended to found a religious order. The Order of St Benedict is of modern origin and, moreover, not an "order" as commonly understood but merely a confederation of autonomous congregations, most of which are made up of autonomous monasteries.

Benedict's main achievement is his "Rule", containing precepts for his monks. It is heavily influenced by the writings of John Cassian, and shows strong affinity with the Rule of the Master. But it also has a unique spirit of balance, moderation and reasonableness, and this persuaded most religious communities founded throughout the Middle Ages to adopt it. As a result, the Rule of Benedict became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom. For this reason Benedict is often called the founder of western Christian monasticism.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Marianist Monday

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July 2019

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

Azure blue skies, wispy white clouds, glorious sunshine, a gentle breeze, low humidity, and temperatures in the mid-80s are making this an absolutely magnificent day. In fact, the day on which I am writing this July Magnificat reflection is so splendid that I decided to quit the confines of my office,grab my laptop, and compose my letter on the school’s rooftop patio. In the foreground, the glass-curtain window walls of the new Dolan Family Science, Technology, and Research Center glint in the golden sunshine. In the distance, the spires of Manhattan’s supertall skyscrapers punctuate the horizon, likeexclamation points proclaiming the breathtaking view. Behind me, I can hear the windchimes that Fr. Ernest has suspended in one of the trees.
Yes, it’s a picture-perfect day, and we’ve been blessed with three such perfect early-summer days in a row. Two nights ago, while the Brothers were enjoying dinner on this same rooftop patio, we viewed a vibrant, technicolor sunset. Its overwhelming beauty prompted more than a few of us to quip, “Brought to you by the Maker of Heaven and Earth.” I find it hard to see such splendors and not believe in a God who created it all.

I am well aware, however, that many would question my leap of faith from the beauties of creation to faith in a Creator. They might point to the processes of evolution as the source of all that I see before me. Others might charge me with telling only half the story. I have enjoyed three back-to-back beautiful days, but my weather app predicts rain for Monday and Tuesday, clouds for Wednesday, and thunderstorms from Thursday. Elsewhere in the country, heavy rains and flooding have submerged entire towns, and tornadoes have ripped through neighborhoods and left complete devastation in their wake. I remember well the missions trips that Kellenberg and Chaminade made to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. The destruction of homes there was heartbreaking.

What holds true in the world of nature holds no less true of human nature. While humanity is capable of great kindness and nobility, it is also capable of terrible cruelty, division, and depravity. In late May, we brought a group of Chaminade and Kellenberg students to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The site reminds us all of the senseless hatred and violence that can not only topple buildings, but shatter lives as well. At the same time, this hallowed ground reminds us of the resilience of the human spirit, the reverence for those who lost their lives, and the resolve to bring good out of evil.

Were the world all sunny days and triumphs of the human spirit, it would be easy to believe in God.

Belief in God, I think, challenges more of you, our former students, than we, your former teachers, might care to admit. Surely any graduate of one of our Marianist schools has a solid fatih foundation!

Well, maybe not. Maybe the widespread assaults on faith and the many legitimate reasons for doubt leave several of you struggling to believe in the living God you learned about in high school. At our most recent Day of Recollection for our college-age graduates, one particularly honest young man
said to me, “Bro. Steve, all these college-age programs that you sponsor assume that we believe in God.But I’m not so sure I believe in God anymore.” Many in the conversation circle agreed.

Why do I believe? In light of the challenging question posed to me at our most recent Day ofRecollection, I think that’s a fair question. I want to try to answer it -- not by reviewing Aquinas’ fiveproofs (as cogent and convincing as they are to me), but from a more personal perspective. Here goes.

I believe because I am a sinner. I’ll be the first to admit it: I need Jesus. A perfectionist and an idealist by nature, I want to do what is good and noble, right and true. As a human being, I often fall far short. Christ put it quite poignantly when He found the Apostles asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane:“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26: 41)

In the Biblical story of the Fall, I find a spot-on parallel to what I see in my own life and in the world around me. No other explanation of the problem of evil makes more sense to me than the Biblical explanation. What God wants for us is the Garden of Eden, Paradise -- a place where man lives in complete harmony with God, with his fellow man, and with the world of nature. But because of our selfishness and sin, because we so often want be be God rather than submit to God, that harmony has been broken -- on all levels. What God wills for us is not disease and misfortune, alienation and war. What He wills for us is Paradise.

I believe because I have experienced some of that Paradise in my own life. This is not to say that my life is a utopia. It is not. This is not to say that the Marianist Community is a utopia. As fervently as I am devoted to bringing new members into the Society of Mary, I know all too well the shortcomings of my Brothers, just as they know mine. But, by God, in the Brothers, in my family, and among my students, I have seen people who strive mightily to do the right thing, who ardently desire to do what is noble and true, kind and good, and who pick themselves up and start over again when they stumble and fall. It is God, I believe, who keeps this hope alive in us.

I believe because Christ has opened the door of Paradise to us. We are not perfect. Neither is our world. But Christ bore our sins and shortcomings, our imperfections and our failings, on His own shoulders. He died for our sins so that we might die to our sins and be born to eternal life. When I think of who I am -- a sinner -- and the kind of graced life I’ve been blessed to live, then my decision is to believe. I’m not saying that I don’t have my doubts from time to time -- I do -- but, as I look around me,the evidence for God’s existence definitely outweighs the evidence that He does not.

I believe because, on the whole, I’ve been blessed with more sunny days than rainy ones. Andbecause we have been empowered to bring some sunshine where there are clouds, light where there is darkness. This speaks powerfully to me of God.

Look, I realize that a two-page reflection provides hardly enough reason for those who find itdifficult to believe that God is real. But it’s a start, and I look forward to dialoguing with you again onthis and other questions that go to the heart of our lives.

On behalf of all my Marianist Brothers,

Bro. Stephen

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Hi God




Hi, God.
I am just a mess.
It is all hopeless.
What else is new?
I would be sick of me, if I were You,
but miraculously You are not.
I know I have no control over other people’s lives,
and I hate this.
Yet I believe that if I accept this and surrender,
You will meet me wherever I am.
Wow. Can this be true?
If so, how is this afternoon--say, two-ish?

Thank You in advance for Your company
and blessings.

You have never once let me down.
Amen.

(from Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott)

Saturday, July 6, 2019

"Lead, Kindly Light."

You might know the story of its writing. When the young Newman was traveling in Italy he fell ill. He experienced a time of great emotional and spiritual discouragement. When a nurse asked him what troubled him, he responded, "I have work to do in England." Eventually he got passage on a boat home, but they were constrained to heave to, slowed by a thick fog and nearby cliffs. Trapped in the fog, on June 16th Newman wrote The Pillar of the Cloud:

Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home—
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see

The distant scene—one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that Thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,

Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile

Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Fourth of July

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Let us be grateful for the freedom that is ours; let us pledge to live that freedom more responsibly; and let us work to share that freedom with those whose lives are shackled by oppression, poverty and war.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

St. Thomas the Apostle

The Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle

Here are some images for the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle who we celebrate today.

Certainly we remember the Gospel that offers us the story of Thomas and his doubts after the Resurrection. Enjoy these variations Caravaggio's The Incredulity of Thomas.














Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Tuesday Tunes


Originally named after a major east-west road in Palm Beach County, Florida, Tenth Avenue North’s goal is to newest song “You Are More” speaks to the broken and those that have wandered in their walk with God.

Part of the band’s second album, The Light Meets the Dark, the song is coupled with the album’s first single “Healing Begins.” The album as a whole was designed to call listeners to repentance by confessing their sins in accordance with James 5:16, "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed."

"You Are More" serves as a reminder to all that we have been "remade," and we are not defined by our past mistakes, but rather by the sacrifice made for all of us on the Cross.


Monday, July 1, 2019

Marianist Monday


"The Lord is with you."

These words are taken from the Annunciation scene from the first chapter of Saint Luke. 

Speaking about the Fiat of Mary, Pope-emeritus Benedict says,

In one of his Advent homilies, Pope-emeritus Benedict says, "Bernard of Clairvaux offers a stirring presentation of the drama of this moment. After the error of our first parents, the whole world was shrouded in darkness, under the domain of death. Now God seeks to enter the world anew. He knocks at Mary’s door. He needs human freedom. The only way he can redeem man, who was created free, is by means of a free “yes” to his will. In creating freedom, he made himself in a certain sense dependent upon man. His power is tied the unenforceable “yes” of a human being. So Bernard portrays heaven and earth as it were holding its breath at this moment of the question addressed to Mary. Will she say yes? She hesitates…will her humility hold her back? Just this once – Bernard tells her – do not be humble but daring! Give us your “yes”!…It is the moment of free, humble yet magnanimous obedience in which the loftiest choice of human freedom is made.”

“Mary becomes a mother through her “yes.” The Church Fathers sometimes expressed this by saying that Mary conceived through her ear – that is to say: through her hearing. Through her obedience, the Word entered into her and became fruitful in her. In this connection, the Fathers developed the idea of God’s birth in us through faith and baptism, in which the Logos comes to make us ever anew, making us God’s children.”

He who has begun this good work in you, bring it to completion.