Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Happy Annversary!


Happy Annversary!

The Province of Meribah has conducted a series of summer retreats for the Brothers at our home in Accord, NY named Founder's Hollow. These annual retreats are called our summer renewal programs. All the members of the Province attend the week-long renewal program at Founder's Hollow for their annual retreat. This time, in which we meditate on the Word of God and pray more intensely, is a period of refreshment and revitalization of our Marianist religious vocations.

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity put together in words what we have tried to do on our summer renewals. She reminds us that we are all called to a greater relationship with Christ and His Mother. In order to attain this, however, one must become detached from the things of this world, and even oneself, and order them all to the love of God, as Elizabeth writes:

"To walk in Jesus Christ seems to me to want to leave self, lose sight of self, give up self in order to enter into Him with every passing moment, so deeply that one is rooted there, and to every event, to every circumstance we can fling this beautiful challenge: "Who will separate me from the love of Jesus Christ?'"

Our summer renewal is always an opportunity to reorder our lives toward the ultimate goal of the human race: eternal happiness in the presence of God.

The Province of Meribah also celebrated its 45th anniversary today. With joy we have been graced with many blessings from Almighty God. May God continue to bless us with his grace.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Assumption of Mary

Today we celebrate the great Marian Solemnity of the Assumption.

Bro. John M. Samaha tells us that Mary "... is a woman and a mother, and her grace is adapted to her own nature and to her own special function. Christ exists for God. Mary exists for Christ. God made Christ our unique Redeemer. Mary exercises her role as Cordemptrix only through union with Christ, and she herself had to be redeemed by him. Christ is our necessary advocate with the Father. Mary is our advocate with Christ and through Christ. So it is with all the privileges of the Blessed Virgin Mary."

In the eighth century St. John of Damascus explained in regard to the Assumption: “It was necessary that the Mother should have entered into the possession of all the goods of her Son, and that she should have been venerated by all creation as the Mother and Handmaid of God. It is a customary practice that the wealth of the parents pass to their children. But here . . . the springs of the sacred waters flow toward the height. The Son has submitted the entire creation to the dominion of his mother.” 

And finally enturies later St. Louis de Montfort wrote: “All that is proper to God Incarnate by nature is proper to Mary by grace.” Around 1930 the renowned Marianist Mariologist and author, Father Emile Neubert, S.M., expressed this principle of analogy with theological exactness: “To the various privileges of the humanity of Jesus there correspond analogous privileges in Mary, in the manner and in the degree required by the difference between her condition and that of her Son.” 

Monday, August 9, 2021

Marianist Monday

August 2021

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

August 14, 1941 - At the age of 47, Fr. Maximilian Kolbe, OFM, Conv. dies two weeks after offering his life in place of another prisoner at the German death camp of Auschwitz.

August 13, 1943 - At the age of 46, Fr. Jakob Gapp, SM is beheaded by the Nazi regime. They wanted him dead because he had been preaching against the National Socialist movement in Germany.

On October 10, 1982, Pope John Paul II canonized Fr. Kolbe, declaring him a martyr for charity.

On November 24, 1996, Pope John Paul II beatified Fr. Gapp, a Marianist martyr.

Each August, we celebrate the feast days of these two martyrs on the days their souls entered into their heavenly reward.

As I write this letter, I have just returned from a week of retreat with about 12 fellow Brothers from the Province of Meribah. We read together a book about the Saints entitled, A Living Gospel. I was struck by this question asked by St. Ignatius of Loyola:

“What if I should live like that?”

He asked this question as he read the lives of the Saints, bedridden for many weeks after a serious battle-injury to his leg.

“What if I should live like that?” Or, we might ask: “How were Blessed Jakob and St. Maximilian ready to die like that?” What brought them to the point of being able to give their lives freely, for the sake of their faith, when each of them surely could have made different choices and avoided their early demise?

How were they able to die like that? Because they lived like that!

That is, everything about their lives was directed toward their ultimate end: union with Christ in Heaven.

These were men whose lives started out normally enough, much like any of ours, but they gradually entered more and more deeply into their faith, saying “Yes” to the offer of grace from Jesus our Savior, and to His Mother Mary’s invitation to collaborate with her in the work of bringing others closer to her Son.

Both men were deeply involved in this world, proclaiming the Gospel with unflagging energy, even when it became lethally dangerous to do so. Yet, both men oriented their entire lives toward eternal life in the world to come.

Thus, Blessed Jakob was able to write in a letter to his family on the day of his execution:
“At seven o’clock this evening, I will go to our dear Saviour, whom I have always ardently loved. Do not mourn for me. I am completely happy. Naturally, I have experienced many a difficult hour, but I have been able to prepare myself for death very well. Live well and suffer everything out of love for God. During this difficult time since my arrest, I have prayed for you continually, and now I will intercede for you in heaven. … Everything passes; only heaven remains.”
Both St. Maximilian and Blessed Jakob had a deep love for our Blessed Mother. On August 15, we celebrate her Assumption into Heaven. St. Maximilian and Blessed Jakob were able to “die like that” because they lived their entire lives focused on being in Heaven with our Lord and His Blessed Mother. In fact, our belief in Mary’s Assumption into Heaven is a key to our own hope of joining her there one day. The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes Pope Pius XII:
“... the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.” The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians. (#966)
In other words, Mary is the first to experience that union with Christ in Heaven that should be the ultimate end of every Christian. She paves the way and makes it possible for us as well. Mary’s Assumption anticipates our own resurrection to eternal life.

Thinking about death—especially our own—is neither pleasant, nor easy. But it can be a powerful spiritual exercise to ask ourselves:

Will I be ready when I die, as Gapp and Kolbe were?

If I knew I were going to die soon, is there anything I would change in my life?

Is there anything or anyone I’d be willing to give my life for, as Gapp and Kolbe did?

The powerful stories of Blessed Jakob and St. Maximilian provoke us to reflect on our life, by showing us that our earthly death is only one more step on the journey toward our ultimate end: union with Christ in Heaven.

How do we die like they did? By living like that!

By shining the light of eternal life on every decision we make and every action we take: “Is this leading me closer to union with Christ and His Blessed Mother in Heaven . . . or not?”

What if I should live like that?

On behalf of all of my Marianist Brothers, prayers for a good summer’s end and many blessings in the year ahead.

Fr. Peter Heiskell, S.M.

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Bl. Solanus Casey

“The Solanus Event”. That’s what one priest called it. “The Solanus Event, it began in the 1920’s and has never stopped… where God is still pouring out His healing love on His people.”⠀

“We worry and fret about the morrow as though Our Dear Lord had never spoken a word about His Divine Providence, or proved His loving solicitude for each of us a thousand times a day.”

- Bl. Solanus Casey

Pray for us!

Thursday, August 5, 2021

The summit of our life


"From this moment on, live the Eucharist fully; be persons for whom the Holy Mass, Communion, and Eucharistic adoration are the center and summit of their whole life."

-Pope Saint John Paul II

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

St. John Mary Vianney


There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, He would have given it to us.

St. John Mary Vianney

Tuesday, August 3, 2021


“Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus."In our reading today, learn that when Jesus commands you, obey Him.

Jesus told Peter to “come” to Him on the water. Even though it made no sense, Peter did what Jesus said.

This is what obedience looks like - doing what Jesus says.
Is there any area in your life that you are not obeying the Lord?

The Canaanite Woman

048The Faith of the Canaanite Woman - The Ministry of Jesus
Did you notice that this Canaanite woman acknowledged that Jesus is the Messiah and came to him with her problem. She did not give up pleading with Jesus even though he said some things that were hard to accept. She did not doubt his love and become bitter or fatalistic and complain. She was not demanding but asked mercy. In contrast with the religious leaders, she was humble and trusting. She makes a great contrast with the religious leaders of the times.

"Then Jesus answered her, 'Woman, you have great faith. Let your desire be granted.' And from that moment her daughter was well again."

Monday, August 2, 2021

Saint Peter Julian Eymard

“It was Mary who first adored the Incarnate Word. He was in her womb, and no one on earth knew of it. Oh! how well was our Lord served in Mary's virginal womb! 

Never has He found a ciborium, a golden vase more precious or purer than was Mary's womb! Mary's adoration was more pleasing to Him than that of all the Angels. 

The Lord 'hath set His tabernacle in the sun,' says the Psalmist. The sun is Mary's heart," and "Mary is the aurora of the beautiful Sun of Justice.”

-- Peter Julian Eymard

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Blessed Carlos Eraña Guruceta - Marianist

Marianist Blessed Carlos had written in applying for vows: "The service of God, the practice of love toward the Divine Model and Mary his most holy Mother, I want that these be the aims of my entire life. That is the way he offered his life at the end."

When the civil war broke out in Spain, on July 24, 1936, the Colegio del Pilar was seized and the Marianist Community dispersed. Brother Carlos took refuge in Ciudad Real. There he was arrested on September 6 by the militiamen and taken to the seminary, where he remained for twelve days in complete isolation. The following September 18, he was taken from his cell and shot in Alarcos , near Ciudad Real.