Thursday, May 31, 2007

Our Exemplar: the Visitation

Peace! Just the awesome idea that someone who has just been told that she will be the mother of the Messiah, the Son of God, then undertakes a difficult journey to serve her cousin, who is pregnant with the messenger for the Messiah. Worldly values turned upside down! No wonder St. Francis looked to Mary as the first and foremost disciple of Jesus, following her Son down the path of love and giving. God bless!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Peace and Good!

This blog will continue, but recent events and a death in the family have kept me distracted. Keep me in your prayers. May the Holy Spirit bless us all.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Out of Sight!

Peace and Good! The liturgy of the Ascension celebrates Christ being taken beyond our sight. The Alternative Opening Prayer says: “Our minds were prepared for the coming of your kingdom when you took Christ beyond our sight.” The Second Preface for the Feast of the Ascension says that he “has passed beyond our sight not to abandon us but to be our hope.”
Perhaps if we had Jesus visible among us (and who could bear that sight?), we would be tempted to say that we know where he is, and we would not look any further. Yet we believe that his presence is among us in so many ways: in the Blessed Sacrament, in the Church, which is the mystical body of Christ, in the poor and in the beauty of the world around us, and especially in the suffering he shares with us that we might share His Glory.
Francis came to know this in a very particular way, through his experience of God’s sweetness in his encounter with the leper. He experienced that Jesus Christ was truly present there, in that poor sufferer in front of him. From that experience Francis knew he had to seek the presence of Jesus in all its different manifestations.
Our conversion involves our letting go of an image of Jesus which restricts his presence to the places or ways we are comfortable with. He has gone ‘beyond our sight’ precisely so that we will never stop looking for him. May God help us to open our eyes, or better, to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit (for the Ascension is always tied to Pentecost) so that the Spirit may help us to see with spiritual eyes Christ among us, beyond us, within us, beside us.
God bless!

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Clay God Uses: St. Felix

Peace and Good! Felix (baptized Peter) was born in a small mountain town. Yet he spent almost all his life as a Capuchin in the midst of the busy city of Rome. He was known as Brother "Deo Gratias," because that was what he was always saying, "Thanks be to God." He is the first saint of the Capuchin Order, a man of simple humility and prayer. He is a great example of someone who learned to see God everywhere. His time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament helped him to see the same Christ present in the poor and the beggars of Rome, and in such friends as St. Philip Neri (in this painting with him). May he ask God to help us see, and be like him, Felix (happy, joyful). God bless!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Choosing Matthias

Peace and Good! Today we celebrate Matthias, chosen to take Judas' place among the Apostles. The method of choosing him has always fascinating me. The Acts of the Apostles says:

So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas,who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.Then they prayed,“You, Lord, who know the hearts of all,show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.” Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias,and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.

So what was involved was discernment (who to propose), prayer, and the casting of lots, which could be called luck, except that this was done with trust in the presence of God, more specifically of the Holy Spirit. This puts human decision making in perspective I think. We need to do all we can to make good and right decisions, but in the end we have to trust the power of God to bring about the good.
This helps in understanding the famous story of St. Francis and Br. Matteo. On a preaching mission, they came to a crossroads and were wondering which way to take. They talked about it, prayed, and in the end Francis turned Matteo around and around until he was dizzy and then let go and waited for him to fall. In whatever direction he pointed, they would go. It may sound silly, but it reflects a deep faith and also a key to true peace: to put all we can into making our decisions, but in the end trusting that it is God's will that will ultimately prevail.

Not so easy at time to remember. So we ask St. Matthias to pray for us as we walk on the road and make decisions, big and small.

God bless!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Clay God Uses: Philip the Apostle

Peace! Philip, like Thomas, is most often remembered for a deficiency. At the last supper Jesus says, "After I have been with you so long, do you still not know me?" Yet, in the Gospel of John, Philip is also the one who brings other to Jesus, both Nathaniel, and the Greeks who want to see Jesus. Our task, like that of the apostles, is to bring others to Jesus, even if we don't always understand completely what God wants to do with them. We trust, like Philip, that Jesus is the one who can show us the Father--as Jesus tells him and us, that is exactly what He came to do. Francis believed this. May Philip, James the Less, Francis and all the saints help us to come to Jesus, and to bring others to Him. God bless!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

St. Joseph the Worker


My father loved to sleep in. My father used to get up every morning before 5 a.m. (sometimes as early as 3:30 a.m.) to be able to get to his construction jobs to support his family. I have always thanked God for this example of love.

St. Francis mentioned that the brothers who received the grace of work should do so, but always in such a way as not to extinguish the Spirit of the Lord and His holy operation. Labor with our bodies, our minds, and our hearts, can be a sharing in the work of God (opus Dei), if we allow Him to work in and through us. It doesn't matter if it is big or small, well-known or obscure, if it is done in God. May St. Joseph help us to remember this, and honor one another and all the labor that is done in the name of love. God bless!