Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stigmata of St. Francis

To begin again to praise my Lord, through my poor words.
I think it's significant that when St. Francis wanted to remember the pivotal moment of his conversion--the action of God's grace--he chose his encounter with lepers. "The Lord led me among them," God's grace, "And I showed them mercy," a human response, and "what was bitter was changed to sweetness of body and soul." God's grace once more. But it's the 'sweetness of body and soul' that intrigues me on this day on which we remember Francis' being marked with the Stigmata, the wounds of Christ. In his body.
This was God telling Francis, and us, that all the He has created is good. That includes the body. It was through a human body that Jesus Christ made God's love clear on the cross. Redemption without our bodies makes no sense, nor does redemption of our bodies without our souls. And so that's how we have to live. And thank God, always.
The Lord bless and keep you!

Monday, May 30, 2011

No Rapture Yet

Peace and Good! A thought on May 21, and then May 22:

The world, so far as I can tell, is still here...
So Jesus is vindicated.
For what consolation would it have been
To have his second coming
Predicted to the day and the hour
Which would therefore make Him a liar!

God bless!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Thursday: Peter's Question

Peace and Good!
The traditional question asked at the Passover meal: "Why is this night different from all other nights?"
I think Peter and the other apostles might have had another question in their minds: "Do I want to follow this man?"
Jesus was constantly shattering their expectations while at the same time attracting them. He presented himself as "lord and teacher," and then proceeded to do what no lord and teacher would, the work of the lowliest of slaves. He told them how much they were loved by God, then told them they had to love even their enemies, and pray for their persecutors. He helped those in need--including a Roman centurion and a Samaritan woman. He told them to lay their burdens on his shoulders, then added that they had to take up their own crosses daily.
It must have crossed their minds: "Am I crazy to follow this man?"
And, yet, over the next few days he would give them his body and blood, both in the blessed sacrament and on the cross. He would forgive those who were nailing him to that very cross. He would even forgive a man who promised to be always by his side and then swore up and down that he didn't even know who he was.
Tonight we all face once more the same question: do I want to follow this man.
And we pray he will give us the courage to say, "Yes."
God bless you!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Lenten Spring Upon Us!

Peace and Good!
Reflecting on the readings for Ash Wednesday always leaves me a little perplexed. Here is a day when we literally wear our faith on our foreheads, and yet we read the gospel where we are warned not to do our acts of prayer and penance in public. But, on reflection, it seems to me that what Jesus is saying, as always, is that we have to be careful of a faith that is satisfied with externals. What Lenten penance is all about is seeking, with God's grace, the harmony of the inner and outer person.
Francis surely struggled with this, as many of the stories tell us. I think perhaps he was more tempted by the outer show, even after his conversion, than the sources would like to admit. That is why he made dramatic gestures, but more importantly why he fled human applause to confront himself in the quiet of nature, and learn to seek the true God.
May this Lenten Spring bring us all true faith and the grace of God's mercy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ordinary Time

Peace to All! With God's help I will take up again my ministry on this blog: sharing thoughts God gives me, trusting in the Holy Spirit to work grace as he will.
We have come to Ordinary Time after all the wonder and joy of Christmas. And I realized that this time, too, should fill us with wonder and joy. For "Ordinary Time" means the time that is in order, that is, that we can count (we number these weeks). And what a marvelous mystery this reveals: firstly, the order of this wonderful creation, and the fact that we can perceive and thus participate in this order. Do we ever wonder at the fact that we can count, and use numbers to understand the universe? So "ordinary time" reveals that every day is a gift, and life a constant miracle. I believe this is one of the insights that helped St. Francis live with such joy in the midst of pain and suffering. It also helped him survive the chaos of the world. May the Lord bless and give you peace!