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Showing posts from February, 2016

“Moses, We Need to Talk.”

Week Three:  Halfway through Lent!  The blaze of grand resolutions has died down to an occasionally glowing ember.  I believe that the lessons of this week’s Scripture readings say to us that this is a good state of affairs.  Simplicity and humility are marks of true holiness.  God calls Moses to Himself by means of a quietly burning bush, not a cinematic conflagration.  He names Himself “I Am”, not “The Great and Powerful God Almighty”.  Namaan is healed by a simple act, “Go, wash seven times in the Jordan.”—not by some magical, mystical Shaman-special-performance.  Centuries later, an unbelievable act of self-sacrifice is explained by a simple statement:  “He has children—I do not.”—not by a theological dissertation on conforming to Christ.
So often in our narcissistic, “selfie” driven society, the “I did it my way” mentality tempts us away from the way of Christ, making it hard for us to see the virtue of humility as a good to be sought after.  Holiness is for everyone, not just fo…

I Love the Stations!

One of the beautiful things about being Franciscan is our traditional devotion to the Passion of Christ. With that comes the devotion of the Stations of the Cross. We pray them regularly throughout the year, the month, the week! I always get excited when the rest of the Church joins us in this practice throughout the season of Lent.

I had to smile at my students this past Friday as a discussion waged shortly before our school Stations of the Cross. How long do they take? 10 minutes? 20 minutes? The questions circled the classroom. As I answered each one, and reminded them about the protocol for praying them together as a group, one boy piped up from the back. 
"I love Stations of the Cross!"
Me too.
The joy on his face as he announced this proclamation caught some of the other third graders attention as well, and started a whole wave of agreement. There is something about traveling those last hours with our Lord that speaks volumes. It's living the story in a more intimate w…

Fulfillment of Desire

I recently watched the movie, Little Boy.  It is about a lonely child who is desperate for his father, a soldier in World War II, to come back home.  Every day, Little Boy goes to face the setting sun on the water front and tries to bring his father back through his will power.  The townspeople, watching him every day, move from amusement to pity, perhaps even fear.  No one says it out loud, but everyone wonders, “What if Dad doesn’t come back?  Won’t Little Boy be disappointed?  Has he been encouraged to work so hard for his father’s return in vain?”








       This Sunday’s reading on the Transfiguration reminded me of this scene.  Many commentators interpret the Transfiguration as an event to prepare Peter, James, and John for the scandal of the cross.  Moses and Elijah appear with the transfigured Jesus.  Did they ask, “Why did it take so long for you to come?  What was all those years of salvation history for, anyway?”  No, they were in awe of Jesus’ presence, just like the apos…

Under My Mother’s Mantle

Children like to dress up.  They like to pretend.  Like many of their “role models,” they like to be.  As a child, did you ever play house—deciding among your friends or siblings who would be the mother, the father and the children?  As a child, did you ever put on your mother’s or your father’s shoes and try to walk about in them?  Did you ever play school, pretending to be the teacher with either real or imaginary students?  Did you ever play as if you were a fireman or an outdoor adventurer or even a priest or a religious?
            All of that came to mind when, recently, after mentioning to a priest my Lenten desire to be at the foot of the Cross, I was asked or instructed to be like Mary, to put myself in her shoes so to speak.  Mary is not only the Mother of Jesus and the Model for Religious, but she is the Mother of us all.  How desirous Mary is to wrap her mantle around us and to send us off to do what she would do and to be where she would be.  What joy that m…

A Tour of Mercy

“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!”   (Diary, 84) Blood and water!  The Evangelist John saw blood and water flowing from Jesus’ side after the soldier on Calvary thrust a spear into His side. From His side we receive the gift of the Eucharist and the gift of Baptism and the Holy Spirit. Jesus asked Saint Faustina, “My daughter, tell everyone that I am Love and Mercy personified” (Diary, 1074).   Knowing this, the two rays (Diary, 299) radiating out from His Heart, combined with this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy: the Fountain of Mercy that flows out upon suffering man, through His Hands, and then through our hands to one another. That receptivity of Mercy: received and given.






One day, I walked through the Holy Door at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and took a seat in the back pew just inside the Holy Door.  Glancing to my left toward the Image of the Divine Mercy and Saint Faustina, the painting of Saint Mari…

Encountering Christ in the Fast

I have kept journals most of my adult life.  I write about things that I want to remember.  I record facts that I might need someday, or advice and insights that have made a difference.  I write things down so as not to lose them. ...This article is about fasting.  At the beginning of Lent, the Church exhorts us to pray, fast, and give alms.  These disciplines counter the three-fold concupiscence that St. John the Evangelist describes as "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (1 John 2:16).
However, while fasting aims to correct a disordered desire for pleasure (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2351), it would be wrong to consider it merely negatively.  If fasting necessarily deprives us of something, it presupposes that we have received a grace, that we have encountered Christ!  In this way, fasting is the means by which we keep the grace of the encounter by renouncing the desire to reproduce the encounter by our own initiative.
C.S. Lewi…

Veni Si Amas Retreat - April 8-10, 2016

Veni Si Amas Retreat Where:  St. Francis Convent, Alton, IL
Who:  Single, Catholic women age 17-30
When: Friday, April 8th at 6:30pm/7:00pm to Sunday, April 10th at 9:00am
For more information or questions, please contact Sr. M. Consolata at vocations@altonfranciscans.org