Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Reconciling opposing parties is difficult, as we see daily in our headlines. Factions, countries, neighbors seem to be constantly slinging it out without an progress toward a peaceful settlement In our own lives, there are smaller versions of this scenario.  In today's Gospel, Jesus directs us to speak directly to the person who has faulted us, or, if necessary, to gather others to help. If none of this works, then leave the situation.  Sounds easy on paper, but not so easy to do.  Praying over the matter leads to surprising results....Would it help if Jesus were present?  No question.  Then ask him.
Bro. Rene

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Assumption of the Blessed VirginMary

The oldest feast in honor of Mary, dating back 1600 years, and celebrated this day around the world, and with great solemnity in the Eastern Church, is also a very special feast for Marists, for many Brothers took the Marist Habit and later pronounced their first vows on this day.
As Marists we look to Mary for her obedience and compliance with the Will of God to bring forth his Son into the World. We look to Mary for her humility,  "for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant." (Lk 1:48). With Mary, we look to God for his mercy and power to scatter the proud and conceited and lift up the lowly.  With Mary we look to God to fill us with the food we need for both body and soul. (cf. Lk 1:53)  Mary shows us the way and invites us to join her in the mission of bringing Jesus to the world. May we remain as solidly faithful as she was and may we spend the day pondering her place in our lives and all the good the Father has done for us.  May our lives,like Mary's "Proclaim (magnify) his greatness."( Lk 1: 46)
Bro. Rene

Monday, August 14, 2017

Laying Down One's Life For Others

When he was a young boy (10 or 12), Maximilian Kolbe was blessed with a vision from Mary who offered him two crowns, a white one for purity, and a red one for martyrdom; he accepted both, He became a Franciscan and worked hard to spread devotion to Mary in Poland and as a missionary in Japan.  Because of ill health, he returned to Poland, wrote and spoke extensively against Nazism, for which he was arrested and sent to Auschwitz.  There he offered to replace a young husband and father who had been selected for the starvation chamber.  Maximilian outlived the others in the bunker, and was finally put to death by lethal injection.  The man he saved was present at his canonization.
St. Maximilian stands as an example of one who not only accepted to be a "martyr of charity" but of one, who accepted, as did Mary, a life of total service to God and the well-being of others, without counting the cost to himself. When we feel "blah" or have grown lukewarm in our prayer or Mass attendance, let St Maximilian come to mind to give us incentive and perspective. Because of his great love of God and Mary, he found the motivation and power to do the extraordinary.  He invites us to do the same.
Bro. Rene

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Cheerful Giver

In begging the church of Corinth for financial aid, St. Paul in his second letter reminds them and us that to sow bountifully is to reap bountifully and that God loves a cheerful giver. (Cf 2 Cor 9: 6-7)  Even when not talking in terms of money but of time, talent, and life itself, giving is the basic formula to happiness.  St.Lawrence, Rome's famous Deacon, saw to it that the city poor were cared for and when challenged to turn over the Church's treasures to Roman authorities, he gathered these poor and presented them as the real treasures of the Church.  His view of them challenges us to see the poor in the same light, and his cheerfulness while being roasted on the gridiron challenges us to be cheerful when giving our last ounce of energy, our last ounce of self.  St. Lawrence, teach us to give bountifully and cheerfully.
Bro. Rene

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Persistence Prevails

The bothersome Canaanite woman was a thorn both in the sides of the disciples and of Jesus, at first.  The disciples urged him to  "send her away" and he simply did not say a word to her. As she persisted, he explained that he had come to the house of Israel, and it was not right to take their food and give it to the dogs.  Could be taken as an insult, but she continued with the line that convinced Jesus to answer her request as well as to give a marvelous example to the disciples, that even the "bothersome" deserve their attention and compassion:   Yes, even those "dogs" who eat the scrap that fall from their master's table can have the faith that causes Jesus to work miracles.  (Cf. Mt 15: 21-28).  
As Marists, and disciples of St. Marcellin, our "territory" is with the "dogs" of society, those on the fringes, those in the poverty of ignorance, especially of their faith.  We need to be as persistent with them as the Canaanite woman was with Jesus.  As she eventually convinced him, so by our presence, example, and word, we will convince them and bring them  'round to the table to eat as members of the family.
Bro. Rene

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Walking on Water

What would be our reaction if we heard Jesus tell us to jump out of the boat and walk on water?  And if we did take a few steps without sinking, how would we feel?  Would we lose confidence and begin to fear as Peter did?  We might chide him and say, "You were already walking on the water, why did you succumb to the fear that  you might sink?"  And as you lost faith, lo, you did begin to sink.  Yet, as we wonder at Peter's doubt, how much like him would we be?  Or are we?
When things are going well, and "all the ducks" are in order, doesn't the question arise, "How long will this last?" We are Peter, and like him, we need JESUS!  At least in our doubts and breaches of confidence, let us turn to him...Eventually we will learn and become rock solid in our faith and trust.
We look to St. Dominic, whose Memorial we celebrate, and see how he leaped out of the boat to confront the Albigensian heretics, which eventually meant leaving the Canons of St. Augustine and founding a new religious Order based on prayer and study, whose mission would be preaching, the Order of Preachers or Dominicans. He had plenty of reasons to doubt his ability to walk on these waters, but his faith kept him afloat.  It can do so for us too.
Bro /Rene

Monday, August 7, 2017

Giving In Abundance Always

When Jesus heard the news of his cousin, John the Baptist's brutal death, it was the final straw, it seemed, in a bad week. He had been rejected by the people of Nazareth and had to leave to save his skin.  To ease his sorrow, he sought a place of solitude so he could regain his focus on his Father and his mission,   But that was not to be; the crowds found him; they were hungry for his teaching and healing, and to boot, were also hungry for food, so he fed them.  The numbers are astounding:  5 loaves, two fishes, 12 baskets of fragmented left-overs and 5,000 men (not counting women and children) fed.  Is there no limit to the goodness of Jesus, of his abundant giving?  No, certainly not.
It is this image, and fact about Jesus that should spur us on when we think people are asking too much of us and we feel the need for a break. When it doesn't come, or is interrupted, it's time to pray over Jesus and the 5,000, or to St. Cajetan, whose Memorial is today.  He was a lawyer turned priest, a reformer, a founder of a hospital for the incurable and the founder of a group of fellow priests who worked to reform a corrupt clergy and church. Like Jesus, he gave entirely of himself for others, and when dying asked to be placed on a bed of planks because Jesus died on the wood of the cross.
When we feel tired, spent or in a "poor me" mode, these examples might give us to give limitlessly and in abundance.
Bro. Rene