Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Following Unreservedly

When we offer ourselves to follow Jesus unreservedly, we most likely have in mind doing anything, even walking to the ends of the earth, for him, but most of the time, the "unreservedly" means that we have to follow a path we did not have in mind, or that did not match our ambition or expectation. We hope for job interviews to get us where we want to be, or a healing prayer service to cure us or a friend immediately, but the job goes to someone else, and no apparent healing takes place.  Are we still willing to "follow unreservedly"?   We have to adjust our prayer, our hopes, our dreams to mean, whatever YOU want, Lord, not what I want.  Disappointment is a teacher and leads us to a deeper level if we can put aside our expectations and follow without any conditions, and hidden agendas, any reserve.  Jesus, teach me to follow you unreservedly as you followed the will of your Father.
Bro. Rene

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Journeying With Jesus

Jesus "resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem" (Lk 9:51), but as most of us discover, our goals are not always as easily met as when we first formulated them.  The Samaritan village where he stopped would not welcome him, so he went on toward another.
We honor St. Vincent de Paul today whose journey took many turns not anticipated at his ordination and plan to be a chaplain to the wealthy.  One encounter after another with the poor, especially his years as chaplain to galley slaves changed his mission from the wealthy to the poor. However, he used his connections with the wealthy to influence them to help the destitute.  Indeed, the example of "Monsieur Vincent" still influences us today and reminds us that journeying with Jesus can often lead to "the path less traveled by."
Bro. Rene

Monday, September 26, 2016

Faith and Healing

Cosmas and Damian: two names listed in the First Eucharistic prayer, but who were they?  They were brothers who were physicians in third century Syria.  Called "the money-less ones" because they ministered to the health of their clients without taking any compensation and  uniting their skill with their faith, they succeeded in bringing healing to many before their martyrdom and after.  They are the patrons of physicians, surgeons, pharmacists, chemists, and the blind.
Good health is on the minds of everyone, it seems, especially Senior Citizens who fill doctors offices around the world.  Medicine is a billion dollar "industry" as the pursuit of bodily health keeps its wheels turning.  More and more it is being demonstrated that faith plays a bigger role in healing than was previously admitted, though Cosmas and Damian were very aware of it 17 centuries ago and based their health care on it.  May they help us as well as those in the medical field, give it its proper place in our "scientific world."
Bro. Rene

Faith and Healing

Cosmas and Damian: two names listed in the Fist Eucharistic prayer, but who were they?  They were brothers who were physicians in third century Syria.  Called "the money-less ones" because they ministered to the health of their clients without taking any compensation and  uniting their skill with their faith, they succeeded in bringing healing to many before their martyrdom and after.  They are the patrons of physicians, surgeons, pharmacists, chemists, and the blind.
Good health is on the minds of everyone, it seems, especially Senior Citizens who fill doctors offices around the world.  Medicine is a billion dollar "industry" as the pursuit of bodily health keeps its wheels turning.  More and more it is being demonstrated that faith plays a bigger role in healing than was previously admitted, though Cosmas and Damian were very aware of it 17 centuries ago and based their health care on it.  May they help us as well as those in the medical field, give it its proper place in our "scientific world."
Bro. Rene

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Reversal of Fortune

We read today the story of two contrasting characters, the nameless rich man dressed in purple and the poor man, named Lazarus, which means, "God is my help."  As the story ends, that name is verified and could become a mantra for us. The rich man lives in luxury, never having any question about what to eat or what to wear, but in the next life, becomes the destitute beggar, while Lazarus luxuriates in the bosom of Abraham: a reversal of fortune for sure. (cf. Lk 16: 19-31)
The question posed to us by this story of contrasts is: Where am I in this picture?  Ther.e are an increasing number of Lazaruses standing on the streets with their "HOMELESS VETETRAN" signs.  What can we do to really help them?  I want to stop and encourage them to seek work or help from organizations established to help them, but, of course, the flow of traffic most often prevents a stop.  They have a story which begs to be heard before we ignore them.  We need to seek guidance ourselves on the best way to treat them as fellow human beings... Guide us, O Lord..
Bro. Rene

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Pay Attention

Before he announced his "being handed over" (arrested), Jesus urged the disciples to "pay attention" (cf. Lk 9:43b).  How often do people say things and we are thinking of something else and don't hear them?  How many times have you said something and people turn and say, "What was that?"  or repeat something totally different from what you said?  Our minds are not always fully focused and we MISS a lot, to say the least.  Jesus tries to get our attention as a parent or teacher would with the directive, "Pay attention."  .."Listen up".   This might perk our ears enough and open our minds to absorb the spoken word, but it is also an invitation to read signs that call to us from events, the body language of other people, and the beauty and sounds of nature.  God is calling for our attention constantly in a variety of ways; sadly, we are not always paying attention and miss the message. The pace at which we live, the numerous "irons in the fire" the amount of things on our "to do" list, these distract, keep us from the present moment, and deafen us to the daily contacts God tries to make with us.  Lord, help me to pay better attention to you, starting NOW!
Bro. Rene

Friday, September 23, 2016

Padre Pio and St. Thecla

Today we observe the memorials of two saints, one very popular and contemporary, the other, the first woman martyr and a contemporary of St. Paul.
For a man who rarely left his priory, St. Pius of Pietrelcino, still affectionately called Padre Pio, he drew great crowds to the Friary where he resided so much so that he was not allowed to offer Mass publicly.  His reputation grew even wider after his death and his beatification and later canonization brought vast crowds to Rome, as his heart is doing these days in Boston (and in Lowell, last  Wednesday).  He is noted for his many miracles, for his gift of reading hearts in the confessional, and for the stigmata which caused him great suffering.  He accepted his suffering in union with the suffering of Jesus and leaves us a model in dealing with our own suffering.
Legends surround the life of St. Thecla...promised in marriage, but then refused to marry after becoming a disciple of St. Paul.  When she was escaping from Lebanon to Syria, she came across a series of mountains which made it impossible for her to continue, but an angel opened a pass for her...today it's still called St. Thelca's Pass.   Another story has her being burned at the stake, but a thunderstorm arose and quenched the flames. Eventually she was martyred.
What do these two have in common?  They both put JESUS as the center of their lives to the point of suffering for and with him.  May we follow their examples as best as possible.
Bro. Rene