Friday, August 29, 2014

The Passion of John the Baptist

Note:  I had to publish the statistics on our global outreach separately.  The number of hits yesterday was 88; for the month so far,over a thousand, and since our beginning, 51,500!  Way to go, Holy 
Spirit!

Today's Memorial, more commonly known as the Beheading of John the Baptist, calls to mind the infamous "Dance of the Seven Veils", but in light of recent events, this traditional name is still very appropriate. The word "passion"  suggests both suffering, as in the Passion of Jesus, but also carries the meaning of "energy", drive and love...as in having a passion for hiking or a passionate relationship.  St. John, certainly had a passion for his mission and did not hold back in "preparing the way of the Lord."  He told it "like it was" to all who came to hear him, and certainly did that to Herod in denouncing his adulterous relationship with Herodias, his brother's wife.  His passionate outcry cost him imprisonment and later, his life, and as such, he  became a model for the martyrs of yesterday and today.  And a model as well  for us to stand up and live our beliefs without compromise no matter what the cost to reputation or job or "popularity"  May he bless us with his courage and strength of conviction and enable us to speak out when we are challenged or when circumstances demand it
Bro. Rene

Going Global!

 United States
88
Russia
71
Ukraine
21
Turkey
18
Poland
7
Germany
3
United Kingdom
2
Ireland
2
Australia
1
Canada
1    These are the current figures on the global outreach of our Daily Bread. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mastering the Will

Augustine of Tagaste, a city in northern Africa,  was an intelligent, strong-willed young man, who for years searched for Truth, and finally found it as a result of his mother's prayers, the dead-end roads he took with philosophy and some of the heretical movements of his time, and the convincing sermons of another strong-willed man, Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. These two met head-on, but along with the help of God's grace and his own "travel fatigue" Augustine "broke" when he picked up the scriptures and read, "Let us then throw off the works of darkness [and] put o the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry ad jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh." (Rm 13:12-14) Augustine  knesw these verses spoke directly to him and from that moment, bent his will towards baptism.
When he returned to Tagaste he established a kind of community of prayer and study, and soon after was, by popular acclaim, made Bishop of Hippo, where he turned his strong will and intellect to refuting the heresies of his day and serving the pastoral needs of the Church for 40 years.  His writings continue to influence the Church and challenge Christians to master their wills by turning them away from what fails to satisfy to the TRUTH!
Bro. Rene

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Monica's Mission

St. Monica's mission was to pray for and accompany her husband, Patricius and son, Augustine on their journey toward baptism...Patricius was baptized a year before his death, and Monica lived to see Augustine baptized after twenty years of prayerfully entrusting her intention for his conversion to God.
This story repeats itself in so many families today when mothers, grandmothers, and friends relate the tales of loved ones who have rejected or simply lost the faith.  I received such an email this morning along with a request for prayers.  Monica's persistence and patience is a model for us, and despite her at times "strong" intervention in her son's life causing his resentment, when he did convert and soon after lost his mother to a fever, his expression of gratitude and love showed how much he appreciated and loved her.  We never know how in God's plans our prayers fit in, but we continue in the hope that as with Augustine, they will be answered favorably
Bro. Rene

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gospel Cleaning

There are all kinds of cleaning products on the market, but none as effective as the one provided by Jesus:  the cleaning of in inside of the cup or dish first.  This principle applies beyond the literal to everything we are an do.  Jesus urges us to let shine on the outside what we are on the inside; no room for hypocrisy or hidden ego-inflating motivation, but rather  a purity of heart and intention.
Cleanse or hearts, O Lord, or those things which keep us from allowing our true selves to shine forth.
Bro. Rene

Monday, August 25, 2014

St. Joseph Calasanz

A Spaniard from Aragon in Spain, Joseph became a diocesan priest.  When he went to Rome in 1592, he helped St. Camillus de Lellis care for victims of the plague, but later, in 1597, he opened a "free school" there in the Eternal City, took in homeless children and founded the Order of Piarists who care for and educate children. In a way, he is a predecessor of St. Marcellin, and is known as the patron of Catholic schools..
With schools opening next week (some are already open), his Memorial comes at a good time to hlep us reflect on the value and purpose of our Catholic schools.   They exist to educate and form students in the Catholic faith.  The formation does not take place only in the classroom, but in the whole ambiance of the school, in an atmosphere of order based on mutual respect and the Golden Rule.  Service activities, retreats, the celebration of the liturgy reinforce the overall experience of the faith.
Teachers living out their faith demonstrate what they teach, and as such, should be living an active faith life, for they cannot give what they do not have.  All of this requires effort and commitment.  May we all band behind our schools in prayer that they fulfill their mission in these very difficult and challenging times.
Bro. Rene

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Growing Back Clipped Wings

Not everything proceeds smoothly or without challenge.  Sometime disappointment or tragedy make us feel as if our wings have been clipped and we can fly no further.  The good news is that clipped wings can grow back, and most times are stronger than before they were cut.  The cure is to take up the invitation of Jesus to come aside and rest with him; he will refresh the weary soul as no other "remedy" can.   He has promised to make all things new, and sometimes the clipping is necessary for the new to come about.   What is going on in my life today?  Am I being clipped or made new?   In any case, gratitude and appreciation are key in the regrowth; bitterness and resentment will keep the wings in their stumped condition.
Bro. Rene
Note:  I will most likely be without internet access till Monday...but there may be a surprise in the rectory where I'll be staying Saturday night...but before that, definitely not...  Fly high this weekend!