Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Doing Good Quietly

Obedient to and in imitation of Mary, Marists have always been behind the scenes, as recommended by Jesus (cf. Mt. 6: 1-6).  Spotlights are nor for us, and from time to time, honors might be heaped upon us through the goodness of others, they are not something we seek.  Mary said to "do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5) and without much fanfare, Jesus ordered the six stone jars to be filled without an elaborate explanation of what he was about to do...Wouldn't our lives, our world be better if we all operated this way?
Bro. Rene

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Love Your Enemies

:"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Mt 5:43)..."Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Mt 5: 48). Two "impossible" commands, if we think WE are going to fulfill them.  But it is not in our power alone are we to do this, but  with God's.  Admittedly, it is very hard to forgive those who have wronged us...pain, disappointment, false pride, and anger get in the way.  Yet the ideal remains...Jesus forgave his enemies on the cross, and in forgiving, loved them...Yes, the Scribes and Pharisees too, who had been at odds with him since the debut of his public ministry...Swallow that one, when trying to muster up prayers for those who have maligned or misrepresented us....Without God's grace, we cannot do it.  Humbly let us ask for that grace and live in the trust and peace that our prayer will be answered.
Bro. Rene

Monday, June 18, 2018

Deliver Us From Evil

We might be appalled at the tales of corruption, lies and hatred that fill our headlines and news broadcasts, but they are not new.  Greed for wealth and power go back to the dawn of humanity.  In this morning's first reading from the First Book of Kings, (1 Kgs 21:1-16), we hear the story of King Ahab's desire for his neighbor, Naboth's vineyard, and his cunning wife, Jezebel's treachery to have Naboth accused falsely of having cursed God, and therefore stoned to death, freeing up his vineyard to fall into Ahab's greedy hands.  Our stomach's grind at such evil.
William Shakespeare presents another example of pride, power-seeking, deceit and dishonor in his moving Richard II.  Yet, in all of us there is a Jezebel, Richard, and Bolingbrook. That's why we pray daily in the Lord's prayer, "deliver us from evil."  God alone can squelch the tide that lurks deep within.  Jesus has overcome evil by his resurrection and has given us the victory, his victory, over the powers of darkness.
Bro. Rene

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sowing the Seed

Today's Gospel provides a fitting image for our reflection on Father's Day: sowing the seed that somehow grows, for example into a large plant, like the mustard tree. Fathers and mothers from the earliest days patiently "cultivate" their offspring with the hope that their loving care will yield future adults with the faith and values they tried to pass on to them.  It's a formidable task, and a hope that carries many ups and downs, joys and disappointments, but there is, perhaps, no greater satisfaction than  seeing young men or young women who indeed reflect all they were taught and learned through their experience to become the realization of that hope and effort.  As we honor fathers today, let us both thank and pray for them for being faithful to their call as fathers.  St. Joseph, thank you for modeling a fatherhood of faith and conformity to God's will, of patience and willingness to sacrifice for the good of the family.
Bro Rene

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Speaking Directly

"Let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no', 'no'." (Mt 5:37)  Simple? not quite... We tend to ad qualifications, nuances, exaggerations, fluff, to cover what we really mean, or to be direct, the truth.  Sometimes it's to make us look better than we are, or it's a fear that we think "political correctness" will save us from "attack".
Jesus asks us to be up front, honest, and to the point. Let's take him at his word..
In this light, several Marist Brothers will be celebrating their Jubilees today, ranging from 50-70 years of faithful living of their vows and mission to make Jesus known and loved.  They said, "yes" many years ago and meant it.  Let us pray in thanksgiving for their lives of faithful witness to their truth and for their modeling of what it means to say YES!
Bro. Rene

Friday, June 15, 2018

Purity of Heart

Keeping our hearts pure has never been easy, and these days it seems even harder, as we are bombarded by the media and now social media where the push of a computer key can bring us instantly into dangerous territory, and feed our imaginations with images that can lead us to actions we will one day regret. The ninth commandment forbids coveting our neighbor's wife.  "Coveting" is covered by Jesus in his warning that lusting after a woman is already an act of adultery, even though there is no physical contact (yet!). (Mt 5:27). Avoiding "the occasions of sin", as the Catechism and moral teaching advocate, is solid advice.  The less we put ourselves in compromising situations, the purer our hearts will be.  This simple prayer by Fr. John Conley, CSC might help us:
Lord, give us time to be silent and prayerful, conscious of your personal presence, moment by moment, sustaining us. Call us to new decisions for faithfulness and purity of heart and whenever you call us by name may we reply, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." Amen.
Bro. Rene

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Praise God For the Wonders of Creation

The White Mountains of New Hampshire have a special charm...they attract photographers, hikers, tourists, campers, skiers and folks who simply drive for miles to admire the lush scenery.  In such a setting it is easy to allow our hearts to soar in admiration and praise of the Creator, our loving God, who has bestowed us such a gift.  The Northern Hemisphere is in summer mode when warm days and nights bring needed rest to us who live and labor under undue stress and anxiety....  One not need to travel to the White Mountains to stop and give praise and thanks to God....a back yard, a city park, or simply a look up toward the heavens can suffice....Let's make it a point to do that often today.
Bro. Rene