Sunday, October 22, 2017

Against Greed

Note:  I will be at the Oblate Retreat Center in San Antonio, Texas for the next two days...I may or may not be able to "cut" a slice of bread...If not, there will be bread on Thursday.

One of the Capital sins, Greed has never found favor with Jesus or any spiritual teacher since.  Jesus puts it simply:  "one's life does not consist of possessions." (Lk 12:15).  Another translation reads, "possessions do not guarantee life."  Being greedy is not necessarily tied in with money, but THINGS, attachments cars, houses, antiques, can be imprisoning and blinding, preventing us from seeing ourselves, others, the world, with the eyes of God. Jesus urges that we store us "treasures" in what matters to God. May we be able, through grace, to discern just what they are, and may God grant us the courage to act on what we discover.
Bro. Rene

Mercy Changes the World

Besides being the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, today the Catholic Church observes World Mission Sunday.  It is also the Optional Memorial of St. John Paul II.  The theme for Mission Sunday is, "Mercy Changes The World." a concept close to the heart of Pope Francis. St. John Paul II, with over 100 trips around the world, and with his personal charisma, was a powerful evangelizer.  It is fitting that his Memorial falls on this day.
 The Church is expanding rapidly in "Mission Countries", Africa, Asia, the South Pacific and Central America; prayers and fiances are requested throughout the world to help support these new missions. The Marist Brothers work untiringly and creatively in these areas and are supported by generous contributions from our summer Mission Appeal talks in various dioceses of the United States.  Requesting prayers for our missionaries is always part of our appeal, so today,  with an emphasis on mercy, might we pray that we ourselves become more merciful. and  that those "in the field" be blessed with the gifts of patience and fortitude to  meet the relentless demands for mercy among the people of these missionary parishes.  May we also pray for more vocations to fill the ever-increasing  pastoral and educational needs in these mission countries. "Mercy Changes the World."
Bro. Rene

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Mother of Mercy

":Hail, Mother of Mercy and of Love, O Maria." These words from a popular hymn honoring Mary remind us that Mary shares a mercy role with her Son to whom devotion as the author of mercy has grown with the spread of the Divine Mercy Chaplet devotion and the image of the Jesus of Mercy. The story goes in the Revelations of Saint Bridget, that Jesus urged his mother to ask some favor of him. She, like Queen Esther, asked for mercy for all people; Jesus assured her that whoever asked of mercy through her, would obtain it.  Pope Saint Leo wrote, "Mary is so ready to show mercy that she merits to be called not only merciful, but mercy itself." How much do we need mercy?  Does the world need mercy?  Mother of Mercy grant us the gift of mercy which we so desperately need and and fervently seek.
Bro. Rene

Friday, October 20, 2017

Worry

"What me worry?"  Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Neuman has made this a classic question, but the truth is, we all worry.  Jesus frequently argues that there really is nothing to worry about, citing the lilies of the field, the birds of the air, the hairs on our head and our worth compared to the many sparrow that fly undaunted daily, finding all they need to eat and nest.  Yet we persist in our obsession with worry fear and anxiety
Noted spiritual author, Caryll Houselander, wrote many years ago that trust is accepting that "whatever God allows to happen, is, in his plan of love, what is really best for you and those whom you love." (Magnificat, October, p.296).  She continues:  "The more you say, 'I must not worry,' the more you will: I think it better simply to offer the worrying to God...." (op.cit.)  She dealt with worry by imagining the worst that could happen and then asked, "So what?"  If it worked for her, it might just work for us.
Bro. Rene

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Layiing Down One's Life

From 1642-1649, St. John de Brebeuf, St. Isaac Jogues, St. Rene Goupil and their companions were martyred for their faith in what is now upstate New York.  A large, peaceful tract of land near Auriesville, (actually Fultonville) is dedicated to the memory of these North American Martyrs and serves as a reminder that the faith we celebrate in this country came at a price,  The example of these French Jesuits who with great passion and conviction taught, suffered beatings, mutilation and finally, death reminds us that indeed, there is not greater love than to lay down one's life for another. Rather than cling to the great gift of life, they "threw it away" so that others might live.  The faith did grow and spread in that area, and ten years after the death St. Isaac, in a village near where he was martyred, St. Kateri Tekakwitha was born.
When pain, illness, disappointment or even failure enter our lives, we might remember the example of these men, whose memorial is today,  and these words of Bishop Robert Baron:  "Cling to your life and you will lose it; invest it, throw it away in love, and you will get it back thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."
Bro. Rene

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Lambs Among Wolves

As we celebrate the Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist, artist, physician, companion of Paul, we hear Jesus instructing the 72 disciples whom he sent out in pairs to prepare the towns for his own visit.  He warns them that their task will not be easy, "Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves." (Lk 10: 3).
Vatican II made it clear that all are "disciples", evangelizers, carriers of the good news.  It is not simple the mission of the clergy or those in consecrated life, but all the baptized have this same call to bear witness by word and example, to heal (in whatever way we can), to forgive, to show compassion and acceptance, to act with justice.  We may find resistance, mockery, indifference and rejection, but if we remember Jesus' warning that we are lambs among wolves, we will find joy in these negatives as much as we find it in our successes.
Bro. Rene

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Keeping the Cup Clean

When the Pharisees criticized Jesus for not observing the prescribed washing before the meal at the home of a Pharisee, Jesus turned the complaint back to them and retorted: "Oh, you Pharisees!  Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil." (Lk 11: 39).  He explains that by giving alms, "everything will be clean for you." (Lk 11:41).  We've heard the expression, "Charity covers a multitude of sins." And surely it does, for when it comes to meeting our God, he will not ask how many "little laws" did you keep or break, but how much did you love?  Our human weakness keeps us from scoring less than perfect on the details of the Law, but the spirit of the law is to love as Jesus did.  Yes, keeping the law will help us do that, but if we concentrate on loving our neighbor, reaching out to help the needy, giving from our need as well as from our abundance of our time, talent, and resources,  we'll find true cleanliness of heart, our "cup" will be clean and flowing over.
Bro. Rene