Thursday, July 24, 2014

God's Mercy

"O Lord, your mercy reaches to heaven;/ your faithfulness to the clouds." (Ps 36: 1). We need to repeat this over and over to remind ourselves that there is no end to God's love, care and forgiveness, his tender mercy toward us who continually find ourselves in or create circumstances where only the mercy of God can help us. The recent hit movie, "Heaven is for Real" gives a dramatic example of how prayers for God's mercy and healing were answered. Young Colton Prebo's abdomen was full of infection after his burst appendix was removed but the prayers of the congregation moved God to mercy and Colton recovered overnight, much to the amazement of the doctors.
Each day when we awake, we experience the mercy of God who has brought us through another night and given us another day of surprises and opportunities to receive his mercy. At Mass we pray three times for this mercy; the words can become rote, but if said from the heart, they become a prayer that puts us in touch with the merciful heart of God. "Lord, have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy!"
Bro. Rene

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Born Needing Christ

"O happy fault" the deacon chants during the Exultet at the Easter Vigil. Yes, as a result of Original Sin, we are born needing Christ, and it is this need that DRIVES us toward him. He is the only one who can fulfill that need, supply our weakness and give us the strength we need to fulfill our life's purpose.
It's amazing how in story after story of the lives of saints that this becomes apparent.
Today, we remember St. Bridget of Sweden, born of pious parents in 1303, wedded at 13, mother of 8 children and later founder of the Most Holy Savior, or Bridgetines. Her husband, Ulf, must have been a special man, for after the birth of their last child, Catherine, now known as St. Catherine of Sweden, he and Bridget took a vow of celibacy and later, he entered a Cistercian monastery, where he died a year later. Was it not the need for a deeper union with Christ that drove them up these extraordinary steps to sanctity? How far can we be taken if we pay attention to our need of Christ and allow him to fill it?
Bro. Rene

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Recognizing Christ

Today we honor Mary Magdalene whose repentance, faithfulness and love brought her first to the empty tomb, and first to see the risen Jesus. It was not an immediate recognition, as the story unfolds, and it is quite astounding that she who spent so much time with Jesus did not recognize him. It took HIS initiative to awaken her powers of recognition.
How often each day do we walk past people, even talk to them, and yet not acknowledge that Jesus is present in each one of them? It takes a poke from Jesus, or perhaps a slice of bread to remind us of the great truth that we meet Jesus daily in each other. May Mary's faithfulness and passion for Jesus rub off on us, open our eyes, and move our hearts to loving recognition of our Lord and best friend, Jesus.
Bro. Rene

Monday, July 21, 2014

Reform and Renewal

Reform and Renewal are patterns that date way back to the Old Testament, especially in the period of the Kings, when one king would drift towards idolatry and lead the people astray. Punishment would come by way of defeat in battle, and the next king or prophet would lead the people through repentance to reform. So too in the history of the Church and its religious orders and congregations.
The Marist Brothers of the United States, along with all the 3,500 brothers throughout the world are assembling in the next few years before our 200th birthday in 2017, to take a good look at ourselves and see if there is a new way of being brother. Close to 130 brothers have gathered at St. Alfonzo Retreat House in Long Branch, NJ to do just this. We ask for prayers that the Holy Spirit will guide us and remind us that the answers we seek are usually found not in abstract theories, but in the realities of the heart. This is true for all Christians who seek to lead a more sincere and deeper Christian Life. And, it is by banding together, sharing our collective wisdom, and seeking strength and courage from Jesus that we move ahead with confidence.
Bro. Rene
Note: The last few days have not allowed access to the internet, but so far it looks like St. Alfonzo will help us stay on line.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Caring for the Sick

After a troubled youth, Camillus was converted by the kindness of a Capuchin Friar, and wanted to join the order. He was refused because of a chronic ulcer condition on one of his legs, so he volunteered at a hospital in Rome.  Finding the help there sorely uncompassionate and incompetent, he founded his own Order to care for the patients.  The Order thrived and continues today.   St. Camillus de Lellis is the patron of the sick, hospitals and nurses.
Today with so much concern for health care and, despite all our technological and medical science advances, there seems to be a greater need than ever for caregivers for those suffering from illnesses of all sorts.   Having had more contact with doctors and hospitals since Easter than ever in my life, I am aware of the great services they provide and am grateful for them.  We might make it part of our prayer today to pray to St. Camillus in behalf of those who are in the medical field, and, if we can, send a card of gratitude to our doctors and nurses, and perhaps visit someone who is in the hospital or homebound.
St. Camillus, pray for us!
Bro. Rene

Monday, July 14, 2014

St. Kateri Tekakwitha

The "Lily of the Mohawks," the first Native American saint was canonized two years ago, after a long gap since her death in 1680. Notable about her life was her desire for baptism, her love of the Eucharist, and her service to the ill. She suffered persecution for her faith and had to leave her native village in order to practice her faith. She was baptized at the age of 23 and died the year after. She lived out the works of St. Paul. "Whatever gains I had , these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ." (Phil 3:7-10). May she help us to find our fullness in Jesus.
Bro. Rene

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Abundant Sower

The Sower went out to sow his seed...we never know how much, but knowing that the Sower is our loving Lord, we can imagine that the supply is limitless...He lavishes it on the thorns, on the hard ground, over the shallow beds and on the deep fertile ground.  He just keeps throwing.  What an image for us who might want to "be careful" "not waste", "make sure"...
Not when it comes to love.  That just comes in endless abundance.
A story of Pope Francis might help illustrate his interpretation of the parable and of how we should live out Christian lives.  When he was Cardinal of Buenos Aires, he would walk once a week through the Barrios, the very poor neighborhoods.  People flocked all around him in the narrow alleys.  Children would be in front of him and behind him.  At some point, he'd come across a card table set up as an altar ready for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.  Right there, in the dirty alleys among the poorest of the poor, he would celebrate Mass and distribute Holy Communion to All, not asking the questions about their current marriage status, or even their membership in the Catholic Church.  His philosophy was that they were hungering for Christ and that He who came for the salvation of ALL would want him to sow and distribute as described in the parable.  We sing a hymn at Mass:  "All are welcome, all are welcome at this feast."  We might look into our hearts today to see if they are welcoming hearts, if they are loving hearts, ready to cast love everywhere and on everyone.  Let us pray that the spirit of the Sower find deep roots within us.
Bro. Rene