Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Approaching Jerusalem

Enjoy this small but spectacular taste of 
a forthcoming IMAX movie
featuring a tour of the Holy Land.

(With thanks to Ed A. for sharing.)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Parish Picnic Pictures!

Thanks to all who were able to come and bake for our 2nd Annual Parish Picnic this past Sunday! 
Looking forward to seeing you again next year!
Check out the pictures below... 

Take what you need!

Take what you need!

Christians have been formed through the Holy Spirit into one catholic (universal) community.  St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians tells us that our unity comes from our shared belief in Jesus’ death and resurrection, and that that unity is nurtured by the gifts, originating in Christ, that the Spirit bestows upon individuals to make them more like Jesus.

Which of the gifts in the picture above are you most in need of today?  Take what you need:  Jesus offers them for free, if only we are open to accepting them!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Olympic Swimmer Draws on Catholic Faith

Check out this great article about 15-yo Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky and cheer her and Team USA on at the London Games!

When does she find time for her faith with a busy training schedule?

"I always pray right before a race. The prayer I say is the Hail Mary," said Ledecky, adding that her faith and the sacraments give her a welcome opportunity to pause in her busy routine. "I also love going to Mass every week. It's a great chance to reflect and connect with God. (My faith) has been a big part of my life since I was born."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sunday Gospel Reflection: July 29th 2012

John 6:1-15

Today’s Gospel begins one of my favorite books of the Bible, the sixth book of John. The book begins with a great crowd of 5,000 people following Jesus, taking in everything he has to say. Jesus, caring for their needs both spiritual and physical asks his disciples to feed them. The disciples don’t have enough food or nearly enough money to do so, for them it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. From the crowd a boy emerges with five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus takes the food, gave thanks and then distributes them to the crowds. From meager portions everyone ate until they were full and in abundance they collected 12 baskets of leftovers.

 We do not believe in a God who says “no” but in a God of eternal “yes”. God gives us all good things in abundance because He created us and knows us better than we know ourselves. Could we or someone else create something to make us happier than God who made us? We should expect great things from God for Jesus Himself told us to knock and the door will be opened to you, seek and you shall find. Sometimes reality does not meet our prayers or expectations. When we experience this disappointment or pain we can either choose to withdraw from God or to discern how God is working in this experience, to, in faith be opened to new expectations or possibilities.

The sixth book of John ends with the same crowds who experienced the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 disappointed, walking away, abandoning Jesus. Jesus reveals Himself to them, telling them that He is the bread that has come down from heaven, that his body and blood are food for the world and that if they eat his flesh and drink His blood they will have eternal life. The crowds were not ready to have faith or remain open to changing expectations. Jesus’ Apostles too were faced with a choice. When Jesus asks if they too will leave St. Peter says with heroic faith and love Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of everlasting life. We too must expect great things from God but always be open to the abundance of God fulfilling that promise.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion
-What do we deeply desire that we have not been asking God for?
-In what ways are we disappointed or feeling unfulfilled? How might God be speaking to us through that experience?

Photo Credit 1, 2

Friday, July 27, 2012

Welcome Archbishop-Elect Cordileone!

Today in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, which includes more than a half million Catholics of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties, we welcome our new Archbishop-elect Salvatore Cordileone who, originally from San Diego, has served most recently as the Bishop of Oakland. The appointment of a new leader of our local church is always a time of celebration, excitement and wonder about the future direction of all of our family of faith here in the Archdiocese. Check out his statement of introduction at the press conference at St. Mary's Cathedral this morning:

The Church of San Francisco has a tremendous legacy of Catholic ministries and participation in the local community for serving the common good.  While assuming the pastoral care of a local Church as its bishop is always a daunting challenge, I am encouraged by the history we have to build upon and take confidence that, with much prayer and hard work, and with the grace of God, we will, together, be able to further the New Evangelization in this corner of the world we call home.

Today, I ask that we join with the Archbishop-elect (who will be installed as Bishop on the Feast of St. Francis, October 4th!) in offering a prayer to God for our parish, Archdiocese and for our new Archbishop himself, that together we may all continue to serve the common good by loving God and one another more and more each day. If we want peace in our world it must begin in our hearts!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

You give them their food in due season...

We all know the story of the loaves and fishes; it’s the only miracle story found in all four Gospels.  And we humans tend to cling to those stories of tangible miracles, as the crowds of Jesus’ time did:  they follow Jesus, hoping for yet another spectacle, a miracle to witness and tell their friends about.  Plus, they all know the story of Elisha (in the second Book of Kings), whose mini-miracle – using a whopping twenty barley loaves to feed only a hundred people – vigorously affirmed the power of the God of Israel.  So they’re probably thinking, let’s see if he can beat Elisha’s numbers.  And does he ever!

With Elisha in mind, Jesus takes the five barley loaves and two fish supplied by a nameless boy, gives thanks, and distributes them to all who are hungry, about five thousand in number.  And no one questions him:  the disciples trust that Jesus knows what he’s doing, and they follow his every request.  Indeed, the crowd follows practically with the expectation that Jesus can do pretty much anything.

Now, Elisha had leftovers, but nothing like what Jesus has:  twelve wicker baskets filled with leftover food.  Why this detail?  Because, besides just meeting the physical hunger of his followers, Jesus wants them to understand that the food he offers will satisfy their spiritual needs as well – and not just sufficiently, but in abundance.  The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs, the psalmist tells us.  All our needs.  Only from a place of faith can we move beyond the pyrotechnics of the spectacle to the deeper meaning of the multiplication of loaves and fishes:  that if we but trust in God, Jesus’ Truth will feed and sustain us beyond our wildest imaginings.  And this is just the beginning of the Bread of Life discourse; there’s more to come next week!

(This reflection is based on notes from Fr. Pat's Thursday night Scripture class.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sleeping with Bread

How can we learn to hear God’s voice in our lives?  

Sleeping with Bread, by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn, S.J., explores the deep value of asking two simple questions daily:  “For what am I most grateful?  For what am I least grateful?”  This very straightforward book proposes ways in which a simplified version of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s “examen” can help individuals, families, and faith sharing groups to understand God’s will in their lives and find direction for a given day or for a lifetime. 

How does it work?  Well, identifying what we’re grateful for helps us to remember to give thanks to God for the blessings in our lives.  Identifying what we are least grateful for helps us to appreciate that we are not denying the negative aspects of life; it also allows us to feel that God is with us even in difficult moments, and helps us to heal.  Doing this exercise in a group (say, at dinner with our family) means sharing our greatest joys and challenges, which, in turn, can give us the strength to cope with whatever difficulties we encounter.  When we are attentive to everyday experience, we come to understand how daily experience is in fact divine revelation, which, in turn can help us to understand and articulate God’s “sealed orders” for our lives.  And that’s what discernment is all about:  moving forward in our journey.

A copy of this book is available in the Religious Education Office, if you are interested in checking it out.

BTW, why the title?

Monday, July 23, 2012

God is Enough

One of St. Teresa of Avila’s most moving prayers echoes this past Sunday’s psalm in its recognition that trust in God can get us through the most difficult times:

Let nothing trouble you.
Let nothing scare you.
All is fleeting.
God alone is unchanging.
Everything obtains.
He who possesses God
Wants for nothing.
God alone suffices.

St. Teresa’s words have been put to music by the Catholic composer David Haas. To hear this beautiful prayer song, click on the following link, “God Alone is Enough,” scroll down to MP3, and click on the small Microphone icon to the right of center of the page.  The song is also available on David Haas’s “God is Here” CD.

Source of St. Teresa’s prayer:  From The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Volume Three translated by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriquez (c) 1985 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites ICS Publications 2131 Lincoln Road, N.E. Washington, D.C. 20002 U.S.A.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

July 22nd 2012: Sunday Gospel Reflection

In today’s Gospel Jesus meets his apostles as they return from traveling to spread the Good News of Jesus and teach others about him. They must have been so excited to see their friends and Jesus again and to share all about how God had worked through them! Yet in a silent but powerful lesson Jesus instructs them to come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while. Instead of staying together, sharing food and wine, Jesus instructs them to go in solitude to reflect and rest in God.

Jesus, in his wisdom, knew that his apostles needed time to pray, reflect and rest in God. We too are in desperate need of time spent in solitude in a deserted place to pray, reflect and rest in God. Jesus told his apostles to go to a deserted place to retreat since the crowds following Jesus and his apostles were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. Like so many of our dangerously busy lives, they had people who constantly wanted and needed things from them. How often are our lives so busy and full with meeting deadlines at work, rushing to numerous activities, or attending to the needs of family and friends that we don’t even find the time to eat? When we are so busy that we don’t even take the time to attend to our own basic physical needs of eating, sleeping, exercising, etc. we fortunately see the physical reminders of this: a rumbling stomach, bags under our eyes, exhaustion, crankiness, lethargy, etc. and we are reminded that we need to stop and take care of ourselves.

Yet if we sometimes have trouble taking care of our obvious physical needs how well are we taking care of our inner-spirit and the needs of our inner life? The reminders that we are not taking time to feed our spiritual life are not as immediately obvious as bags under our eyes or a rumbling stomach, but the consequences of not feeding our spiritual life are serious. Taking time to nourish the Spirit of God within us is essential to being the healthy and life-giving people that God created us to be; feeding our spiritual needs is essential to happiness.

After Jesus sent his apostles into solitude, today’s Gospel story finishes with Jesus being moved with pity for [the crowd] for they were like sheep without a shepherd and he began to teach them many things. Jesus never tires of being with us and healing us, but he will not force himself on us, we have to be relentless like the crowd to come to him; he will never turn us away. We have to be relentless self-advocates for our hidden, inner life where God is waiting to hold us and heal us.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion
-Am I overcommitted or over scheduled? If so, what limits do I need to set or what do I need to cut out?
-When during the day do I take time to feed my inner life?
-Do I celebrate Sunday well as the Day of Rest?
-One thing I will do differently this week is…

Photo Credit 1, 2, 3, 4

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Lord is my shepherd...

Taken together, this Sunday’s readings point to some of the most essential characteristics of the shepherd, first, as the word applies to God, who has, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, been both leader and companion to His flock, as well as to Jesus, who, in his capacity as shepherd, gives us access in one Spirit to the Father.

Psalm 23 reminds us that God is our guide and our strength, our source of nourishment and repose, who accompanies us through life even when we experience suffering and pain.  In the midst of great difficulty, God is present to help so long as we remain open, so long as we trust:  I fear no evil, for you are at my side. Our journey, as we walk in the dark valley, consists of encountering the infinite love of God over and over, and allowing God to lead us through death to life, until we are ready for perfect union with God in heaven.

Our readings from Jeremiah, Ephesians, and Mark add to this portrait of the shepherd as both leader and companion.  Rejecting the unfaithful king Zedekiah, Jeremiah speaks of a future leader who will do what is just and right, earning him the title, The Lord our justice, that is, source of all that is life-giving.  Paul’s letter to the Ephesians refers to Jesus as our peace, he who reconcilied both Jews and Gentiles because the Love that is God is for all. 

And in the Gospel, Jesus offers his followers all of the above:  guidance and strength (he began to teach them many things), nourishment (those who had no opportunity even to eat, he will soon feed with loaves and fishes), and, when possible, peaceful repose (Come away… and rest a while).  Most importantly, he offers them love:  his heart was moved with pity for them.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd, a compassionate companion on our journey in whom we can place our complete trust.

(This reflection is based on notes from Fr. Pat's Thursday night Scripture class.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Called to Discipleship: The Sacraments & Liturgy

Called to Discipleship:  The Sacraments & Liturgy

OLMC's “Called to Discipleship” series continued this week with a focus on the Sacraments and the Liturgy.  At the beginning of the session, we were invited to share emotions we associate with our own experiences of the sacraments, an exercise that demonstrated to all of us how deeply these outward and visible signs of divine grace touch us at our core.

Together, we first explored the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation), covering not only the physical experience of each, but, and more importantly, the emotional, psychological, and spiritual dimensions associated with them.  Taken together, the Sacraments of Initiation allow us to participate as full members of the Church.   The Sacraments of Healing (Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick) offer opportunities for personal growth and transformation, either when we have missed the mark and need to reaffirm God’s action in our lives, or when we are ill and can benefit from knowing that we are in God’s hands.  The Sacraments of Commitment (Holy Orders, Marriage) confirm our vocation to serve, either as an ordained minister or as part of a married couple, revealing God’s love to one another.

Class concluded with a brief overview of the main elements of the Mass, from prayer (we all gather to pray the Mass), to the proclamation of God’s word, Eucharist (our opportunity to thank God for all God has done for us), and our dismissal, when we are sent forth to proclaim the Word in our own lives every day.  We are fed at the Table of the Word and with Jesus’ Body and Blood; that nourishment feeds our bodies as well as our hearts, becoming part of us, lifting us spiritually and allowing us to be the Body of Christ.

Calling God "Father"

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Seeking Love

Seeking Love

There are no places inside you or in the whole of creation where God’s love does not exist.  It is alive in prisons and hospital wards, in concentration camps and foxholes, in earthquakes and hurricanes, in your own selfishness and addictions.  It is always crying out to your heart, and your heart is awake, responding.  Seek it and trust it.

Trust it, or risk it, as the case may be, in solitude, at home, at work, in play, in relationships, in pain, in grief, in laughter.  Just as there are no exceptions in the places of creation, there are none in the moments and phases of your life.  You never know what form love will take, but you can trust that it is there, and you can trust your desire for it.

Creation needs you for your love; love needs you for your creation.  God needs you for yourself.  Your heart has a sense of it already, and it is ready to join the flow of grace to guide you into ever-expanding presence.  Seek the presence of love everywhere.  Let there be no dark corners.

Text source:  Gerald May, The Awakened Heart
Photo source

Monday, July 16, 2012

Who is Our Lady of Mount Carmel?

The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

July 16 is the Feast of the patroness of our parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  
So what exactly are we celebrating?

Tradition has it that on July 16, 1251, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite friar, presenting to him the Brown Scapular.  Years ago, children were often given a small scapular on the occasion of their First Communion.  A brown scapular is made of two small pieces of cloth, usually with a prayer on one and an image of Our Lady on the other, joined by two thin connecting strips of cloth or ribbon.  The scapular is worn around one’s neck, with one part hanging in front and the other in the back.  Wearing the scapular daily is a sign of devotion to Our Lady.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the feast celebrates Mary’s special care for those who are devoted to her, and who demonstrate that devotion by wearing her scapular.  A special grace of final perseverance is granted to them. 

The next time you are in OLMC, check out the stained glass window over the main doors to the church.  If you look carefully, you'll see a scapular in Jesus' hand (photo above)...

Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
O most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.  O Holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart, to succor me in this my necessity. There are none that can withstand your power. O show me herein that you are my Mother.  O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us that have recourse to thee. (3 times).  Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands. (3 times)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What's a dresser of sycamores?

The sycamore tree mentioned in today’s reading from the Book of Amos is not exactly the kind we see growing on the street so named in Mill Valley.  The scientific name of Amos’s tree is Ficus sycomorus, and in the Middle East it’s also known as a fig-mulberry.  Its leaves are thick and leathery, and may have been the ones the writer of Genesis had in mind for the ersatz clothing invented in the Garden of Eden.  Interestingly, unlike our local sycamores, Amos’s trees bear edible fruit!  In the first century, Pliny the Elder wrote about them in his Natural History:

Its leaves resemble those of the mulberry in size and appearance. The fig produces its fruit not on branches but on the trunk itself, and the Egyptian variety is exceptionally sweet and seedless. The tree's yield is extremely prolific, but only when iron hooks are used to make incisions in the fruit, which otherwise does not ripen.  When this is done the fruit is picked three days later, while another fig forms beneath it; the tree thus has seven crops of very juicy figs in a single summer.

So when Amos tells the cult prophet Amaziah that he is a dresser of sycamores, he’s describing himself as one of the guys who went around piercing the fruit of the fig-mulberry, one by one, to induce the proper ripening.  This was his paid work, not prophesying.  I guess this means he was responsible for making life sweeter – an interesting counterpoint to his message to the Northern kingdom, which can’t have been easy to swallow at all.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July 15th 2012: Sunday Gospel Reflection

In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus sending out the Twelve Apostles in pairs, to spread the Good News of Jesus by preaching to people of repentance. Why did Jesus tell the Apostles to preach about repentance? Isn’t sin a personal matter? Isn’t sin none of their (or our business)?

Yes and no. We should never judge other people, that is not our calling nor can we do so effectively since we don’t know each person’s heart. Yet, we believe, as St. Paul said, that all have fallen short of the glory of God and that each of us is called by God to become a more perfect person, a better version of ourselves and to help others become better too (this is the goal of friendship and marriage). Personal growth is a lifelong process that involves humility, regular self-reflection and prayer, connection to a community, and most importantly, a desire to be better. Remember: God is longing to forgive us and heal us if we let Him.

Many people mistakenly think that they are good enough or at least aren’t that bad and so they don’t feel the need to reflect on what they have done wrong, go to church or participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Yet if we fail to be a people of conversion and reconciliation in our own hearts we will never achieve the peace and wholeness that God created us for, we will always be holding something back. If we never seek forgiveness or try to be better people then we will never effectively be able to create a more peaceful and loving family life or community or a more peaceful world.  

The starting place for prayer and right-relationship with God and others begins with saying “i’m sorry”. Recognizing ourselves as sinners as people who sometimes miss the mark is not a product of Catholic guilt but an unbloated and clear reflection of who we really are. We need others to help us see more clearly and to remind us of who God created us to be; we need a community/faith-family, a church. This is why we gather weekly in the Eucharist and begin by praying together I confess to Almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters that I have greatly sinned. This is our moment to really take an inventory of our week. Only when name and let go of our brokenness and sin together can we ever be in communion, in right-relationship, with God and one another.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion
-How do I spread the good news of Jesus?
-When do I reflect on my day, set personal goals for my life and examine how I am living?
-Who are the people that God is calling me to ask forgiveness from?
-Who are the people that God is calling me to forgive?
-When was the last time I went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Called to Discipleship

Called to Discipleship

This summer OLMC is offering everyone an opportunity to participate in the “Called to Discipleship” series on Tuesday mornings (10:30-12) or evenings (7-8:30) in O'Brien Hall.  This past week, the topic under discussion was “The Church” – not as a static institution, but as a vibrant set of models to live by.

Class began with a meditation on a song by Amy Grant, followed by a challenge:  we were all asked to make a list of all the things we would look for in a church community if we were to move to a new town.  What we discovered as we shared these lists was the huge diversity of elements that make up what we call the Church, from the building to the liturgy to the community and its activities, including everything from proclamation to prayer.  Church, we found, is something we live, something we do, something we experience in and with one another, both at Mass and in our everyday lives.  Our discussion leader Mike shared Fr. Avery Dulles’ six models of the church with us, and we discovered how all of the traits we had mentioned as important to us in the notion of “Church” could fit into one or more of these overlapping domains:  Church as Mystery, as Community, as Sacrament, as Herald, as Servant, and as Institution. 

I think it’s accurate to say that all who participated in the conversation came away with a new appreciation for all of the ways in which we, as the Body of Christ, are the Church: we participate in its mystery, share in fellowship with the community, meet Jesus in the sacraments and in each other, and are responsible for passing on the Good News and serving those in need.  One, holy, catholic and apostolic Church – where we all have a place at the table!

All are invited to join us next week, when the topic of discussion will be “The Sacraments.”

Reflection from ND Vision Conference on Vocation

Visioning Vocation: The Art of Self-giving love

*Guest reflection thanks to vocation.nd.edu

Tony Oleck and other Vision mentors

Author: Mr. Tony Oleck

When it comes to discernment, I have often found myself waiting on my burning bush or pillar of fire. Part of me expected the Lord to speak to me in some defining way in an extraordinary moment of prayer. I have been waiting for the day and the hour in which I would suddenly know what I was meant to do for the rest of my life.
Working at Notre Dame Vision this summer, however, has radically transformed the way I imagine vocation and the way I see discernment. ND Vision is a program that seeks to help high school students recognize the gifts, passions and desires that God has given them, and how they can use them to discover God’s call in their lives and respond to that call with faith and courage. Students spend one week on Notre Dame’s campus listening to dynamic keynote speakers from all across the country and looking in-depth at the question of vocation in unique small group activities with mentors (like myself) from Notre Dame, St. Mary’s College and Holy Cross College.

The topics and themes explored at ND Vision have helped me to understand vocation and discernment in a whole new light. For example, what do we mean when we use the word “vocation”? One helpful definition of vocation that I have come to grasp through Vision is “the art of self-giving love.” Vocation can in part be understood as the way in which our lives become artworks of God’s love for the world. But what is self-giving love, exactly?
The self-giving love that the Christian is called to can be seen in the doctrine of the Trinity. The Holy Trinity teaches us so much about love and about vocation because it shows us that God truly is Love. The three persons of the Trinity teach us that God is relational, that His essence is complete self-giving Love. The Son perfectly loves the Father and the Father perfectly loves the Son, and from this love life is issued forth in the person of the Holy Spirit. Thus the three are one, yet distinct.
The mystery of the Trinity, though it is a mystery, teaches us a very fundamental truth about reality and the Christian's place in it. That is that God is Love, and the logic of the entire universe is Love. Thus as I discern my vocation, one of the primary questions I have learned I must ask myself is this: How is God calling me to participate in the Love of the Trinity? How can my life be a window into this self-sacrificial, life-giving Love?
While this is a question I am still asking myself as I continue formation in Holy Cross, learning how to ask the question and how to answer it has been one of the greatest gifts that the ND Vision community has given me this summer. One lesson I have quickly been learning is that God does not primarily speak in heavy storms or crushing rocks, in earthquakes or burning bushes, but rather the Lord speaks to the heart. The Lord whispers in the silence of our hearts, in our gifts, our passions, our desires. These desires must be fine-tuned, or rightly ordered, to virtue and to God’s will, but holy desires, gifts and passions can help us to discover this will and respond to it in love.
This is the beauty of the Communion of Saints! Stepping into the ND Vision community was like stepping into a giant stained-glass window. Each piece’s color is a little different. They vary in size. Some are more jagged, some more smooth. None are perfect on their own. Yet each piece is necessary and fits together with the others to offer a beautiful image for the light of Christ to shine through. This light pierces every shard of glass and creates a masterpiece of God’s love.
Discerning my vocation in the midst of these men and women has been incredible. It has been like trying to find my place in the stained-glass window. It has been such an inspiration to see the way that God is already using the gifts and personalities of the people I have been so blessed to spend my summer with. Seeing this has pushed me to look at my own gifts and personality, and to ask how I can best use them to glorify God and make His love known to the world. For me, this summer has been about learning to find my place in the Communion of Saints.
Mr Anthony Oleck
Mr. Tony Oleck is entering his third year at Old College Undergraduate Seminary on the campus of Notre Dame. He and his fellow Old Collegians write posts for the Spes Unica Blog, sharing on their life and formation in Old College. Learn more about seminary life in Holy Cross, and specifically Old College Undergraduate Seminary. And meet the current Old Collegians who are in formation for priesthood and religious life in Holy Cross. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

So that we might exist for the praise of his glory...

Who can go out and proclaim the Good News?  This Sunday’s readings seem to suggest that the answer is:  anyone whose heart is open to Christ and who knows that redemption is at work in her or him.  This means you!

Neither the prophet Amos (a mere dresser of sycamores) nor the disciples around Jesus (fishermen, after all) are professional “proclaimers of the Word” – and neither are we.  But we all possess one thing in common:  the capacity to Love.  We aren’t necessarily secure in our inner selves, though we trust that redemption is at work in us.  But this is okay, because we all – proclaimer and audience alike – have to recognize our own need for the Good News, that is, our need for God, and for God’s Love in our lives, even as we proclaim it.  If we ourselves are transformed by that Love, then we can bring that Love to bear upon the difficulties of life, upon any challenge, upon the brokenness we encounter daily. 

St. Paul says, In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.  Why?  So that we might exist for the praise of his glory.  At the end of every Mass, we go forth, we are sent, to share the word of truth even as we grow in our own understanding of that truth every single day.  Ite, missa est!

(This reflection is based on notes from Fr. Pat's Thursday night Scripture class.)

Monday, July 9, 2012


We are all on a journey; we are all searching for more.  If we manage to let go of our arrogance, if we experience the fundamental human need for and dependence upon Other, and particularly upon God, then we can feel the connectedness and realize that it is in our weakness, our vulnerability, our desire for God’s love and for love of other, that we fully realize what it means to be a Christian people.  As this song from the alternative rock band Switchfoot demonstrates, we are all restless, waiting for God, waiting for Love, longing for connection with the divine being whose love surpasses all human love.  We are restless, until we allow ourselves to rest in God’s arms.  (Lyrics below:)


I am the sea on a moonless night,
Calling, falling, slipping tides
I am the leaky, dripping pipes
The endless aching drops of light
I am the raindrop falling down,
Always longing for the deeper ground
I am the broken, breaking seas
Even my blood finds ways to bleed

Even the rivers ways to run
Even the rain to reach the sun
Even my thirsty streams,
Even in my dreams

I am restless, I am restless
I am restless, looking for you
I am restless, I run like the ocean to find your shore
I’m looking for you