Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Connection Problems

I am having some problems with my desktop and internet connections, so future postings may be a little spotty.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Update - Stuff Happens

This is what can happen when you have too much zeal for the House of the Lord!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Living in Anticipation - My December Column for Fraternity Newsletter

"Secular Franciscans, therefore, should seek to encounter the living and active person of Christ in their brothers and sisters, in Sacred Scripture, in the Church, and in liturgical activity. The faith of Saint Francis, who often said ‘I see nothing bodily of the Most High son of God in this world except his most holy body and blood,’ should be the inspiration and pattern of their eucharistic life." (Art.5, SFO Rule)

Advent should be a time of anticipation, of preparation, of remembrance. We remember the event of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son God coming into our world as a human child. We prepare ourselves in expectation of His coming again at the end of time. But Advent is also a time to prepare for and to anticipate an encounter with Christ here and now.

Saint Francis believed that through the people he met in the streets of Assisi, through the poor and downtrodden, he encountered Christ. In listening and meditating on the Scriptures, he encountered Christ. And especially in receiving the Eucharist, he encountered Christ. We see in his writings and in stories of his life, Francis lived as one who always anticipated that in the next moment he would meet Jesus Christ. We can feel, through his words, the excited anticipation he felt.

With all that is happening with us during the mad rush to prepare for Christmas, and with all the everyday pressures and troubles we experience, it can be hard to be fully open to the same sense of anticipation that Francis had. Yet, we should all strive to keep our hearts open in joyful expectation, because we can never know when we will encounter Jesus.

Stuff Happens

I am currently in the Permanent Diaconate formation program for the Archdiocese of Boston. Our classes are being held at a North Shore Catholic college. Our sessions begin with our praying of Evening prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. Each of us, on a rotating schedule, is responsible for leading the prayer.

Now I am currently without a personal car, because it got totaled in an accident (not my fault). I use my wife’s car to get to the college from home, but I use public transit to get from my job in Boston to our apartment building. I usually do not get to the college in time for evening prayer. The night I was to lead evening prayer, I made sure I took an earlier train and bus, and I was on the road earlier than usually. But the traffic was heavy that night, and I got to the college with only minutes to spare. I rushed up the stairs to the chapel, while also muting my mobile phone. At the top of the stairs, I tripped on the last step; fell onto the slate floor, landing on my right shoulder.

I dislocated my shoulder, damaged it so much that it will continually dislocate until I have surgery. My right arm is in a sling, I am trying to type this with my left hand. The thought occurs to me, was my hastiness born of a desire to worship God, or of pride of being a leader of prayer that night? And is this a test of humility? Something to ponder.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Remembering Four Brave Women

Today, December 2nd was the 30th Anniversary of the murders of Sisters Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, and lay woman Jean Donovan, in El Salvador. Both America magazine, and the National Catholic Reporter websites have columns remembering it.

When I heard of this tragedy, I was with the Franciscan Friars in New York City. Maybe it was because I was a regular contributor to the Maryknoll Society, two of the sisters were members, and this event really touched me.

These American women served the poor in a foreign land, striving to be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this, they were considered a threat to the established order, and were kidnapped, assaulted, and killed.

They offered themselves totally in the service of others, with courage, patience and perseverance, despite the threats, and dangers. They should be an example to us all.