Saturday, March 31, 2012
We are not drawn to God by iron chains, like bulls and wild oxen. We are drawn by enticements, sweet attractions, and holy inspirations. – St. Francis de Sales
Ah, but what qualifies as “enticements, sweet attractions, and holy inspirations? That seems to vary from person to person. I might find a particular style of music inspiring, but another person might consider it noise and a distraction. I might think a particular piece of religious art is saccharine, another person might find it evocative. I might think a particular priest’s preaching nourishing and thought provoking, another person might find it dull.
That’s one of the reasons why I like to have different types of Masses each weekend to give people a choice.
Pax et bonum
Monday, March 26, 2012
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Papa (Arlo Guthrie) was a Secular Franciscan for a while back in the 70s - though I don't know if he was "official." Sadly, he later wandered off. But I love his music - and I'm a fan of daughter Sarah and son-in-law Johnny.
Pax et bonum
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Beloved National Family,
May the Lord bring us Peace!
As we all know from our Ash Wednesday Gospel of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18), the three great works of Lent are fasting or self-denial, accompanied by almsgiving or charity, only possible through prayer.
Therefore, with this email, I ask for your prayerful consideration of supporting either personally or with your local or Regional fraternity the NAFRA H2O Lenten Project 2012 as in the past.
Of course, there are many good charitable activities available this Lent, but I recommend this one because it offers the possibility of self-denial, leading to charity, only made possible through prayer.
The self-denial comes from trying for two (2) weeks this Lent or before May 1, 2012 to make water your only beverage. The charity comes from contributing the money you would have spent at the soda machine and coffee shop toward providing clean water for families most in need. I don't know about you, but for me to survive even one day only on water will take a good deal of prayer!
The idea here is that by actively fasting from all beverages except water, we might get a clearer idea of how important clean water is to our brothers and sisters around the world and thus gain a moment of solidarity with the poor as is called for within our Franciscan Charism: "A sense of community will make them joyful and ready to place themselves on an equal basis with all people, especially with the lowly for whom they shall strive to create conditions of life worthy of people redeemed by Christ" (Secular Franciscan Rule 13).
In short, start fasting...start saving...never stop praying! And for encouragement and more information, visit the H2O website and see their video:http://www.theh2oproject.org/.
I ask that all contributions be sent to the NAFRA H2O Lenten Project 2012, c/o Dennis Ross, NAFRA Treasurer, 8933 Trailwood Court, Mentor Ohio 44060-2131. Make the check payable to NAFRA.
Unless I hear differently from the National Fraternity (the Regional Ministers and voting members of the NEC), the recipient of all NAFRA H2O Lenten Project 2012 donations will be, as last year, our Global "Courageous Inititatives" Partner: Catholic Relief Services, specifically for clean drinking water in Haiti.
Again, as last year, I would like to get the NAFRA family directly contributing to this effort as well, so I will ask the NEC to vote at our meeting to contribute $1000.00 from the NAFRA Donor Fund for the NAFRA H2O Lenten Project 2012. One reason that we can be generous with the NAFRA Donor Fund is because of recent, generous donations to the Fund. If you are reading this and have been one of these generous donors, thank you for your great generosity.
Finally, the great prophet Isaiah continues to challenge us: "Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: That a man bow his head like a reed, and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own" (Isaiah 58:5-7).
"Not turning your back on your own" includes your family, which includes your Secular Franciscan family. As last year, I encourage myself and you, in our prayers, fasting and almsgiving this Lent, not to forget our local, Regional, National and/or International Secular Franciscan Fraternities. Do not forget our First Order, Second Order or Third Order Regular Brothers and Sisters. We are family. Please do not forget the Apostolates we have embraced at our NAFRA Gatherings: Franciscans International, Franciscan Action Network, Franciscan Mission Service, Franciscan Family Apostolate, Amazon Relief and the various “Courageous Initiatives” of Catholic Relief Services and the monthly United States Conference of Catholic Bishops programs in our Justice, Peace & the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) education series. Thank you for your prayers, self-denial and charity.
Christ's Peace and Love to all in this Holy Lenten Season,
Tom Bello, OFS
"I was thirsty and you gave me drink" Matthew 25:35
Thursday, March 15, 2012
— from The Sacred Heart for Lent
Pax et bonum
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Slowly, John came to see that the Catholic Church could embrace all kinds of people. Among these, he noted, were many martyrs. He decided to become Catholic and was received into the Church at Louvain, Belgium, in 1596 at the age of 17.
John continued his studies, first with the Benedictines, then as a student at the Jesuit College at Olmutz. He joined the Jesuits and for the next 10 years underwent their rigorous intellectual and spiritual training. Ordained a priest in France in 1610, he met two Jesuits who had just returned from Scotland after suffering arrest and imprisonment. They saw little hope for any successful work there in view of the tightening of the penal laws. But a fire had been lit within John. For the next two and a half years he pleaded to be missioned there.
Sent by his superiors, he secretly entered Scotland posing as a horse trader or a soldier returning from the wars in Europe. Unable to do significant work among the relatively few Catholics in Scotland, John made his way back to Paris to consult his superiors. Rebuked for having left his assignment in Scotland, he was sent back. He warmed to the task before him and had some success in making converts and in secretly serving Scottish Catholics. But he was soon betrayed, arrested and brought before the court.
His trial dragged on until he had been without food for 26 hours. He was imprisoned and deprived of sleep. For eight days and nights he was dragged around, prodded with sharp sticks, his hair pulled out. Still, he refused to reveal the names of Catholics or to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the king in spiritual affairs. He underwent a second and third trial but held firm.
At his final trial, he assured his judges: "In all that concerns the king, I will be slavishly obedient; if any attack his temporal power, I will shed my last drop of blood for him. But in the things of spiritual jurisdiction which a king unjustly seizes I cannot and must not obey."
Condemned to death as a traitor, he was faithful to the end, even when on the scaffold he was offered his freedom and a fine living if he would deny his faith. His courage in prison and in his martyrdom was reported throughout Scotland.
John Ogilvie was canonized in 1976, becoming the first Scottish saint since 1250.
- from Americancatholic.org
A Sottish lad! Now if only he'd been a Franciscan ...
Saturday, March 10, 2012
So many holy persons seem to die young. Among them was Dominic Savio, the patron of choirboys.
Born into a peasant family at Riva, Italy, young Dominic joined St. John Bosco as a student at the Oratory in Turin at the age of 12. He impressed John with his desire to be a priest and to help him in his work with neglected boys. A peacemaker and an organizer, young Dominic founded a group he called the Company of the Immaculate Conception which, besides being devotional, aided John Bosco with the boys and with manual work. All the members save one, Dominic, would in 1859 join John in the beginnings of his Salesian congregation. By that time, Dominic had been called home to heaven.
As a youth, Dominic spent hours rapt in prayer. His raptures he called "my distractions." Even in play, he said that at times "It seems heaven is opening just above me. I am afraid I may say or do something that will make the other boys laugh." Dominic would say, "I can't do big things. But I want all I do, even the smallest thing, to be for the greater glory of God."
Dominic's health, always frail, led to lung problems and he was sent home to recuperate. As was the custom of the day, he was bled in the thought that this would help, but it only worsened his condition. He died on March 9, 1857, after receiving the Last Sacraments. St. John Bosco himself wrote the account of his life.
Some thought that Dominic was too young to be considered a saint. St. Pius X declared that just the opposite was true, and went ahead with his cause. Dominic was canonized in 1954.
- from AmericanCatholic.org
Wow, I look back at the kinds of things I was doing when I was 14/15. I am humbled.
Pax et bonum
— from Weightless
Thank you, Lord, for Brother Slug!
Pax et bonum
Sunday, March 4, 2012
If the parish were a little more traditional and observant of the rules, that might help; it would certainly set us apart from the other parishes in our area, and might draw more people. It might fire people up.
But that's another issue. Or series of issues.
After avoiding "money talk" for a long time, the pastor has had to talk about finances in the bulletin and at Mass recently.
It has resulted in a slight increase in the collections, but not enough.
So now we are going with a cash raffle.
I don't object to raffles and pools per se. They can be fun - like the Super Bowl pool at work. But it's sad when a parish has to turn to them to pay its bills.
The Christian school where I used to teach was supported by the members of a small Christian sect who gave generously to the school and to their church. It's too bad Catholics don't seem to have that same sense of commitment any more.
(Or maybe that gets us back to being more traditional in orientation!)
I bought tickets. I'll support the parish. But it all gives me a sense of being in a death spiral. In our diocese, parishes have been clustering due to lack of priests. We avoided that in the last go round, but what about next time?
Hey, maybe we should have a raffle about when we'll have to cluster!
Pax et bonum
Saturday, March 3, 2012
The organizer asked if I'd be willing to lead the music for the prayer service. She'd been at the kickoff for the 40 Days campaign at which I'd played some songs, so I suspect that's why she thought of me.
I said yes.
Being self-conscious about my playing, I've already contacted another guitarist to see if he will play with me - he might. I'd also like to line up a singer (so they don't have to rely on my voice!).
But I also have to come up with four songs appropriate for a Catholic pro-life service on Good Friday. Given the day and the nature of the event, I don't want the songs to be too uptempo. I also have to meet with the organizers to find out what the readings will be at the service; those readings might suggest a song or two.
Open the Eyes of My Heart?
We are Called?
Here I am, Lord?
Do my fellow pro-lifers and musicians have any suggestions?
Besides tune my guitar and practice, of course!
Pax et bonum
Mind you, we are not located in the areas being devastated by tornadoes - God be with the people in those areas - but still, locally winds might knock down some trees, blow away loose garbage cans, cause some power outages, etc.
Perhaps there will be problems, but more likely it will just give the local media more nervous viewers. Or maybe give the local stations something with which to fill air time.
I ran into the wind in a more direct way at Planned Parenthood this morning.
Thirteen of us gathered across the street to pray the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the victims of Planned Parenthood, as the winds gusts in the 40-50 mph range made it hard even to stand up. I weigh more than 200 pounds and I was being pushed constantly.
One person made a joke about the Holy Spirit passing through.
I pray the Spirit will stir the hearts and souls of those working in or entering the PP office.
Pax et bonum