FROM THE EUCHARISTICMEDITATIONS OF THE
“GO, THEN, TO COMMUNION.
My children, go to Jesus with love and confidence. Go, to live by Him in order to live for Him.
Do not say that you have too much to do. Has not the divine Saviour said:
“Come to Me all you who work and are heavily laden; come to Me and I will comfort you”?
Can you resist an invitation so full of tenderness and friendship? You work each day.
Communicate then each day. Do not say that you are not worthy. What nonsense! It is true you are
not worthy, but you are in need. If our Saviour had had our worthiness in view He would never
have instituted His beautiful Sacrament of love, because no one in the world, not even the Saints
nor the Angels, nor the Archangels, not even the Blessed Virgin, are worthy of it. Since He wishes
to abase Himself to our misery, let us work then to merit to receive Him every day. This is what the
Christians did in the early Church.”
You fill my heart with desire.
I feel the agony
Of this earthly foray.
In Your Presence
Faith fills the silence.
Truth like beauty
Say You passed this way.
Your footprints in Time
Dot the heavens.
While I stand in the vestibule of eternity,
As one holding paradise at bay.
Of temporal schemes and dreams,
But mask my loneliness
For yet another day.
Step over the threshold
Where angel guards Eden’s gate
To drip Your fingers
Into my life as now I pray.
Copyright 2014 Joann Nelander
Old year passes,
Becoming yet another ghost,
Withered as leaves,
Crumbled, and carried aloft
By winter winds,
Too soon scattered
By the breezes of Time.
Is it truly spent,
Dead and long forgotten,
Living but in memory?
May not reflection
Call it from the grave,
Uncover the gain
Hold it fast
To live again?
How has its many waters
Blessed thee and me,
As sacred signs?
Will it, as muse, retain a power
For its having been,
And then no more?
What saints and angels
Sent my way,
Colored its day?
Who came to hold my hand?
Who shared my hearth?
Were there hugs, and smiles,
And laughter to tilt the scale of grief?
Can kisses and embraces be resurrected,
That fires of love be stoked
To warm and blaze anew?
Has my thanksgivings
Been recorded in the pyre,
Written in the embers now glowing
As tiger eyes flashing from the ash.
Years come, doomed , too soon to go,
But let them not hurry
To a crypt without a wake.
Drink the happy wine of memory,
Sip, as the seasons turn.
Contemplate and savor
The seasons of your soul.
©2011 Joann Nelander
FROM THE EUCHARISTICMEDITATIONS OF THE
“O my soul, how great thou art since only a God can satisfy thee! The food of the soul is the
Body and Blood of a God! What beautiful nourishment! The soul can only feed on a God! No
other than God can suffice. Only God can satisfy its hunger. It needs God absolutely.
O my soul, bless this God who is so magnificent. Come often to this divine banquet to satiate
thyself with justice and holiness. Those who refuse to sit down here or who partake of it only at
long intervals, condemn themselves to certain death or to weakness, because one cannot live
without food nor enjoy vigorous health without eating frequently.” Cure of Ars
As 2014 draws to a close with all its uproar and confusion, we still look to Christ for True Peace. We wait for the Perfect to come, in ourselves and in our world. The Pope Emeritus still has much to teach:
"I wish to speak on behalf of those young people who, like me feel they are on the outskirts of the Church. We are the ones who do not fit comfortably into stereo-typed roles. This is due to various factors among them: either because we have experienced substance abuse; or because we are experiencing the misfortune of broken or dysfunctional families; or because we are of a different sexual orientation; among us are also our immigrant brothers and sisters, all of us in some way or another have encountered experiences that have estranged us from the Church. Other Catholics put us all in one basket. For them we are those “who claim to believe yet do not live up to the commitment of faith.”
To us, faith is a confusing reality and this causes us great suffering. We feel that not even the Church herself recognizes our worth. One of our deepest wounds stems from the fact that although the political forces are prepared to realize our desire for integration, the Church community still considers us to be a problem. It seems almost as if we are less readily accepted and treated with dignity by the Christian community than we are by all other members of society.
We understand that our way of life puts the Church in an ambiguous position, yet we feel that we should be treated with more compassion – without being judged and with more love.
We are made to feel that we are living in error. This lack of comprehension on the part of other Christians causes us to entertain grave doubts, not only with regards to community life, but also regarding our personal relationship with God. How can we believe that God accepts us unconditionally when his own people reject us?
Your Holiness, we wish to tell you that on a personal level – and some of us, even in our respective communities – are persevering to find ways in which we may remain united in Jesus, who we consider to be our salvation.
However, it is not that easy for us to proclaim God as our Father, a God who responds to all those who love him without prejudice. It is a contradiction in terms when we bless God’s Holy Name, whilst those around us make us feel that we are worth nothing to him.
We feel emarginated, almost as if we had not been invited to the banquet. God has called to him all those who are in the squares and in the towns, those who are on the wayside and in the country side, however we feel he has bypassed our streets. Your Holiness, please tell us what exactly is Jesus’ call for us. We wish you to show to us and the rest of the Church just how valid is our faith, and whether our prayers are also heard. We too wish to give our contribution to the Catholic community.
Your Holiness, what must we do?"
Later in the day Benedict XVI responds:
Saint Paul, as a young man, had an experience that changed him for ever. As you know, he was once an enemy of the Church, and did all he could to destroy it. While he was travelling to Damascus, intending to hunt down any Christians he could find there, the Lord appeared to him in a vision. A blinding light shone around him and he heard a voice saying, “Why do you persecute me? … I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:4-5). Paul was completely overcome by this encounter with the Lord, and his whole life was transformed. He became a disciple, and went on to be a great apostle and missionary. Here in Malta, you have particular reason to give thanks for Paul’s missionary labours, which spread the Gospel throughout the Mediterranean.
Every personal encounter with Jesus is an overwhelming experience of love. Previously, as Paul himself admits, he had “persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it” (Gal 1:13). But the hatred and anger expressed in those words was completely swept away by the power of Christ’s love. For the rest of his life, Paul had a burning desire to carry the news of that love to the ends of the earth.
Maybe some of you will say to me, Saint Paul is often severe in his writings. How can I say that he was spreading a message of love? My answer is this. God loves every one of us with a depth and intensity that we can hardly begin to imagine. And he knows us intimately, he knows all our strengths and all our faults. Because he loves us so much, he wants to purify us of our faults and build up our virtues so that we can have life in abundance. When he challenges us because something in our lives is displeasing to him, he is not rejecting us, but he is asking us to change and become more perfect. That is what he asked of Saint Paul on the road to Damascus. God rejects no one. And the Church rejects no one. Yet in his great love, God challenges all of us to change and to become more perfect.
Saint John tells us that perfect love casts out fear (cf. 1 Jn 4:18). And so I say to all of you, “Do not be afraid!” How many times we hear those words in the Scriptures! They are addressed by the angel to Mary at the Annunciation, by Jesus to Peter when calling him to be a disciple, and by the angel to Paul on the eve of his shipwreck. To all of you who wish to follow Christ, as married couples, as parents, as priests, as religious, as lay faithful bringing the message of the Gospel to the world, I say, do not be afraid! You may well encounter opposition to the Gospel message. Today’s culture, like every culture, promotes ideas and values that are sometimes at variance with those lived and preached by our Lord Jesus Christ. Often they are presented with great persuasive power, reinforced by the media and by social pressure from groups hostile to the Christian faith. It is easy, when we are young and impressionable, to be swayed by our peers to accept ideas and values that we know are not what the Lord truly wants for us. That is why I say to you: do not be afraid, but rejoice in his love for you; trust him, answer his call to discipleship, and find nourishment and spiritual healing in the sacraments of the Church.
Here in Malta, you live in a society that is steeped in Christian faith and values. You should be proud that your country both defends the unborn and promotes stable family life by saying no to abortion and divorce. I urge you to maintain this courageous witness to the sanctity of life and the centrality of marriage and family life for a healthy society. In Malta and Gozo, families know how to value and care for their elderly and infirm members, and they welcome children as gifts from God. Other nations can learn from your Christian example. In the context of European society, Gospel values are once again becoming counter-cultural, just as they were at the time of Saint Paul.
In this Year for Priests, I ask you to be open to the possibility that the Lord may be calling some of you to give yourselves totally to the service of his people in the priesthood or the consecrated life. Your country has given many fine priests and religious to the Church. Be inspired by their example, and recognize the profound joy that comes from dedicating one’s life to spreading the message of God’s love for all people, without exception.
I have spoken already of the need to care for the very young, and for the elderly and infirm. Yet a Christian is called to bring the healing message of the Gospel to everyone. God loves every single person in this world, indeed he loves everyone who has ever lived throughout the history of the world. In the death and Resurrection of Jesus, which is made present whenever we celebrate the Mass, he offers life in abundance to all those people. As Christians we are called to manifest God’s all-inclusive love. So we should seek out the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalized; we should have a special care for those who are in distress, those suffering from depression or anxiety; we should care for the disabled, and do all we can to promote their dignity and quality of life; we should be attentive to the needs of immigrants and asylum seekers in our midst; we should extend the hand of friendship to members of all faiths and none. That is the noble vocation of love and service that we have all received. Let it inspire you to dedicate your lives to following Christ.
From an address by Pope Paul VI
Nazareth, a model
Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand his Gospel. Here we can observe and ponder the simple appeal of the way God’s Son came to be known, profound yet full of hidden meaning. And gradually we may even learn to imitate him.
Here we can learn to realize who Christ really is. And here we can sense and take account of the conditions and circumstances that surrounded and affected his life on earth: the places, the tenor of the times, the culture, the language, religious customs, in brief everything which Jesus used to make himself known to the world. Here everything speaks to us, everything has meaning. Here we can learn the importance of spiritual discipline for all who wish to follow Christ and to live by the teachings of his Gospel.
How I would like to return to my childhood and attend the simple yet profound school that is Nazareth! How wonderful to be close to Mary, learning again the lesson of the true meaning of life, learning again God’s truths. But here we are only on pilgrimage. Time presses and I must set aside my desire to stay and carry on my education in the Gospel, for that education is never finished. But I cannot leave without recalling, briefly and in passing, some thoughts I take with me from Nazareth.
First, we learn from its silence. If only we could once again appreciate its great value. We need this wonderful state of mind, beset as we are by the cacophony of strident protests and conflicting claims so characteristic of these turbulent times. The silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God’s inner wisdom and the counsel of his true teachers. Nazareth can teach us the value of study and preparation, of meditation, of a well-ordered personal spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only to God.
Second, we learn about family life. May Nazareth serve as a model of what the family should be. May it show us the family’s holy and enduring character and exemplifying its basic function in society: a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings; in sum, the perfect setting for rearing children—and for this there is no substitute.
Finally, in Nazareth, the home of a craftsman’s son, we learn about work and the discipline it entails. I would especially like to recognize its value—demanding yet redeeming—and to give it proper respect. I would remind everyone that work has its own dignity. On the other hand, it is not an end in itself. Its value and free character, however, derive not only from its place in the economic system, as they say, but rather from the purpose it serves.
In closing, may I express my deep regard for people everywhere who work for a living. To them I would point out their great model, Christ their brother, our Lord and God, who is their prophet in every cause that promotes their well being.
“God is love, but not “LUV” like love was in the sixties. It is a love that is life-giving from all eternity. He has loved us into existence. He is going to love us all the way to the end, and He doesn’t t love us because of how good we are. His love is what causes our goodness, just like His Love is what caused our existence, and His Love is what is going to cause us to become saints.” Scott Hahn
April 10, 2014
BY JOANNE KERSTEN
In the history of Franciscan University, many will agree that the Rev. Michael Scanlan, TOR, made a huge impact.
“He was so pastoral, so fatherly,” Chrissy Casazza of Madonna of the Streets said of their past household advisor. “He is so funny and sweet and humble still to this day.”
Scanlan is currently at the Sacred Heart Province motherhouse in Loretto, Penn. The Rev. Terence Henry, TOR, said he has been told that Scanlan’s spirits are high and he is being taken good care of.
Concerning Scanlan’s overall health condition now, Casazza said that he looks healthy but has recently become sicker. He remembers the big things, but not the smaller details, she continued.
“He is still fully himself and the faith is still fully in him,” Casazza said.
Henry said, “I pray for him in his declining health.”
In the spring of 2013, members of Madonna of the Streets household were treated to a surprise visit with their first advisor.
“His face lit up when we saw him,” remembers Amy Alexander, a member of Madonna of the Streets. She said that they were able to sit and talk with him and listen to different stories about their household when he was their advisor.
“He was, through Christ, a father. He mastered the gift of the priesthood,” said Casazza. She also gave special attention to noting how he shaped Franciscan and was a “living pillar in the Franciscan community.”
Henry also remembered his pastoral side.
“My favorite memories of him are a pastor to the student body,” Henry said. He also mentioned that although his health would not always allow Scanlan to travel, he could stay on campus and serve the students.
Along with being a father to the campus, Scanlan also showed strong determination through his work at the university. Henry said that Scanlan swam “against the academic tide,” noting how much of Catholic higher education was not following the Church.
The transformation that Scanlan was able to put into motion didn’t happen overnight. Henry said that Scanlan’s vision was a university that was with the Church, and united reason and faith.
“It was a simple vision, but it was very difficult,” Henry said.
“The fruit of his work we can see in the graduates,” Henry continued. “He realized what needed to be done could not be done only in the classroom. … He didn’t let his vision get watered down or compromised.”
When asked what Scanlan would say about Franciscan University today, Henry said, “He would say that the adventure is continuing.” Henry remembered how Scanlan placed Franciscan in the hands of the Lord and his providence, and how it is still being guided and still asking how it can serve the Church.
Alexander said, “Never forget what he has done for this university, and all the lives he touched through his ministry.”
Casazza agreed, “We would not have Franciscan without him.”
Due to deadline constraints, The Troubadour was not able to get in contact with Scanlan for an interview before going to print.
“As [Duke of] Wellington said, ‘nothing save a battle loss is quite so melancholy as a battle won.’ We won the battle and now we have to watch the movie,” Krauthammer said Tuesday to laughter on "Special Report with Bret Baier’s panel.
Please pray for Christmas miracle.
H/T Artist – Sr. Grace Remington, OCSO
This painting is so consoling, I just have to share it again since Advent brings us closer and closer to the precious moment of our Savior’s birth. He comes to save Fallen Man, and with such a gentle hand.
*Notice the feet in this painting.
Crayon and pencil by Sr. Grace Remington, OCSO
Copyright 2005, Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey
A World War I interlude among British and German troops shows how even bitter foes can work out rituals of cooperation
‘The Christmas Day Truce of 1914,’ a lithograph by Arthur C. Michael published on Jan. 9, 1915, shows British and German soldiers out of the trenches of World War I, arm in arm and exchanging headgear. Arthur C. Michael/The illustrated London News Picture Library, London, UK/Bridgeman Images
Robert M. Sapolsky
On Christmas morning we stuck up a board with ‘A Merry Christmas’ on it. The enemy had stuck up a similar one…. Two of our men then threw their equipment off and jumped on the parapet with their hands above their heads. Two of the Germans done the same and commenced to walk up the river bank, our two men going to meet them. They met and shook hands and then we all got out of the trench…
So wrote a British soldier named Frank Richards, referring to the first Christmas of World War I, one hundred years ago this Thursday. Up and down the four hundred-odd miles of trenches on the Western Front, men risked their lives with similar acts, meeting opposing soldiers in “no man’s land.” Wary and unarmed, they made their way out of their trenches, taking steps that, a day earlier, would have guaranteed their death at the hands of sharpshooters and machine gunners a hundred yards away.
The relaxation of hostilities spread, and what has come to be called the “Christmas truce” took hold. Soon, soldiers were holding joint burial services for the dead. They began trading goods. British soldiers had been given holiday tins of plum pudding from the king; German soldiers had received pipes with a picture of the crown prince on them; and before long the men were bartering these holiday gee-gaws that celebrated the enemy’s royals. Eventually, soldiers prayed and caroled together, shared dinner, exchanged gifts. Most famously, there were soccer matches at various locations, played with improvised balls.
The truce mostly held through Christmas and, in some cases, even to the New Year. It took senior officers’ threats for fighting to resume, and such comprehensive battlefront peacemaking never happened again during the Great War. Courts-martial were brought against those involved later in even brief Christmas truces to retrieve the dead. READ MORE: The Spirit of the 1914 Christmas Truce – WSJ.
From a treatise Against Heresies by Saint Irenaeus, bishop
The plan of redemption through the Incarnation
God is man’s glory. Man is the vessel which receives God’s action and all his wisdom and power.
Just as a doctor is judged in his care for the sick, so God is revealed in his conduct with men. That is Paul’s reason for saying: God has made the whole world prisoner of unbelief that he may have mercy on all. He was speaking of man, who was disobedient to God, and cast off from immortality, and then found mercy, receiving through the Son of God the adoption he brings.
If man, without being puffed up or boastful, has a right belief regarding created things and their divine Creator, who, having given them being, holds them all in his power, and if man perseveres in God’s love, and in obedience and gratitude to him, he will receive greater glory from him. It will be a glory which will grow ever brighter until he takes on the likeness of the one who died for him.
He it was who took on the likeness of sinful flesh, to condemn sin and rid the flesh of sin, as now condemned. He wanted to invite man to take on his likeness, appointing man an imitator of God, establishing man in a way of life in obedience to the Father that would lead to the vision of God, and endowing man with power to receive the Father. He is the Word of God who dwelt with man and became the Son of Man to open the way for man to receive God, for God to dwell with man, according to the will of the Father.
For this reason the Lord himself gave as the sign of our salvation, the one who was born of the Virgin, Emmanuel. It was the Lord himself who saved them, for of themselves they had no power to be saved. For this reason Paul speaks of the weakness of man, and says: I know that no good dwells in my flesh, meaning that the blessing of our salvation comes not from us but from God. Again, he says: I am a wretched man; who will free me from this body doomed to die? Then he speaks of a liberator, thanks to Jesus Christ our Lord.
Isaiah says the same: Hands that are feeble, grow strong! Knees that are weak, take courage! Hearts that are faint, grow strong! Fear not; see, our God is judgement and he will repay. He himself will come and save us. He means that we could not be saved of ourselves but only with God’s help.