Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thirty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time

November 1, 2009 - Feast of All Saints

The gray November days of a post-peak foliage world set a reflective mood for a month that is bracketed by All Saints Day and Thanksgiving holiday. Amid the diminishing daylight and the sleep cycle in the rhythm of life, we often take stock of those people and events in our life that are deeply meaningful to us. All Saints Day, which we celebrate today, is a day to remember that we belong to a very large community that is comprised of both the living and our ancestors in the faith, especially those whose faithful witness have inspired us in a quiet, yet profoundly personal way. Though they will never be listed as saints in our Christian calendar, we remember the heroic qualities that give significant meaning to the way they lived their lives.

The Book of Revelation dramatically portrays a gathering of saints from all nations, races, people and languages who have persevered faithfully through the many challenges that life gave them. Robed in white, they wave palm branches and sing joyfully to God for the gift of salvation. They intercede for the living because we are like them in that we are “the people that longs to see your face” (Psalm 24.) The second reading from John encourages us to remember that we are destined to a remarkable future as we will see God and live in revelation’s fullness as we are God’s beloved children. With God working through us, we will continue to be recreated in the divine image.

The Beatitudes sum up our vocation: we are to be saintly people in imitation of Jesus. Foremost, we are to place our hope and trust in God, as the saints have done, knowing that God’s grace will be able to provide for us in our distress or needs and that we shall live a blessed life because God will wash us clean and fill us with radiance no matter what challenges we face on earth. We are not perfect, nor are our beloved dead, but we do have an army of heavenly witnesses who surround us with their love so our lives can be more clearly directed to our final reunion with them and with God. Saints in heaven, pray for us.

Quote for the Week

I attach the Solemn Blessing at the end of the Mass that commemorates All Saints Day.

God is the glory and joy of all his saints, whose memory we celebrate today. May his blessing be with you always. Amen.

May the prayers of the saints deliver you from present evil. May their example of holy living turn your thoughts to service of God and neighbor. Amen.

God’s holy Church rejoices that her children are one with the saints in lasting peace. May you come to share with them in all the joys of our Father’s house. Amen.

May almighty God bless you, the Father, + and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

Romans reminds us that we belong to one another through Christ so we ought to use our gifts to build up the community and to let our way of life be worthy of the calling we have received. The only thing we owe one another is to let our love be sincere and to let our love for others mirror the way we love ourselves. We no longer live for ourselves, but Christ lives in us and we belong to him, the Lord of the living and the dead. Paul reminds us that he speaks boldly because he is fulfilling the task of opening the faith to Gentiles and that his boasting is of the proclamation of the Gospel, not his own successes.

Jesus continues, in Luke, to tell of the Kingdom of God. We describes it as a dinner invitation where many are invited and yet there are still not enough to fill the house. He says that we are to approach our preparation for this Kingdom in the way we would wisely calculate the dimensions of building a complex tower. Jesus reminds the Pharisees that many are invited, including the tax collectors and sinners, and that a good shepherd would leave the 99 in search of the one stray to bring him back into the fold. Again, Jesus reminds us that we are to be prudent stewards whose wise worldly ways are to be used in our preparation for the next life, much like a clever banker would make an investment off a promissory note. Our loyalty cannot be divided. We are to choose whether we love money or God. We will demonstrate our loyalty if we are trustworthy in small matters and if so, we will be given greater responsibility.

Saints of the Week

Monday is All Souls Day, a day that has been reserved since the time of the early Church to pray for the faithful departed. This day follows the Feast of All Saints, which is celebrated on November 1st. Religious communities and monasteries typically pray for its deceased members and benefactors throughout the month until the beginning of Advent. By doing so, we keep alive the memory of our loved ones and are able to express our affection to them for the ways they have touched our lives.

On Tuesday, we honor Martin de Porres who was born in Lima, Peru in a mixed marriage between a Spanish knight and an Indian woman. This mixed ancestry relegated him to a lower stature in society. He entered the Dominican order as a youth and became known for his care of the sick and the poor. He taught many about the challenges of dealing with racial tensions, poverty, and care for the marginalized.

Charles Borromeo is celebrated on Wednesday for his role as bishop of Milan where he reformed his diocese according to the dictates of the Council of Trent. As an aristocrat, he also served as Papal Secretary of State. Borromeo received great respect from his diocese when he led efforts to care for the sick and bury the dead during a widespread epidemic in 1576.

This Week in Jesuit History

• Nov 1, 1956. The Society of Jesus was allowed in Norway.
• Nov 2, 1661. Daniel Seghers, a famous painter of insects and flowers, died.
• Nov 3, 1614. Dutch pirates failed to capture the vessel in which the right arm of Francis Xavier was being brought to Rome.
• Nov 4, 1768. On the feast of St Charles, patron of Charles III, King of Spain, the people of Madrid asked for the recall of the Jesuits who had been banished from Spain nineteen months earlier. Irritated by this demand, the king drove the Archbishop of Toledo and his Vicar General into exile as instigators of the movement.
• Nov 5, 1660. The death of Alexandre de Rhodes, a native of France who was one of the most effective Jesuit missionaries of all time, arrived in Vietnam in 1625.
• Nov 6, 1789. Fr John Carroll of Maryland was appointed to be the first Bishop of Baltimore.
• Nov 7, 1717. The death of Antonio Baldinucci, an itinerant preacher to the inhabitants of the Italian countryside near Rome.

Prayers for your Beloved Dead

From the earliest days of the Church, prayers have been offered for the souls of the faithful departed that they may now find themselves in the presence of God and rejoice in the eternal joy which has been promised to the righteous by Jesus Christ. Since the Eleventh Century, the Church has set aside a day in its liturgical calendar to pray for these souls - November 2nd, the Feast of All Souls.

During the month of November, at each Mass that we celebrate, the Jesuits will remember all your friends and family members who have died. It is our Christian prayer that they are now enjoying the fullness of Christ's words: "You, who are blessed by my Father, come. Come and receive the Kingdom which has been prepared for you even since the creation of the world."

I invite you to send us the names of your beloved departed either by sending an email to or adding your names to the comment section so others will pray for them as well.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Prayer: A prayer by Teresa of Avila

Christ has no body now by yours.
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes
through which he sees compassion on the world.
Yours are the feet
with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which he blesses all the world.

Yours are the hands.
Yours are the feet.
Yours are the eyes.
You are his body.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Prayer: Rabindranath Tagore

Lord, may your love play upon my voice
and rest in my silence.

Let it pass through my heart,
into all that I do.

Let your love shine like stars
in the darkness of my sleep,
and in the dawn at my awakening.

Let it burn in all the flames of my desires,
and flow in all the currents of my love.

Let me carry your love in my life,
as a harp does its music,
and give it back to you at last with my life.

Excerpt: Confessions of a Modern Nun by Ilia Delio

What difference does religious life make in the world? Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., brought light to this question by understanding Christianity in an evolutionary universe. What we do and the decisions wemake in history,Teilhard said, influence the genesis of Christ. Christ is the goal of the universe, the new creation, the future of what we are coming to be. We who are baptized into Christ must let go in love and descend into solidarity with the earth. Teilhard noted that there is nothing profane on earth for those who know how to see. Adoration means seeing the depths of divine love in ordinary reality and loving what we see. This universe is holy because it is grounded in the Word of God. It is Christ, the living one, who is coming to be.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time

October 25, 2009

God’s voice that we hear in Jeremiah today is one that emits a longing desire – full of hope and happiness. This voice, we are told, is from a caring, protective father’s voice proudly calling everyone back home – with a welcoming, inviting hospitality. Delight fills his heart. The turbulent exile is over and every single person can return to his embrace – all the people, even the blind and the lame, the pregnant mother and families with children. God tells us that the kingdom is open for all and that God desperately longs for us.

We see this desire incarnated with the blind Bartimaeus in Mark’s Gospel. The person of Jesus is fulfilling the plan for God’s kingdom in actual circumstances. Originally, Bartimaeus calls out to Jesus, but notice that Jesus turns it around and call the blind man back. The hospitality of the kingdom is indiscriminate. All are welcome. Jesus is able to ask him for what he most wants and Bartimaeus receives the healing that he needs in order to follow Jesus to Jerusalem where he will undergo his Passion. In Mark’s Gospel, seeing is equated with believing, and through this dialogue Bartimaeus is able to demonstrate that he believes Jesus is the Son of God. Those who have faith are warmly welcomed into this new community established by Jesus.

We don’t always seem to act with this rich hospitality because many do not feel welcome in our church today. In some parts of our country, the pews are burgeoning with new faces, yet in other parts of the country, like New England, we cannot fill our pews and we are in the process of consolidating parishes and closing churches. Additionally, many do not feel as if their voices matter a whole lot today or that their concerns are responded to in with pastoral finesse. Regardless of where we live or of the circumstances under which we find ourselves, we are to bring others to the Lord just as the disciples did with Bartimaeus. We do this so Christ can welcome us and ask the question that he desperately wants to pose to us, “What do you want me to do for you?” Do we have a ready answer for him?

Quote for the Week

As we continue to delve into Romans, I select a moving passage that assures us of Christ’s abiding presence, even in the midst of terrible adversity.

It is Christ (Jesus) who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.

What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: "For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:34-39

Themes for this Week’s Masses

Paul’s Letter to the Romans tells us that we have received a spirit of adoption through which we can call upon Abba, just as Jesus did. The Spirit groans for us too, calling out to Abba to have the perfect completion that eagerly awaits us and all of creation. And in the famous Romans 8 passage, no one can separate us from the love of God made manifest in Christ, therefore we can risk ourselves for the sake of the Gospel and in service to the faithful ones.

Luke tells us the touching story of the woman who was cured on the Sabbath after 18 long years of suffering. We are reminded of the liberating power of Jesus. We then hear what the kingdom of heaven is like: a tiny mustard seed or expanding yeast, and then Luke reminds us that a prophet of God cannot die outside of Jerusalem. Jesus continues to teach about the kingdom of heaven asking his dinner part host about their mercy to a son or an ox that needs help. He concludes by teaching that everyone who humbles him or herself will be exalted.

Saints of the Week

On Wednesday, we honor Simon and Jude, Apostles. Simon is known as the “zealot” and was born in Cana. He was thought to be a Jewish nationalist. Jude, is also referred to as Thaddeus, and is one of the Twelve in John’s Gospel who asks Jesus if he was going to manifest himself to the disciples alone and not to the whole world.

Although Saturday does not have a particular memorial, we celebrate the day as Halloween, the evening before All Saints Day. The ancient custom was to vest oneself in frightening costumes to ward off the evil spirits that were roaming around and looking for a righteous person on which to settle. The custom has certainly be adapted as a commercial holiday, but it is still a good evening to be mindful of the evil spirits that seek to inhabit our souls.

This Week in Jesuit History

· Oct 25, 1567. St. Stanislaus Kostka arrived in Rome and was admitted into the Society by St Francis Borgia.
· Oct 26, 1546. The Province of Portugal was established as the first province in the Society, with Simao Rodriguez as its first provincial superior.
· Oct 27, 1610. The initial entrance of the Jesuits into Canada. The mission had been recommended to the Society by Henry IV.
· Oct 28, 1958. The death of Wilfrid Parsons, founder of Thought magazine and editor of America from 1925 to 1936.
· Oct 29, 1645. In the General Chapter of the Benedictines in Portugal, a statement published by one of their order, that said St Ignatius had borrowed the matter in his Spiritual Exercises from a Benedictine author, was indignantly repudiated.
· Oct 30, 1638. On this day, John Milton, the great English poet, dined with the Fathers and students of the English College in Rome.
· Oct 31, 1602. At Cork, the martyrdom of Dominic Collins, an Irish brother, who was hanged, drawn, and quartered for his adherence to the faith.

Diaconate Ordination

George Collins, S.J., of the New England Province, is ordained a transitional deacon. His ordination liturgy was at St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco, California where George studies for the priesthood. Eleven other men from Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley are also ordained. Last week six men from Boston College School of Ministry and Theology were welcomed into the diaconate. Congratulations, George, and the 17 new deacons of the Church.

“Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.” – Ordination Rite.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Poem: Sweet Darkness by David Whyte

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb tonight.
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing:
the world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Prayer: A Prayer by Teresa of Avila

Let nothing disturb you,
Nothing frighten you;
All things are passing;
God never changes;
Patient endurance attains all things;
Whoever possesses God is wanting in nothing;
God alone suffices

Video: Highlanders and their Sheep

Take a moment out of your day for a fun video. Click on the link below:

Highlanders and their Sheep

Monday, October 19, 2009

Prayer: Hail to the Morning by Jessica Powers

There will be something,
anguish or elation,
that is peculiar to this day alone.
I rise from sleep and say:
Hail to the morning!
Come down to me, my beautiful unknown.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Prayer: I am what I am becoming

That which is becoming passed by
and a great and strong wind tore the mountains
and broke into pieces the rock
In the face of That which is becoming
But G-D/That which is becoming
was not in the wind;
and after the wind an earthquake;
and after the earthquake, a fire;
But G-D/That which is becoming
was not in the fire
and after the fire a subtle, still voice.

Elijah in the Cave - 1 Kings 19:11-13

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time

October 18, 2009

Power is such a sacred responsibility and few of us really know how to use it well. We expect our political and religious leaders to use the power that we entrust to them with good judgment, and we become angry and disappointed when they let their authority go astray. We intuitively know when someone is exercising their influence well and we give them wide latitude because they have earned our trust, but we instinctively reject another’s lording it over us and forcefully exerting of his or her platform upon us. We hope that we and they will learn that our true leadership and respectful use of authority means that we will sacrifice our goals for the good of those who are entrusted to us.

James and John hear that message from Jesus in Mark’s Gospel where they have a “Come to Jesus” lesson. In their self-confidence they claim that they can receive the cup and accept the same baptism (by blood) that Jesus will undergo – because they realize there is a great reward at the end of their suffering. Suffering without end seems not to have meaning, doesn’t it. They miss the point because it is not about reward. Suffering can instruct us and can make us more attentive to the needs of others. How can we look at another’s suffering and not be moved to compassion? This is where true leadership arises. Authentic leadership peers into the life of a sufferer, which demands a compassionate response.

Isaiah writes, “because of his affliction, he shall see the light in fullness of days.” God does not want the faithful servant, as in Isaiah, to suffer, and while suffering is not necessarily a gift, we may receive many graces through our suffering. When we go to church this week, accept the cup, the blood of Christ, and drink heartily. We drink from the cup of suffering that leads to our salvation. Though we would rather, we cannot avoid or shy away from suffering, but we have to gaze deeply into it – and we will find our Lord who sacrificed his life for us sympathizing with us in our need. This is leadership that we can trust.

Quote for the Week

As the North American Martyrs have such a vivid history in the consciousness of the people of Maine and Canada, I am reminded of the quote from St. Paul when he writes about our powerlessness as the vehicle by which God’s grace and glory is evident.

The Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Themes for this Week’s Masses

We continue to read Romans as Paul lays out his case for inclusion of the Gentiles because of the sweeping salvation that Christ’s death offered us. He urges us to present ourselves to God as people who are raised from death to life. The freedom from sin that we gain through our death to the world allows us to willingly accept a new type of slavery to God – one that is not marked by oppression, but by a liberating love. Christ is with us to aid us to reach this new ascent even though our bodies remain mortal. God’s spirit, the same spirit that raised Christ to new life, dwells within us.

Luke’s words to us remind us to be vigilant as we await the return of the master, and when he returns he will ask for an accounting of our stewardship because much will be asked of the one who already has much. Our vigilance makes us attentive to the cause of Christ. Though he was a peaceful man, his words and actions were designed to have us choose his way, which can cause division among our households and friends. Our vigilance causes us to be perceptive about the signs of the times so we can adjust our ways because if we do not repent from our sinful ways, we will perish. Christ wants us to choose him!

Saints of the Week

On Monday, we remember the North American Martyrs, Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf and six Jesuit companions who were killed between 1642 and 1649 as they brought the faith to Huron and Iroquois tribes in the New World. The Cheverus chapel windows are dedicated to these U.S. and Canadian martyrs.

On Tuesday, Paul of the Cross is honored for his priestly work to the poor and the sick. He cared for the sick by founding homes for them while also preaching for the conversion of souls to the faith. He practiced severe penances, which he thought would hasten the perfection of his own soul.

Friday is John of Capistrano’s day, a Franciscan Order of Friars minor, who studied canon law and preached throughout Europe to strengthen Christian life. A mission in California is named after him where on March 23rd, the swallows are said to faithfully return to the church.

Saturday is the memorial of Anthony Mary Claret, a Spaniard who preached in Catalonia before forming a society of missionaries. He became a bishop in Cuba and preached with zeal.

This Week in Jesuit History

• October 18, 1553: A theological course was opened in our college in Lisbon; 400 students were at once enrolled.
• October 19, 1588: At Munster, in Westphalia, the Society opens a college, in spite of an outcry raised locally by some of the Protestants.
• October 20, 1763: In a pastoral letter read in all his churches, the Archbishop of Paris expressed his bitter regret at the suppression of the Society in France. He described it as a veritable calamity for his country.
• October 21, 1568: Fr Robert Parsons was elected Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He resigned his Fellowship in 1574.
• October 22, 1870: In France, Garibaldi and his men drove the Jesuits from the Colleges of Dole and Mont Roland.
• October 23, 1767: The Jesuits who had been kept prisoners in their college in Santiago, Chile, for almost two months were led forth to exile. In all 360 Jesuits of the Chile Province were shipped to Europe as exiles.
• October 24, 1759: 133 members of the Society, banished from Portugal and put ashore at Civita Vecchia, were most kindly received by Clement XIII and by the religious communities, especially the Dominicans.

Mass for the North America Martyrs

Cheverus is celebrating the North American Martyrs with a Eucharistic Liturgy on Monday, October 19th at 9:15 a.m. in the Keegan Gymnasium. Very Reverend Myles Sheehan, S.J, the New England Provincial will preside and preach.

Song: The Prayer by Celine Dion with Andrea Bocelli

I pray You’ll be our eyes, and watch us where we go,
and help us to be wise in times when we don’t know.

Let this be our prayer when we lose our way:
Lead us to a place, Guide us with Your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.

La luce che Tu dai (The light that You give us)
I pray we’ll find Your light Nel cuore resterà
(will stay in our hearts) And hold it in our hearts
A ricordarci che (reminding us that…)
When stars go out each night L’eterna stella sei
(You are the everlasting star).

Nella mia preghiera (In my prayer).
Let this be our prayer
Quanta fede c’è (there’s so much faith)
When shadows fill our day:
Lead us to a place, Guide us with Your grace,
Give us faith so we’ll be safe.

Sognamo un mondo senza più violenza
(We dream of a world without more violence)
Un mondo di giustizia e di speranza
(A world of justice and of hope).
Ognuno dia la mano al suo vicino
(Everyone give your hand to your neighbor),
Simbolo di pace e di fraternità
(Symbol of peace and brotherhood)

La forza che ci dai (The strength You give us)
We ask that life be kind È il desiderio che
(is the wish that)
And watch us from above. Ognuno trovi amore
(everyone may find love)
We hope each soul will find Intorno e dentro a sè
(around and within himself)
Another soul to love.

Let this be our prayer (Let this be our prayer)
Just like every child (Just like every child)
Needs to find a place:
Guide us with your grace.
Give us faith so we’ll be safe. E la fede che
(And the faith that)
Hai acceso in noi
(You have lit inside us)
Sento che ci salverà (I believe will save us).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Remembrance of Your Beloved Dead

From the earliest days of the Church, prayers have been offered for the souls of the faithful departed that they may now find themselves in the presence of God and rejoice in the eternal joy which has been promised to the righteous by Jesus Christ. Since the Eleventh Century, the Church has set aside a day in its liturgical calendar to pray for these souls. This day is November 2nd, the Feast of All Souls.

During the month of November, at each Mass that we celebrate, the Jesuits will remember all your friends and family members who have died. It is our Christian prayer that they are now enjoying the fullness of Christ's words: "You, who are blessed by my Father, come. Come and receive the Kingdom which has been prepared for you even since the creation of the world."

We invite you to send us the names of your beloved departed. We will place these names near the altar in our school chapel as a reminder for us to pray for those who are dear to you. As this is our expression of gratitude to you for your support and kindness to us, we ask that you do not include an offering with your intentions. You may mail in your intentions, drop them off at the school, email me at

May God continue to abundantly bless you. May God's peace and grace illuminate the hearts of all those who abide in God's glory.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

On Towards Tertianship

As many of you know, Jesuit formation takes a long time. Our formation shapes a man to become not only a priest or brother within the Church, but a man who is committed to the way of life envisioned by Ignatius and his first companions.

To that end, I will be leaving Cheverus in December to begin my final stage of Jesuit formation called Tertianship. I will enter a period of prayer and study that is designed to be a “school of the heart” before I petition for final vows. During this period, I will go on a 30-day silent retreat called The Spiritual Exercises, study the Jesuit Constitutions, and will work among God’s people in a ministry experiment for six months. At the end of this period, a Jesuit applies for final vows and full incorporation into the Society of Jesus.

This period is likened to the first phase of Jesuit formation called the Novitiate. During this period, a man enters his Primus (First) year and his Secundus (Second) year at the end of which, he professes perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience while making a promise to enter the Society of Jesus forever. At the tail end of formation, a man enter his Tertius (Third) year, where he replicates the experiments of the novitiate and at the end professes again his vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, enters the Society, and makes a fourth vow to the Pope for availability with regards to missions.

After a man completes the novitiate, he studies philosophy for three years, then teaches in a school as a Regent for three years, then studies theology in order to be ordained a deacon then priest, and then works for three to five years in a ministry before being invited to tertianship. This is the stage at which I find myself. Formation’s goal is always to aid a man to become available and to form him into a man who is shaped by the Spiritual Exercises and our Constitution. To symbolize this, on our gravestones we record our birth date, date of entrance, and our date of death.

I am delighted to be entering into my tertianship year. I do love my brothers in the Society of Jesus and I am still very inspired by the work we do across the world. I am also saddened to be leaving the many good people who I have met in Maine and at Cheverus. I will miss you. I will hold you in my heart as I go forth, especially as I make my own thirty-day retreat. I ask for your prayers too. I need them. I think of the words of St. Ignatius at the end of the Spiritual Exercises. I ask for the grace to be able to depend upon God as fully as Ignatius captures it when he writes:

Take, Lord, receive all my liberties, my memory, my understanding, my entire will, all that I have and possess. You have given all to me and to you, O Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love your grace. That is enough for me.

Note: I will continue my weekly emails and my blog at Please send me your email if you would like to remain on this list. Email me at

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Video: The Butterfly Circus

Please click on this link to see a video called "The Butterfly Circus."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Prayer: A Prayer by Karl Rahner, S.J.

I should like to speak with you, my God,
yet what else can I speak of but you?
Could anything exist
unless present with you eternally,
finding its true home
and most intimate explanation
in your mind and heart?
Isn’t all I ever say
really a statement about you?

And yet if sly and hesitant I try to speak of you,
you will still be hearing about me.
For what could I say about you
except that you are my God,
God of my beginning and end,
my joy and need,
God of my life?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time

October 11, 2009

We read about the heart-rending account of the rich young man who seeks to know the secret of life from Jesus only to walk away unable to commit to that which will give him the greatest meaning in life. We are sympathetic to the young man who gives up on the relationship with Jesus. He walks away in finality. For the man, it is all or nothing – no middle ground. The laws and teachings that he cherishes have no room for the radical type of fulfilling friendship to which Jesus calls him. His world turns upside-down because the laws do not provide him with full completion of his true self and he walks away shattered and in need of restructuring the order of his life.

I am saddened at times by some of the priests and leaders (lay and clerical) of our church who overly value the church teachings while seemingly relegating the love of Christ or the movement of the Spirit to the background. (This happens in every faith community, not just Catholics, and it is natural for us to fall in love with the good intentions of our church.) Our relationship with Christ has to be primary and we have to let, as the Letter to the Hebrews suggests, “the word of God…penetrate and discern reflections and thoughts of the heart” for it is “living and effective.”

The author of Wisdom was given prudence to ask for the spirit of wisdom as the most fortunate and desirable quality. A wise person knows what he or she desires as wisdom can provide for a fuller meaning in life. Unfortunately, the young man cannot see what or who it is that stands before him calling him into eternal friendship. Jesus sends him to go learn from the poor, some who do possess this wisdom, so that he can finally experience the deepest longing of his heart. Once we give our heart to Christ, we can fully receive the living Word of God that will give us back our life. No one has ever become poor by being generous.

Quote for the Week

To honor Teresa of the Child Jesus, I offer you one of her most touching quotes and a basis for Christian mysticism.

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

Original Spanish:

Nada te turbe,
nada te espante;
todo se pasa,
Dios no se muda.
La pacientia todo lo alcanza.
Quien a Dios tiene nada la falta:
solo Dios basta.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

We begin to read from Paul’s Letter to the Romans this week, and Paul immediately tells us that we have authority from heaven to bring about the obedience of faith among the Gentiles. Paul reveals to us that many claimed they knew God, but did not give Jesus the same glory of God, but that God will repay everyone for his works, first the Jews, then the Greeks because it is by faith that one is justified. Paul upholds Abraham as one who believed in God and was righteous. Abraham believed in God, hoping against hope.

As we continue with Luke, he points out that this generation is disbelieving because they demand a sign of the source of Jesus’ authority. Those is curiosity are looking at rituals and customs, while Jesus is instructing them on what is necessary to do, like giving alms as a way of cleansing one’s soul. Jesus laments those who do not grasp the reality of God’s inbreaking presence among them; the people want the blood of the prophets. He then shows how much God cares for them and notices even the smallest hair on one’s head. He encourages them to trust that the Holy Spirit will guide them.

Saints of the Week

On Wednesday, we honor Callistus I who was once a slave and become Pope in the early 3rd century. Because he fought against the Adoption and Modalist heresies, he was martyred in 222.

On Thursday, Teresa of the Child Jesus is celebrated as a doctor of the Church. She was a mystic, a Carmelite nun, and a writer of the Counter-Reformation. She reformed the Carmelite Order along with John of the Cross and created a stricter application of the reforms in the Order of the Discalced Carmelites.

Friday is the day to remember Mary Alocoque, a Salesian Visitation Sister who is known for her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. With Claude de la Colombiere, S.J., the two were able to increase the devotion across Europe.

Ignatius of Antioch’s memorial is set on Saturday. He was a successor to Peter as the bishop of Antioch and martyred by throwing him into an area of wild animals who tore him apart and devoured him. He wrote letters in the early church to talk about the nature of Christ and the Christian way of life. Inigo de Loyola was so inspired by him that he took the name Ignatius for his own.

This Week in Jesuit History

• October 11, 1688: King Louis XIV forbade all correspondence and interchange between the French Jesuits and Fr. Thyrsus Gonzalez, the Spanish General Superior of the Society.
• October 12, 1976: The murder in rural Brazil of Joao Bosco Burnier, SJ, who was shot and killed by soldiers for protesting the torture of two poor women.
• October 13, 1537: At Venice the Papal Nuncio published his written verdict declaring that Ignatius Loyola was innocent of all charges which had been leveled against him by his detractors.
• October 14, 1774: A French Jesuit in China wrote an epitaph to the Jesuit mission in China after the suppression of the Society. It concludes: "Go, traveler, continue on your way. Felicitate the dead; weep for the living; pray for all. Wonder, and be silent."
• October 15, 1582: St Teresa of Avila died on this day -- the first day of the new Gregorian calendar. She always wished to have a Jesuit as a confessor.
• October 16, 1873: About two weeks after Victor Emmanuel's visit to Berlin, where he had long conferences with Bismark, rumors reached the Society in Rome that all of their houses in Rome were threatened.
• October 17, 1578: St Robert Bellarmine entered the Jesuit novitiate of San Andrea in Rome at the age of 16.

Annual Cheverus Retreat

The faculty at Cheverus attended their 17th Annual Cheverus Retreat on Friday, October 9th at Marie Joseph Spiritual Center in Biddeford Pool. Fr. James O’Brien, S.J. was the guest retreat director.

Stained-Glass Windows in the Chapel

Yeah! The stained-glass windows in the Cheverus Chapel are repaired. Thank you to all of your who generously donated to the prompt repair of the windows. We are very glad to worship in the space that is enhanced by your caring munificence.

Grandparents’ Day

Over three hundred grandparents joined the school for liturgy on Thursday, October 8th in the Keegan Gymnasium. Grandparents then enjoyed a hearty brunch before they visited classes for the day.

Happy Columbus Day

Enjoy your Columbus Day weekend. We honor Christopher Columbus who, sailing from Spain, landed in the New World in 1492. It is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada and a day that many Native Americans celebrate as their own heritage day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sp. Exx.: Anima Christi - Attributed to Ignatius of Loyola

Jesus, may all that is you flow into me.
May your body and blood be my food and drink.
May your passion and death be my strength and life.
Jesus, with you by my side, enough has been given.
May the shelter I seek be the shadow of your cross.
Let me not run from the love which you offer.
But hold me safe from the forces of evil.
On each of my dyings, shed your light and your love.
Keep calling to me until that day comes, when with your saints,
I may praise you forever. Amen.


SOUL of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds, hide me.
Never let me be separated from you.
From the malevolent enemy, defend me.
At the hour of death, call me.
To come to you, bid me,
That I may praise you in the company
Of your Saints, for all eternity.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Prayer: Karl Rahner, from Encounters with Silence

Only in love can I find You, my God. In love the gates of my soul spring open, allowing me to breathe a new air of freedom and forget my own petty self. In love my whole being streams forth out of the rigid confines of narrowness and anxious self-assertion, which make me a prisoner of my own poverty and emptiness. In love all the powers of my soul flow out toward You, wanting never more to return, but to lose themselves completely in You, since by Your love You are the inmost center of my heart, closer to me than I am to myself.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Twenty-Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

October 4, 2009

At a time when the emotionally-charged same-sex marriage referendum is on November’s ballot in Maine, parishioners will be hearing about the “unity” that is intended by God for us so that God’s love may be manifest. For this reflection, I will stick to scriptural analysis. The second creation story in Genesis tells us that the woman was created to be an aid in man’s work; the woman is designed to stand alongside the man as an equal, not as a lesser than partner, but as a helper who relates to the other in mutuality and partnership. Therefore, humans come together in unity to show our love for one another and God is there to bless the union as it reveals God’s love for all of us.

Marriage becomes a means by which we mutually commit to the ongoing creation of each other as God intends. Divorce is the sad realization that this union does not reveal God’s love in its fullness in the long haul. While Moses allows that a man may divorce his wife, this separation often puts the woman’s social standing and welfare at risk, raising the probability of a greater social injustice. Jesus attacks the hardness of heart that results in closing down one’s openness to God’s intent for humanity. When the novelty of marriage has worn off, we sometimes realize the person we married is not the ideal person we expected or hoped him or her to be.

Mark’s Gospel passage is paired with this Genesis account because it highlights the fact that we are not meant to be alone and that we are created to have a harmonious relationship with all creatures. In our faith, we have sacramentalized marriage to show that unity is a sign and symbol of God’s abiding presence and continued work in creating us. Civil marriage is distinct from, but may share qualities with sacramental marriage. We are created in God’s image and likeness and when we celebrate our covenantal commitment to another in companionship, we will find Jesus Christ at the center of our friendship. Let us help one another achieve this harmonious relationship with the world in our ongoing creation – in mutuality and partnership - as God intends. God wants to reveal God’s love for us to others.

Quote for the Week

Since the powerful effects of the Rosary are recalled on Wednesday, I include the Latin and English translations of the “Hail Mary.”

Avē Marīa, grātia plēna, Dominus tēcum. Benedicta tū in mulieribus, et benedictus frūctus ventris tuī, Iēsus. Sancta Marīa, Māter Deī, ōrā prō nōbīs peccātōribus, nunc et in hōrā mortis nostrae. Āmēn.

In English:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

We read about Jonah’s story in his attempts to fulfill his mission to the Ninevites. First, in order to save the sailors on the tempestuous ocean storm, Jonah is tossed overboard as the cause of the storm. He next treks across Ninevah to tell them to repent from their ways and turn back to the Lord. The prophet Malachi brings a similar message to Israel to remind them of the ways of the Lord with regards to the proud and haughty. Joel likewise forecasts that gloom and doom that accompany the impending Day of the Lord, but to those who are attentive that harvest is ready.

Luke poses the question, “Who is my neighbor?” as he writes about the mercy we are to extend to one another, and then he shows Martha and Mary’s hospitality toward Jesus as a sign of that mercy. Jesus then teaches the disciples to pray and encourages them to prayerfully ask the Father for what they need, which is especially important in a time of spiritual warfare. Happy are those who realize God’s kingdom is at hand.

Saints of the Week

Tuesday is Bruno’s memorial as he is honored as a “brilliant defender of the church” because he aided Gregory VII and succeeding popes push for ecclesiastical reform. He attended the Council of Clermont that gave approval for the First Crusade in 1095.

On Wednesday, we commemorate Our Lady of the Rosary to remember the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 for the success of the mission of the Holy League to hold back the approaching Muslim forces intent upon overtaking Europe. A Rosary procession at St. Peter’s in Rome is attributed for their successful intercessory prayers.

Friday is the day to remember Denis and companions who were martyred outside of Paris around 250 AD. Denis was the first bishop of Paris. In the 1570’s, John Leonardi, in the Counter-Reformation, began CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) classes for the youth of Tuscany. Later, he was the cofounder of the Propagation of the Faith.

This Week in Jesuit History

· Oct 4, 1820. In Rome, great troubles arose before and during the Twentieth General Congregation, caused by Fr Petrucci's intrigues. He sought to wreck the Society and was deposed from his office as Vicar General, though supported by Cardinal della Genga (afterwards Leo XII).
· Oct 5, 1981. In a letter to Father General Arrupe, Pope John Paul II appointed Paolo Dezza as his personal delegate to govern the Society of Jesus, with Fr Pittau as coadjutor.
· Oct 6, 1773. In London, Dr James Talbot, the Vicar Apostolic, promulgated the Brief of Suppression and sent copies to Maryland and Pennsylvania.
· Oct 7, 1819. The death of Charles Emmanuel IV. He had been King of Sardinia and Piedmont. He abdicated in 1802 and entered the Jesuits as a brother in 1815. He is buried in San Andrea Quirinale in Rome.
· Oct 8, 1871. The Great Chicago Fire. Most of the city was destroyed, but it missed Holy Family, the Jesuit parish, as the fire turned north thanks to the prayers of Fr Arnold Damen. The fire lasted three days; 250 were killed.
· Oct 9, 1627. Jansenius left Louvain for Salamanca to foment antipathy against the Jesuits and thus prevent Philip IV from giving the Society a large college in Madrid. The theological faculty at Salamanca was hostile to the Society.
· October 10, 1806: The first novitiate of the Maryland Mission opened as ten novices began their Long Retreat under the direction of Fr. Francis Neale (himself a novice who had entered the Jesuits that day.)


At Cheverus we give thanks to the Lord for another successful KAIROS retreat. This 16th retreat had 29 students and four adult leaders go through the first retreat of the year. The closing ceremony was abundantly filled with these sentiments, “Mom, Dad, I love you,” and “Thank you for sending me to Cheverus.” Deo Gratias!

May the Lord bless the Capuchin Friars at St. Joseph Church in Portland who celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the parish. A Mass of celebration will be said on October 4th, which is traditionally St. Francis of Assisi’s Feast Day.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sp. Exx.: Suscipe - An Offering of Oneself

Take, Lord, receive
all my liberty,
my memory,
my understanding
and my entire will,
all that I have and possess.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
All is yours.
Dispose of it wholly
according to your will.
Give me your love and your grace.
That is sufficient for me.

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Prayer: Patient Trust by Teilhard de Chardin

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.

We would like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.

And yet, it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability - and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you; your ideas mature gradually - let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste.

Don't try to force them on, as though you could be today what time, (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming in you will be.

Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.