Saturday, March 30, 2013

An Easter Message from Our General Superior

Here is another beautiful Easter message from our SOLT Sisters General Superior, Sr. Anne Marie Walsh.


Of Billboards, Prophecy and Resurrection.

Driving into Corpus Christi on Interstate 37 one now notices a rather curious sign.  It reads:  “Don’t believe in God?  You are not alone.”

It’s obviously a very public posting with a specific intent.   But there is room to wonder whether it actually conveys more than was intended.  As a believer, reading between the lines, I read it another way.    I read:  “Don’t believe in God?  The truth is you’re not alone.  He is with us!”

It reminds me of two stories, one from Scripture and one from the life of a  canonized Saint.  The passage from Scripture has to do with Caiaphas, the high priest involved in the orchestration of Jesus’ execution.  He unwittingly prophesied the real significance of Jesus’ death. 

As the Sanhedrin met, the argument went like this:  “What are we going to do?  If we leave him (Jesus) alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.”  (In other words, bad things will happen if too many people come to believe in Jesus!)

“But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.”  He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on, they planned to kill him.”  John 11: 47-53

There is no doubt that western society has adopted a militant spirit against believers.  But not all believers.  God forgive us but we are not bothered by believers in abortion, believers in freedom to pursue every type of perversity, believers in satanism (a creed that has definite destructive and malicious intent), believers in almost any kind of religion, even violent ones.  We are not bothered by believers in systems or ideologies that consistently degrade or offend against human dignity.  But we are “bothered” by believers in Jesus Christ!  We are bothered by His effect on people, His power to persuade people, to influence them, to change their lives.

The argument is that bad things happen when too many people believe in God.  Our civilization is held back and the glory of man in all his capacity for achievement is retarded.  Isn’t that the common position of those who oppose organized religion?  Ignorance and religion are equated and held to be responsible for man's lack of development. 

We somehow conveniently forget that our rebellion in the garden changed everything.  We are the ones who changed paradise and opened the door to death and suffering and corruption.  Jesus comes to rescue us and instead we blame Him and the Church He established, for our woes.

It can easily be argued that we live in a world that is still trying to kill God, and which justifies this by
assigning the prevalence of tragedy to believers.   From the beginning of time, this dynamic has been so pervasive we should really recognize it more quickly than we do.  Religion, but especially the Judeo-Christian tradition, must be done away with because it is the cause of all the wars, evil, ignorance and injustice found in the world today.  The cause is not the corruption in the heart of man, but belief in God!  And not the Greek kind of God who sits on top of Mt. Olympus randomly throwing bolts of lightning at his unsuspecting subjects.  But a God Who is Father to us, Who is full of mercy, goodness, kindness, Who has made everything for our delight and betterment, and Who loves us with such a crazy love that He has even been willing to die for us.   This is the kind of God that we work with might and main to stay away from. 

What’s even crazier is that we tried to definitively destroy Him once.   But then He rose, conquering death and all evil in the process and claiming for us an inheritance that utterly transcends anything the Romans can ever take away from us.  And what is our reaction?   The same as the reaction of the Pharisees to Lazarus.  Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and because so many people came to believe as a result, the furious  response of the Pharisees was:  "Let's kill him again!" 

Somehow we become bent on destroying the eternal.  Because the eternal intrudes upon our immediate plans. Why we are so interested in preserving our “mess of pottage” over the infinite treasures promised us is one of the strange ironies of our fallen nature.  And yet in our attempts to deny and destroy the existence of God’s real presence among us, we testify to it at the same time.

The Billboard also reminded me of a story that comes from the life of Padre Pio.  St. Pio was a stigmatist who lived in the last century and was renowned for his life of holiness and for the countless souls he touched in the confessional, as well as through other miraculous interventions.  He had numerous mystical gifts which are all well documented in an age where there was plenty of science to test them.

One day he was approached by a penitent who questioned the very existence of hell.  Padre Pio’s matter–of–fact answer:  “You’ll believe it when you get there.”  The lesson?  Our opinions don't change the truth.  Even if millions of others hold the same opinion.  We can dance around the truth.   We can deny it.  But we can't destroy it.  Because the Truth is indestructible.  Just as Jesus, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life is indestructible.  We tried to destroy Him once.  But He simply rose.  We keep trying. But it is futile.   We cannot destroy the eternal. 

From the beginning of time we have had a basic choice:  submission to the Truth, or rebellion.  Submission leads to life, to allowing God to love us... which is all He really wants to do.  Rebellion eventually culminates in our trying to kill God once again but leads  only to our own eternal death. 

Do atheists have legitimate questions?  Of course.  Do believers have legitimate questions?  Certainly.  But as Pope Benedict said:  "Anyone who makes up his mind to evade the uncertainty of belief, will have to experience the uncertainty of unbelief..."

It is good to remember that for believers, the path to Resurrection goes through persecution and death.  In the divine economy, Jesus makes persecution one of the beatitudes.  As  Fr. John Hardon, S.J. writes, the beatitudes are "promises of happiness made by Christ to those who faithfully accept His teaching and follow His divine example."  The pattern of Jesus’s redemptive work passes by the Way of the Cross.  So too will our age be redeemed in the same way. 

As we celebrate with special fervor during this year of Faith, amidst the disbelieving “signs” of our times, and solicitous for the salvation of all our brothers and sisters, our hearts catch the new fire of the Easter light that pierces the darkness of doubt hanging over the world in which we live.   Jesus has triumphed in Resurrection, in glory and majesty; and within the embrace of Our Blessed Mother, whose singular faith during the Paschal Mystery emboldens us, we hold His light for the world  to see until He comes again in glory!  Alleluia!  He lives no  more to die, but lives that all may have eternal life!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Two Popes Meet...

We all know that yesterday, Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI met with each other. The touching meeting of two Popes is historical in so many ways. It hasnt happened in 600 years and probably wont happen again in our lifetime. It's amazing to be alive in these days.

Here is the video of the meeting. Notice how Pope Emeritus Benedict tries to give Pope Francis the seat of the honor in the chapel but that Pope Francis declines and insists they kneel together at the same place and pray. Pope Francis also gifts Benedict with an icon of Our Lady of Humility, a mark both men bear to the world.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pope Francis Took the Bus Back to the Hotel...

I love this! Cardinal Dolan talks about the conclave and the new Holy Father, as well as sharing that Pope Francis took the bus back to the hotel after being elected! Gotta love that....(makes me wonder, did the Swiss Guards have to run along the side the bus?)

 Read the summation of the interview here

From Augustine Institute President, Dr. Tim Gray

The vision and name of Pope Francis I

By choosing a new name, every new Pope signals, in a simple but profound way, the vision they see for their leadership. It reveals their own personal reading of the “sign of the times.” At the end of Vatican II, when made Pope Cardinal Giovanni Montini chose the name Paul VI, signaling that he saw his role as a time for evangelization and announcing the good news of Vatican II. Pope John Paul II chose his name to show his papacy would be the implementation of Vatican II, whose name stemmed from the two Popes who oversaw the council, Pope John XXIII and Paul VI.

Now Cardinal Bergoglio has chosen the name Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi. This name speaks volumes about our new Pope’s vision of the sign of the times and the direction he wants to take the Church. By choosing Francis, whose own call began with an answer to the voice of God, saying, “Francis, go rebuild my Church.” Our new Pope has taken the name Francis to show us the way forward in this moment of New Evangelization. It is a time to renew and rebuild the Church, and the model is the personnel holiness of Francis. By not choosing a name like Gregory, which would signal reform of the Church through governance and authority, Pope Francis has signaled that the Church renewal can only happen through personal holiness, not simply programs and policies. The Church is composed of living stones, and those stones must be shaped by love of Christ crucified and the poor, as St. Francis illustrated. Perhaps too, in this era of the New Evangelization, the name Francis evokes the great Jesuit saint St. Francis Xavier, who was the great missionary and patron saint of missionaries!

The great artist Giotto painted, in the upper Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, the humble and poor Francis holding up the Pope’s home Church, St. John Lateran from collapsing, so too now only time will tell how Pope Francis will go about the work of building up the Church. His humility, holiness, and love of the poor will make him well equipped to be, as Paul referred to his own apostolic role (1 Cor 3:10), to be a wise master architect in the building up of the Church for a new springtime.
–Tim Gray, Ph. D.

Pope Francis

The whole world watched today as the former Cardinal of Buenos Aires stepped out onto the balcony and greeted the world as Pope Francis. This man bowed his head and implored the prayers of the faithful as well as leading the people in the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be.

The first Jesuit Pope, the first Pope from the Americas. Wonder what God is up to.....:)

As a random aside, today is the 13th day of the 3rd month in the year of 2013. 3,3,3.

May God pour out his blessings upon this man and upon the whole world. Let us pray earnestly for him as he takes the helm of the bark of St. Peter.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis

Statement on the election of Pope Francis I
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York
President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
March 13, 2013

The election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has taken the name Francis I, marks a great milestone in our church. As successor to Peter, our first pope, Pope Francis I stands as the figure of unity for all Catholics wherever they reside. The bishops of the United States and the people of our 195 dioceses offer prayers for our new leader and promise allegiance to him.
Intense prayer from all around the world surrounded the election of Pope Francis I. The bishops of the United States thank God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the inspired choice of the College of Cardinals.
With joy in our hearts, we declare "Ad Multos Annos!" (For many years!)
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fr. Morty O Shea

Please keep one of our dear SOLT priests in your prayers, Fr. Morty O Shea. He is very sick with cancer at this time and is undergoing surgery in England.
His friends are updating his blog which can be read here:

May God bless and heal him.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Problems With Fasting?

Getting tired of fasting? You might find this humorous video an aide to your resolution (and so true!!) :)

Sunday, March 03, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Seminarian

The Seminarians from Mobile, AL put together this humorous (check out the "commercial break" five minutes in! I laughed out loud) and inspiring video about the call to the priesthood. May God bless these young men and all those who are seeking and saying yes to the God's call in their lives.

Friday, March 01, 2013

In Thanksgiving...

The following video was sent to me by Fr. Jason Worthley and it's a touching tribute to His Holiness Benedict XVI from priests around the world. Enjoy!